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  1. #1
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    Default Fighting Fires on Film

    Hello All,

    I am working on an upcoming project, featuring a DC based fire department, with a few fire fighting scenes. I was wondering if you could help me out with a few details.

    1st...in a city, such as Washington, DC, how much time is invested in becoming a volunteer Firefighter? How much training is involved?

    2nd...how much of a difference in protocol is there between a volunteer FF and a full time one? Are there things in a fire fighting situation, that a volunteer wouldn't be called upon to do, or do they share an equal amount of responsibility as a full timer?

    3rd...could you please list a few things that Firefighters do, when not on call or in the field? (Things that are done, IN THE STATION...whether leisurely or work related)

    Lastly...what are some things that you feel have not been properly portrayed in the movies, in FIRE FIGHTING SEQUENCES? (ie...one not wearing their air tank).

    Thank you...and I apologize in advance, if this is the wrong forum for these types of questions.


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    Rushing around like a mad man trying to get my nachos-n-cheese, beer, and comfy chair ready for the lambasting that's about to begin....

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    This one is going to be fun...

  4. #4
    Forum Member MemphisE34a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by creyrun View Post
    Hello All,

    I am working on an upcoming project, featuring a DC based fire department, with a few fire fighting scenes. I was wondering if you could help me out with a few details.

    1st...in a city, such as Washington, DC, how much time is invested in becoming a volunteer Firefighter? How much training is involved?

    2nd...how much of a difference in protocol is there between a volunteer FF and a full time one? Are there things in a fire fighting situation, that a volunteer wouldn't be called upon to do, or do they share an equal amount of responsibility as a full timer?

    3rd...could you please list a few things that Firefighters do, when not on call or in the field? (Things that are done, IN THE STATION...whether leisurely or work related)

    Lastly...what are some things that you feel have not been properly portrayed in the movies, in FIRE FIGHTING SEQUENCES? (ie...one not wearing their air tank).

    Thank you...and I apologize in advance, if this is the wrong forum for these types of questions.
    Clearly you know nothing of fighting fires or filming movies.
    Robert Kramer
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    Management is making sure things are done right. Leadership is doing the right thing. The fire service needs alot more leaders and a lot less managers.

    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

  5. #5
    Forum Member Bushwhacker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by creyrun View Post
    Hello All,

    I am working on an upcoming project, featuring a DC based fire department, with a few fire fighting scenes. I was wondering if you could help me out with a few details.

    1st...in a city, such as Washington, DC, how much time is invested in becoming a volunteer Firefighter? How much training is involved?

    2nd...how much of a difference in protocol is there between a volunteer FF and a full time one? Are there things in a fire fighting situation, that a volunteer wouldn't be called upon to do, or do they share an equal amount of responsibility as a full timer?

    3rd...could you please list a few things that Firefighters do, when not on call or in the field? (Things that are done, IN THE STATION...whether leisurely or work related)

    Lastly...what are some things that you feel have not been properly portrayed in the movies, in FIRE FIGHTING SEQUENCES? (ie...one not wearing their air tank).

    Thank you...and I apologize in advance, if this is the wrong forum for these types of questions.
    I feel bad for you already, But I think your going to get some really good response on this one
    Courage, Being Scared to Death and Saddling Up anyways.

  6. #6
    Forum Member pasobuff's Avatar
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    Sigh....time for an 'adult' to step in?

    Quote Originally Posted by creyrun View Post
    Hello All,

    I am working on an upcoming project, featuring a DC based fire department, with a few fire fighting scenes. I was wondering if you could help me out with a few details.

    1st...in a city, such as Washington, DC, how much time is invested in becoming a volunteer Firefighter? How much training is involved? Are there even volunteers in DC?

    2nd...how much of a difference in protocol is there between a volunteer FF and a full time one? Are there things in a fire fighting situation, that a volunteer wouldn't be called upon to do, or do they share an equal amount of responsibility as a full timer? Protocol? Not sure what you mean..... A volunteer firefighter is a firefighter - they just don't get paid- job duties are the same.....

    3rd...could you please list a few things that Firefighters do, when not on call or in the field? (Things that are done, IN THE STATION...whether leisurely or work related) Watch TV, clean apparatus, check equipment, study, hang out, sleep, conduct training............

    Lastly...what are some things that you feel have not been properly portrayed in the movies, in FIRE FIGHTING SEQUENCES? (ie...one not wearing their air tank). Oh boy - where to START?!?!?!.......lack of smoke, response to scene, operations on scenes....big bad explosions.......I'll leave it at that (for now!)
    Thank you...and I apologize in advance, if this is the wrong forum for these types of questions.

