The Day The Fire Service Changed for Me in 2005

As word spread on this day in 2005 of the horrible day for the fire service, it will always ring out to me as a day that changed the fire service. The two fatal LODD fires in New York City should be on our minds any day that we roll out the door and hear the words, "structure fire." Imagine how bad the situation on the top floor of that building was to make these brave men decide to jump, two jumped to their deaths.

Without any form of bailout system in 2005, the decision to jump was the only choice. Today you do have a choice - carry a bailout bag. We should be honoring the sacrifice of the FDNY by purchasing, training, and being ready to deploy a bailout system with us at all times. This is a controversial topic in my area as to the use of these systems. The discussion will last until you retire, but we should be aware that while we are fighting fires, things do go wrong.

"We are interior firefighters, we go inside to save life and property and things can go wrong," said Jeff Cool, a firefighter in Rescue 3 who jumped that day. "If it can happen to me it can happen to any firefighter anywhere in the country."

It's our job to honor the sacrifices made on Black Sunday by training to manage things that go wrong while doing the best job in the world. Today let's focus on using your bailout system. We should take time to review and practice deploying your bailout system in a blackout condition. Repetition is the key for when things go wrong.

You may not remember many things, but the ingrained muscle memory of deploying your bailout kit over and over will help you survive if you are faced with the choice that the FDNY faced. Bailout or die!

God bless Lt. John Bellew and Lt. Curtis Meyran and all the members of the FDNY. Your sacrifice will never be forgotten by this firefighter and will continue your message till my last run is made.