Let me share an observation about the world around us. It is my opinion that the level of dumb ass amongst our society today is a source of constant amazement to me. Each and every day a new story appears on the television news or in my local paper which make me shake my head and wonder, where in the heck are we getting people like this? Each of these instances gives me pause to ponder about the mental capacity of many within our society. It seems to me to be at a low point in the ebb and flow of history.
I can recall the evening on the Tonight Show when Jay Leno shared another one of his "stupid criminal" stories with those of us watching his late-night show. His story involved a certain individual who had been arrested by his local police department and charged with possession of a small pistol. Like most criminals, the man denied any knowledge of said weapon. Unfortunately for him, his undoing proved to be the fact that he just happened to have a tattoo on his leg portraying that particular weapon, as well as the serial number on said pistol.
Talk about a real-life dumb-ass. Let me give you another example of the propensity for people to act the dumb ass within our society. I am making reference to those legions of fire departments which fail to train their people to do the job they are sworn to do. I can recall the story of a fire chief in Pennsylvania some time back stood up at a seminar stated that he did not want too much training imposed on his department. His reason for this statement stopped everyone in their tracks. That person said he did not want his people to know more than he did. Wow, what a dumb-ass.
Many people still think that training is a waste of time. They believe that there are far more important things to do at the firehouse, like drinking beer and eating pizzas. Oh, I can hear the moaning now. The "we've never done it that way warriors" will be leading the cheers and jeers. There will be calls to string me up or dip me in boiling tar and cover me with a coating of feathers.
Harry is on a training tear again they will shout. Enough already Harry, we get it. Yep, you are right. I am on a tear about training and I want you to know that far too many people are not getting it. Let me suggest a few versions of the moans you might hear in response to my call for more training:
· Who in the heck are you to tell me anything?
· Get off our case Harry, we train.
· If you don't believe me Harry, just check my records.
· We don't need to train Harry, we go to a lot of fires.
· We don't need no stinking training. (Ala Treasure of the Sierra Madre-1948 or Blazing Saddles-1974)
· I do not need to train since I already know it all.
What a load of bull my friends. Enough is enough. Just about everything in life from cradle to grave involves some form of training. There may be things you do for which you think training is not necessary, but let me assure you that training and practice are needed in every part of your life. Training has been a part of my life for a long time. It has become a passion for me.
There are other people who play a part in my life for whom fire service training is also a passion. My friend Jack Peltier from Marlboro, Massachusetts stands representative of the very best in fire service training. I can recall the time he sent me an email version of a really neat article from the Boston Herald that spoke volumes about the bad things that can happen when you fail to train your troops. I am going to share that story with you now, because it is a good example of what can happen when people do not take training seriously.