Documentary about MFD?
i've said this in one of the other forums, but if i can't be a firefighter i would love to make a documentary about being one. reading some of Jasper45's posts it seems that MFD is experiencing some serious problems and i think there may be a story there. when a city can't afford to fund its first responders, then the city can't afford the help its citizens. i have a master's degree in film, i was born and raised in milwaukee (37th and burleigh to be exact), and i hate seeing the direction this city is going in. i'm just a working class guy who wants to do his part in bettering my city. i'd much rather join the dept, but if that's not possible i'd like to offer my skills as a filmmaker to helps you guys (and gals) out. if the city is helping make your job harder and thus not appreciating the work you all do, and pretty much putting the lives of its citizens at risk, then it is a story that needs to be told. just an idea that i wanted to put out there. let me know what you all think.
Hate to say it, but Milwaukee isn't the only city facing financial troubles and elected officials looking to downsize. Green Bay is dealing with a similar situation. While public education is good and to show the people what the fire dept does, in such financial troubling times we have, elected officials think public servants make too much money anyway and the bottom line is dollar signs, not what is safest. They look at other dept and say so and so can do the job with less people, why can't we. The biggest problem is despite the cards dealt, the firefighters will find a way to make things work, even if it is tough and less safe, giving fodder to such officials to say, "I told you so". Despite the best public education, perhaps the only thing that will wake people up is the tragedy, but those memories only last so long. Ask any firefighter how many FDNY personnel died on 9/11 and they'll tell you. Ask a common Joe off the street and see what response you get.
jccrabby3084 thanks for the reply, but i think you underestimate the power of film. i agree memories do fade, that's why there needs to be a constant reminder. how many cop shows are on tv (reality and fiction)? how many firefighter shows? rescue me (one of the best shows ever made) i think is the only one, and i can't think of any reality shows. my son was hit by a car 3 years ago and the firefighters on the scene displayed so much professionalism and empathy, while the cop was a bit of an a-hole. the firefighters were happy to do their job while the cop seemed bothered by it. i have nothing against the police, maybe the guy was having a bad day, but he was still an a-hole.
if i were to make a documentary i would show the firefighter as a warrior against all odds. elected officials are public servants too, they're over paid, and they don't put their lives on the line. firefighters are more important than aldermen (at least i think so). i just read in the paper today that the city wants to get rid of 45 firefighters. the recruitment video on the milwaukee firefighter website doesn't do the dept or the job justice. sadly today, one has to do more than inform the public, one has to entertain the public. the documentary i would make would inform and entertain, and make every young guy and gal want to be a firefighter. image is everything today.
That sounds really interesting. I would love to see that. And, Im sure alot of other people would love to as well.
I hear you brother and I do agree with you. I'm not underestimating the power of film, nor even public education about firefighters and the job. What I do see is the reality of such a situation. The economy sucks as it is and everyday people are facing the same challenges firefighters face, yet tax dollars don't go down, so people really only see the pay and benefits of firefighters. With the economy bad as it is, it is difficult for common folks to really care about firefighters until they need them.
As for reality shows, like COPS etc and all the police videos, yes people do watch that more, but it is difficult to do on a fire side of things. Basically the calls and fires are not there when filming, and then you can't get inside a fire for a real look. I don't believe that the shows have as much say about police as does the social environment we live in today. The reason you don't see police taking the cuts like the fire service, is because people can see an increase in crime and in bad times, that just gets worse. People don't see the need for fire service until they have an emergency. If the neighbor's house catches fire, they say "sorry for your loss", but go about their daily life. Yet when they see their neighbors house get robbed or some crime committed, then they are on guard and want that extra police protection.
Not saying don't go with a video, anything can help a situation, but one has to be careful about making it not look like a bunch of whiners. Again most folks see the pay and benefits and as brother Jasper pointed out in the hiring forum, some, like his alderman, believes firefighters are a waste of money. I hope you do do a video for Milwaukee, heck come up here and do one, we are facing the same kind of crap MFD is. I have also made up some stuff for public education to present to our neighborhood groups explaining what firefighters do.
However, I just state how easy it is for folks to forget and the social environment because we lost a firefighter almost 2 years ago, yet our city father wants to cut us even more. How quickly they do forget. Shameful.
i have to agree with you. all of your points are well taken, and i will give this more thought. but something has to happen.
Well, I’m fresh out of an early morning union meeting, a special called meeting at that. The topic at hand only dealt with our upcoming budget situation.
All that can be said is that if all of the cuts are made, our ability to deliver will be greatly compromised, and the citizens of Milwaukee will be placed at risk. Not to mention that firefighter safety will absolutely be compromised.
