To The Easily Offended

In another post, I mentioned a great homily by Father Chris where he spoke about getting the message out (you know, THE Message).  I specifically discussed one of his points about how, when someone in today's society doesn't agree with you, the expectation is that they have a "right" to be offended.  How if you have decided you don't want Christianity in your life, you have a right to be offended by the manger scene on the corner, or if someone says that they believe that ___ is a sin, people have a right to be offended that you are talking about religion.

I guess where I am going with this blog is that there are a lot of people who should pretty much lighten up about some things, but it seems to me there's a few people who should also lighten up and get with the program about things like firefighter safety, or more accurately, accountability, use of IMS, and not sending people in to fight fires in "lost causes".

It seems that whenever one of these subjects comes up, there are always one or two out there who say, "Hey, we've been doing it this way for years, and I've been fighting fires since you were in diapers, blah, blah, blah, blah." (I wrote that because that's about where I stopped listening).  I remember one particularly spirited discussion on NIMS and what a crock of crap it was and that members of the XYZ (read: big city) Fire Department, by God, have been doing it this way without that NIMS stuff and maybe you all shouldn't be a bunch of sissies (that's not the word he used), blah, blah, blah.

So I guess what you're saying then, is that despite any meaningful adaptations there are from the way we did stuff to the way the rest of us are doing stuff (in the 21st century) all of it is pretty much useless and we should go back to fighting fires with buckets and grappling hooks.  That would be fine, except that building construction has changed significantly and you aren't going to pull much thatch off the roofs in my neighborhood.  Or maybe using single 2 1/2-inch supply lines and booster lines is really okay, except that in my city, we have large properties with huge fire loads that give off mega-amounts of BTUs that you won't overcome with that red garden hose.  And being grossly out of shape is okay, except that now we carry more equipment than we did before, including the fact that we are going to have to go up and down stairs wearing SCBA and the heat being produced by today's burning couch and other contents far exceeds the heat output of fires in the 50's and 60's.

Maybe, just maybe, it's time some of you dug some of the wax out of your ears and listened to the voices of today's fire service, and if you can't fathom why change can be good, consider maybe it's you that needs to change (a change in profession, that is).  Learn more about where we are going by studying the traditions of our past, but realize that tradition is nice when it comes to parades and retirements, but it has absolutely no place in the field of modern combat we call the fireground.


  • Ted Bownas says:

    Nice poke, Mick! Careful – that bear’s paw might be coming in from the other side…lol

    The old “200 years of tradition, unimpeded by progress” gag is still alive and well, apparently…despite years of preventable LODD’s and injuries and the protestations of hundreds of respected fire service leaders and educators that we need to change our mindset.

    Wake up and smell the carbon monoxide, folks. We’re killing ourselves in fires the same old ways…while technology scrambles ahead finding new things to burn, new ways to trap us, and new methods of dropping buildings on us.

  • Chief Reason says:

    You make too much sense of it all.
    The only tradition most seem to “get” is the firefighter funeral.
    Those of us who promote safety, including maintaining good, physical condition are railed upon as out of touch or overly cautious. Some of us have been accused of “paralyzing” the fire service, because we won’t “risk it all” for just any old reason.
    There is a certain feeling of resentment from the cowboys who still populate the service because they have to “turn in their guns while they are in town”, so to speak.
    There will continue to be debate as long as we have people in the fire service who believe that some will die every year, that it is acceptable and that there is nothing we can do about it. They won’t like guys like me very much because I believe that it is not our God-given right to die in the line of duty and especially if a yearly physical could have prevented it.
    Anyone who suffers from low self image isn’t too concerned about the bigger image of the fire service, but they can hardly wait for that next funeral, because that’s the “real” brotherhood; at least for the next few days.
    Sorry for the heavy sarcasm in that last one, but I see that many aren’t doing enough to protect themselves. I am not sure that they even want to. It’s almost like they have a death wish.
    Hmmmm. There’s an interesting subject; do people with pseudo-suicidal tendencies make better firefighters?

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