Welcome to the inaugural column for Telling It Like It Is. This column will be dedicated to honest discussion about the issues and events that confront the fire service today. We'll have open and frank discussions that may upset some of you because they will take a "truth at all costs...
To access the remainder of this piece of premium content, you must be registered with Firehouse. Already have an account? Login
Register in seconds by connecting with your preferred Social Network.
Complete the registration form.
Welcome to the inaugural column for Telling It Like It Is. This column will be dedicated to honest discussion about the issues and events that confront the fire service today. We'll have open and frank discussions that may upset some of you because they will take a "truth at all costs" approach to the issues for one simple reason — the fire service needs it.
When dealing with the fire service, most people and organizations either pander or patronize. They will tell you what they think you want to hear or they will pat you on the collective head and tell you not to worry. Neither is a good thing and neither will have any place here. We intend to confront the fire service on some of the most controversial topics for one reason only — because we love you.
We love the fire service from the very bottom of our hearts. We love the history, the tradition, the attitude of service, the unbreakable bond of brotherhood and everything else that makes this one of the greatest jobs in the world; however, the fire service is suffering. Suffering from budget cuts, internal deceit, falling public opinion, disorganized leadership, inconsistent political agendas and overall poor decisions. The result is that the fire service often gets relegated to the political backburner and its legitimacy questioned.
The current economy is letting politicians make changes that would be unacceptable in any other climate and, unfortunately, the fire service is paying the price. We need unity now more than ever before and yet, at least publicly, we appear divided, disorganized and disconnected. The national fire service organizations that we rely on for answers or assistance can at times be the most pandering or patronizing. Each has a political agenda to support and does it on the backs of the fire service. They need the support of politicians in order to maintain their voices, so they patronize. They need their members to continue to pay dues, so they pander. This is not to say that these organizations have not done great things to advance the fire service; however, one must understand upfront that these groups tend to serve two masters and that can be a recipe for disaster. At times, looking to them for help can be like reaching for a life preserver in violent seas and being handed an anchor instead.
What this column is not: This column will never be a direct attempt to upset or anger you. It may appear that way at times, but that is not the case. This column will not be subservient to any political agendas or special interests. We will not patronize you by treating you as a brainless laborer. We will not spare you the details. We will not attempt to polarize you in the way that sensationalist TV pundits bring in two opposing sides, stir the pot, and then sit back and watch the fireworks. This will never be our goal.
What this column is: This column will be honest, absent political agendas and or public polish. This will be a place where the issues will be exposed. Real talk to real firefighters. We intend to bring these topics to you in a direct manner that lays bare the issues and our feelings. In a unique twist, you will be given the opportunity to chime in and offer your thoughts. The purpose of this column is to generate discussion, but this is only where that discussion begins. Once you read the column, you are encouraged to go to www.firehouse.com/0110_telling_it and contribute your thoughts. We want to hear what you think as straightforward and factual as you can make it. Feel free to disagree; however, we would ask that you keep the emotion-driven hate mail out of it, because that is precisely where we usually appear disorganized and disconnected. Make your voice heard. This is your opportunity.
Let's get it started. Here's our first topic of discussion.