Speak Up 9/2013: The Realities of Short-Handed Firefighting

Staffing is a hot-button topic for many fire departments. We as firefighters know what is needed to safely and effectively get our job done, but all too often our towns and cities have a hard time filling the seats on the apparatus. There are a variety of...


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.

OR

Complete the registration form.

Required
Required
Required
Required
Required
Required
Required
Required
Required
Required

2. Surely someone – the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), FM Global, etc. – has measured carbon monoxide (CO) and oxygen (O2) concentrations during full-scale fire tests in an unvented structure as a function of time. This would reveal if CO concentrations were sufficient to achieve an explosive range with the introduction of additional O2. If the concentrations were insufficient to achieve a lower explosive limit (LEL), then that would debunk the theory of a CO-fueled explosion.

Joseph R. Guyther

Water Supply Officer

Mechanicsville Vol. Fire Dept.

Mechanicsville, MD

See www.mvfd.com/content/water to learn how the Mechanicsville Volunteer Fire Department employs planning, awareness and training along with up-to-date policies and procedures to support rural water-supply operations.

Meaning no disrespect

I am writing to express my distaste for the cover photo on the July 2013 issue of Firehouse®. I find that showing the American flag lying over an overturned vehicle is disgraceful in the fact that the United States of America flag was photographed lying in dirt and rubble. It would be my thought as a fire service member and a veteran of the Vietnam Conflict that this is unacceptable. Our flag means so much to so many and I would think that if any members of the emergency services would have seen this, they would have removed the flag and proudly placed it where it would have been flown with pride.

I am a Vietnam veteran and spent 14 months in a place that was, to say the least, horrible. At 18 years of age I was not only placed in an environment that was confusing and scary, but even to this day I am haunted with what I saw, did and had done to me. I guess that may be part of the reason that seeing our American flag on the cover of Firehouse® brought me back to a time during the Vietnam War when I saw our flag torn, walked on, burned and so much more. As a returning veteran I found myself being humiliated, cursed at, called a baby killer and even spat upon at the Boston airport. All at the young age of 20 years old, confused that our own American people would do such a thing to returning veterans. I am so glad that this great country has learned from that and is now able to help our returning veterans. Still today, there are many Vietnam veterans who are alone and feel so helpless. I could go on, but it hurts too much to think about those horrible days.

I understand the damage that was done to the community of Moore, OK, and really feel for their pain. After all, they went through a war called Mother Nature’s Fury. I have to believe that another picture depicting the destruction could have been shown. A picture of fire-rescue teams would have shown the meaning of us in the service of saving lives and property. After all, that is what we do best, no matter what the event.

Chief David R. Bergeron

City of Winooski Fire Dept.

Winooski, VT

Harvey Eisner responds: Dear Chief Bergeron, I received your comments about the recent cover. The photographer arrived after the tornado had gone through Moore and took a picture of the flag the way it was found among the destruction of a major portion of the city after the nearly 200-mph winds deposited it there.

I am positive that when civilians, firefighters or veterans saw that flag, they removed it and took care of it properly. What we were showing was the utter devastation to the city that first responders had to deal with. At the time, they were busy rescuing trapped civilians and searching schools, hospitals and other buildings that were completely leveled or severely damaged. There was no intent to dishonor the flag or what it represents.