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The list could go on and on. I will leave it to you to find the answers to these questions. And I do not care which text you use to find the answers. Whether it is the Skip Coleman, Alan Brunacini, John Norman or Harry Carter version of Firefighting 101, nothing can happen until you acquire the book and commit the knowledge the inner recesses of your cranial regions. As I have said on more than one occasion, knowledge is good and ignorance is bad; the choice as to which you use is yours alone.
We will probably never achieve a zero-death year in the world of fire suppression. I am not a pessimist; rather, I am a realist. We are dealing with human beings and uncontrolled environments. The interaction between the two is fraught with danger. However, our quest to lower the annual death rate cannot begin until we stop wringing our hands and complaining about fate. We have to stop bragging about how dangerous firefighting is and start acting on the steps that I have identified in this piece.
I call upon you to begin the journey to a safer fire department. Like the famous journey of 10,000 steps, nothing happens until you take the first step. And unless thousands of you begin to take those fateful first steps, we, as the fire service, will be condemned to paying a never-ending, ever-increasing tribute at the National Fallen Firefighters Monument in Emmitsburg, MD. Please try the safe way.
Harry R. Carter, Ph.D., MIFireE, a Firehouse® contributing editor, is a municipal fire protection consultant based in Adelphia, NJ. He is also an associate professor at Mercer County Community College and a past chief and active life member of the Adelphia Fire Company. Dr. Carter retired from the Newark Fire Department in 1999 as a battalion commander. He also served as chief of training and commander of the Hazardous Materials Response Team. Dr. Carter is a Member of the Institution of Fire Engineers of Great Britain (MIFireE). He may be contacted through his website at Dr.Carter@HarryCarter.com.