Working Together

In the January 2010 issue of

Firehouse® Magazine

, we published the first of a series of columns that we had been contemplating for several months, titled "Telling It Like It Is." The initial installment featured a five-paragraph introduction explaining the purpose of the column. It said we would have open and frank discussions that may upset some of you because we will take a "truth at all costs approach" to the issues for one simple reason — we believe the fire service needs it. We said this column would never be a direct attempt to upset or anger anyone.

In that first column, we discussed the perception that some institutions of higher learning are using online courses to take the place of the dedication and discipline that comes from being in a classroom and on the drill field. The second installment discussed doing more with less as it relates to the financial crisis that's affecting many municipalities. I also mentioned in my editorial that while fire departments will do more with less, when the police are confronted with the same budget cuts, they say they can't maintain the current level of service. In our most recent installment, we discussed firefighter safety and the mission of the 16 Life Safety Initiatives. Each of these columns was intended to generate a frank discussion about current topics. In this case, some of what we wrote was seen as being over the top and considered by many to be improper, wrong and unjust. To set the record straight, some people say the comments that have angered many are right. Everyone is entitled to their opinion.

Firehouse® has been and always will support the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF). I was asked to attend the summit in Tampa, FL, in 2004 where the 16 Life Safety Initiatives were developed. In fact, there were more people at that meeting who write, present conferences programs or are otherwise associated with Firehouse properties than from any other fire service magazine or association. As program director of the Firehouse conferences, I have invited Ron Siarnicki, the executive director for the NFFF, to address the audience during numerous opening ceremonies at Firehouse conferences around the country to pass his important message that "everyone goes home." During the opening ceremonies at Firehouse Expo in Baltimore last year, we had then-FDNY Chief of Department Sal Cassano present a video produced by the NFFF in cooperation with the FDNY.

The video was hard hitting and powerful. Ron let us show it before it was sent to every fire department in the country. With the cooperation of the NFFF, every member of the audience was provided with a copy of the video to bring back to their departments. Ron sent me a copy of the NFFF's most recent tape on seatbelts and what can happen when a firefighter doesn't wear one. Again this was a very powerful presentation with the message "everyone goes home." We set aside time during the opening ceremonies at the recent Firehouse World conference in San Diego to show the video. Again, every person in the audience took home a copy. You can also watch the video at Our continued commitment to the NFFF is impeccable. To further the cause of preventing line-of-duty deaths, it has been a joint effort between the NFFF and the Firehouse properties that has evolved into a mutual relationship. As one example, last year the NFFF asked all the fire service magazines to publish several articles on the 16 Life Safety Initiatives, which we did. This year, we were asked to feature the logo of the NFFF on an upcoming cover to show our support, which we will do.

To say that Firehouse does not support the NFFF is not correct. To those who say our March column was over the top and insensitive to the families and loved ones who have lost a firefighter in the line of duty, we apologize. We are not too big to say we are sorry for any anger or disappointment we caused. This was one opinion and that's all it was. The intent of the column is to address serious issues facing the fire service. Again, we apologize.

We are pleased to announce the honorees in the 2010 Firehouse® Magazine Heroism & Community Service Awards program and take pride in highlighting the bravery of these outstanding individuals. We would like to recognize this year's judges: Chief James Clack of the Baltimore City, MD, Fire Department, Deputy Chief William Goldfeder of the Loveland-Symmes, OH, Fire Department and Chief Bruce Varner of the Santa Rosa, CA, Fire Department. We thank retired FDNY Rescue 1 Firefighter Paul Hashagen, who administers the program. We also thank our corporate sponsors — Alert-all, Blauer, V.H. Blackinton & Co. Inc., Liberty Art Works and Scott Health & Safety- whose generosity provided the awards.

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