I was doing everything I could to not write today. You would have appreciated that. Today started with our LSFD crews responding to a cardiac arrest of a Mom (early 50's) while Dad and the teenage kids watched. The 7 FF/Paramedics due on the run did everything to save a life...I always hate "that scene" of the family watching, crying and kinda knowing what may or probably won't happen....
Then, I got home and did the lawn. Yeah-I know-I have teenagers who should do that...well, it's gonna rain later and usually "Young G" takes care of the lawn duties....I figured I would help'm out. Of course, at this point, it had been wayyy TOO LONG since I have been "on line" so I better check that too....
As I read through several articles in Firehouse.com, some stood out including one on a midwest FD that is laying off firefighters, another one about a volunteer FD that STILL has to do fund drive (BEGGING) in order to function and of course, the "last ditch efforts" of our Brothers and Sisters in FDNY trying to keep firehouses open. I then read through some articles about GOVERNMENT WASTE. I have been thinking a lot about that recently and have been trying to put some words down...the articles helped.
To me, it is all a matter of priorities and we've got some screwed up priorities in our Country. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE AMERICA as much as anyone else and I practice what I preach...but sometimes "stupid crap" just pisses me off.
In our Country, THE FIRE SERVICE, as a friend of mind said perfectly, has become the proverbial stepchild crawling around on our hands and knees begg'n & fight'n for any remaining bread crumbs that may have inadvertently fallen to the floor. And that may be OK, if everyone else needing funding is being treated equally. That's the problem, it ain't equal. And not just a little...but then, you probably know that by looking around at your own community. Maybe not-maybe, like at the FD I work at, you are treated pretty well and the Community appreciates you. But there are so many FD's where the LEADERSHIP (elected and appointed) as well as the FD themselves have failed to properly market and demonstrate WHY the public needs to fund them...so that when that same PUBLIC needs us, we are there quickly, professionally, well trained and adequately staffed.
Relax, this story isn't going to last much longer...I've got stuff to do. But, as a followup to what we wrote previously (you know, the part about THIS SUMMER, when your Federally Elected politicians are showing up at your events, slapp'n you on the back, saying "our firefighters are our heroes," kissing your asses etc) make sure THEY ARE taking care of you. Talk To Them and Ask Them. AND FOR THAT: We have some suggestions.
# 1-Thank them for what they have done for you. By doing that, the politician will start to listen. Basic communications skills, start by being NICE...even if they do nothing for you....they are now listening so move quick.
# 2-Ask them what their commitment will be to YOUR LOCAL FD to insure you will get what is needed. AND be prepared to clearly justify WHY you need it. In most cases, you will have no trouble doing it.
# 3-Ask them if they will CONTINUE to vote for and support FEDERAL FIRE PROGRAMS?...Programs managed and lead by FIRE (USFA) people, in the Dept of Homeland Security. Ask your federally elected politician WHAT THEY PERSONALLY DID when our funding was threatened this year? That includes: The National Fire Academy Funding, The FIRE ACT Grant continuing in the exact manner to which it has been operated (generally fair, seemingly honest and by FIRE people) and that the DHS MAINTAIN a VERY CLEAR FIRE presence and LEADERSHIP role....one we don't have to "look for" to find.
# 4-After you feel that they actually MAY do what you have discussed with them, as described above...ASK WHY WE HAVE TO FIGHT SO DAMN HARD? They will then respond with something about "many programs" and lot's of "mouths to feed" and although "firefighters are a high priority to me" we have to look at other programs as well. GENERALLY-when you hear that, you say thanks, walk away and DOUBT that ANYTHING will change. We have all been there....but wait.