Here is the official layout of proposed cuts :
1. Reduce staffing on ALL remaining truck and engine companies
- 39 firefighters
2. Decommission one company
- 3 officers, 3 heavy equipment operators, 6 firefighters
3. Eliminate the next paramedic class
4. Reduce the next recruit class to 35
(Remember, these cuts are on top of the already 150 positions cut over the previous 2-3 years)
We know absolutely nothing about the recruitment drive/application period, as that is handled by an entity completely removed from the local and department.
We are contemplating on taking drastic action to publicize the gross mismanagement of the budget by Mayor Barrett. We are also going to have to completely revamp our way of doing things across the board, from firefighting to special teams incidents. We have suffered 7 significant line-of-duty injuries at fires in the last week, or so. These injuries will result in significant time off for the members hurt.
Please, if you live in the city, contact your elected officials. Phone them, write them, send them e-mails; let them know that the front-line firefighter cuts are placing yourself and your family in jeopardy. We are working in conjunction with the IAFF, and are formulating a plan of attack, but the members of Local-215 absolutely need your help. Remember, all members of the Milwaukee Fire Department are your neighbors, as well as city tax-payers. We live in the city by rule. These cuts are a threat to our loved ones as well as yours. All of our families are at risk.
We were informed about the situation you guys are facing today, as well. You have our support as well. If you need help with lit-drops, or door to door knocking/info drives shoot me a message. I’d be more than happy to come up and help.
I attended Lt. Wolff’s funeral, and don’t wish to ever do that again.
As a citizen of the city it boggles me to hear about something like this. What's the reasoning behind it? Is it fueled by a property tax related issue with city residents? I AGREE, the cuts make the city much more at-risk for casualties that could have been prevented with proper staffing! And the cutting of an entire company is also very serious. They are so worried about filling the neighborhoods with cops. They don't think about the fire service?
Originally Posted by jasper45
maybe i'm paying more attention now, but there seems to be a lot of fires in the city lately. not just fires, but shootings and car accidents too. when i read Last Men Out the guys in there talked about how fires increase when the economy of the city goes down. i've lived in this city all my life (33 years) and i can't remember a time when the economy has been so bad. i thought the 80s were bad when A.O. Smith and Briggs & Stratton were laying people off, but i think now is worse. the inner city (where i'm from, but luckily i live in bay view now) is a tinderbox and i think this will be a horrible summer. lots of vacant homes to burn down. the last firefighters to be injured i believe were fighting a blaze at a vacant and fell through the floor. there will be more to come.
i would love to offer my filmmaking skills to expose the plight of MFD and the city on a whole. like jccrabby3084 said everybody is going through tough times now. the firefighter has to be seen as a working man's hero. i remember when i lived on 49th and locust and the kids were throwing rocks at the firefighters when they would come and shut off the hydrants on ridiculously hot days. i would try to talk to the kids and explain that the firefighters weren't the enemy and that they were f@#king up my water pressure, but they viewed the fire dept like the police dept. neither is the enemy, but firefighters are purely a rescue operation (in my eyes) where the police arrest and beat people (i've been on the receiving end of a cop's flashlight before). i've never had a problem with firefighters. weeks before my son was hit by a car firefighters were on my block for another reason and there was a firefighter who took the time to talk to my kids and show them stuff off of the truck. the same one was straightening out my son's twisted leg and remembered him from the previous weeks. much thanks to the firefighters at the house on 60 something and burleigh.
i just need to figure out the right angle to take as far as a documentary goes. like what one of my old professors would say "what is the story". any suggestions would be helpful. what would you want to see? i would love to follow a specific house through this period of cuts. one that sees a lot of action. i would love to get as close to a fire as legally possible. i would love to talk to aldermen and the mayor too. what's actually possible?
on tuesday i have an interview for the audiovisual specialist position for the MPD and unfortunately the pay starts out more than a firefighter. how you all can be overpaid beats me. the audiovisual specialist just makes videos and doesn't risk life or limb, but still starts out making more money. i still want to be a firefighter though. got to do something i can be proud of.
Originally Posted by jasper45
Thanks for the offer and that does go both ways. If you guys need any help there I'd be happy to help. We've been getting some numbers so far and sounds like 15 spots and eliminating one of our Truck Co. Mismanagement by our cities seems to be common. What the general public needs to realize is that they are ALREADY paying for the level of service they get now and any cuts doesn't reduce taxes, you just pay more and get less. An analogy I came up with is that it is like your cable or satellite TV provider cutting your channels, but you will pay the same amount on your bill. How many would sit by and idlely accept that? Why should it be different for the fire saftey they receive.
Been seeing too much news out of Milwaukee lately and it isn't pretty. Mobs attacking FF's, arsonists running around and several close calls. Too bad the politicians feel you make too much money and benefits and sit around and wait for calls. Good luck in the Brew City.