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    From our history.....

    Previous to May 19, 1864, the fire department was wholly volunteer, divided into eight engine companies, known as the Union, Franklin, Vigilance, Perseverance, Columbia, Northern Liberty, Western Hose & Anacostia and two hook & ladder companies known as the Metropolitan and the American. The volunteer department was disbanded and replaced with a Paid Steam Fire Department. The houses used for the new department were Union for Engine Co. l, Franklin for Engine Co. 2, Columbia for Engine Co. 3, and Metropolitan Hook & Ladder house for the Truck company. The new department was known as the Washington City Fire Department.

    So the President at the time, Abraham Lincoln, actually was alive for the transition to the paid service.

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    Forum Member PaladinKnight's Avatar
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    I'm going to pull up a chair... right after I make some buttered popcorn.

    Wake me up during the 'damsel in distressed' scene.
    HAVE PLAN.............WILL TRAVEL

  9. #9
    Forum Member pasobuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaladinKnight View Post
    I'm going to pull up a chair... right after I make some buttered popcorn.

    Wake me up during the 'damsel in distressed' scene.
    Got any to share or do I need to make my own???

  10. #10
    Forum Member PaladinKnight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pasobuff View Post
    Got any to share or do I need to make my own???
    Are you the damsel?

    Sure I have plenty. Pull up a chair.
    HAVE PLAN.............WILL TRAVEL

  11. #11
    Forum Member pasobuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaladinKnight View Post
    Are you the damsel?

    Sure I have plenty. Pull up a chair.
    Umm...since I don't currently have any popcorn, and my wine glass is almost empty, I'd say YES~!

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    We don't have volunteer firefighters in DC. Like mentioned earlier, we haven't since the mid 1800's. Try the suburbs. Most are county fire departments made up of a combination staff. Some, like PG County, run just as much as large cities. Others are almost all volunteer and maybe run a few hundred calls every year.

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    well depending on the situation; Volunteers do nothing but look cool, while the paid firemen do everything, conversly; the volunteers do everything, while the paid guys do nothing and bitch about that duty not being in their job description.

    while in the station we horseplay, damage dept. property, and haze new people. We also make elaborate meals and eat more cake and ice cream than you could ever hope to understand.

    in movies, they don't capture how big of heros we are. I probably save 100 babies an hour. Also they dont show our gear accurately, in real life you can see the out line of my monstrous horse dong even with my bunker pants on. Also women throw themselves at firemen 100% of the time, no matter where we are or what we are doing. The hardest part of fighting a fire is making it to the building under the barrage of panties that everyone and your mother is throwing at us.

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    Ah, those answers will be a big help in making sure firefighters and firefighting are accurately portrayed in movies.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by pasobuff View Post
    Umm...since I don't currently have any popcorn, and my wine glass is almost empty, I'd say YES~!
    Now don't be asking me for cheese for that wine, or you will really be in distress.
    HAVE PLAN.............WILL TRAVEL

  16. #16
    Forum Member RspctFrmCalgary's Avatar
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    WOW most of you are being particularly harsh this time ....

    This person RESPECTFULLY came on here on a quest to learn how to accurately portray the fire service and you all dogpile.

    Creyrun, looks like you have some research to do, based on the few serious replies.

    Good luck!
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  17. #17
    Forum Member pasobuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaladinKnight View Post
    Now don't be asking me for cheese for that wine, or you will really be in distress.
    LOL...nope - have enough of that here already.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by nameless View Post
    well depending on the situation; Volunteers do nothing but look cool, while the paid firemen do everything, conversly; the volunteers do everything, while the paid guys do nothing and bitch about that duty not being in their job description.

    while in the station we horseplay, damage dept. property, and haze new people. We also make elaborate meals and eat more cake and ice cream than you could ever hope to understand.

    in movies, they don't capture how big of heros we are. I probably save 100 babies an hour. Also they dont show our gear accurately, in real life you can see the out line of my monstrous horse dong even with my bunker pants on. Also women throw themselves at firemen 100% of the time, no matter where we are or what we are doing. The hardest part of fighting a fire is making it to the building under the barrage of panties that everyone and your mother is throwing at us.
    OK, I about shot my hamburger onto my screen right after reading about the middle of the second paragraph.

    Creyrun, if this is a serious question, as you can read, one of the things we as volunteers or career do is take stabs or kid each other when not on a call or training. That is what we do, it is a part of the fire service.

    One thing to note is a FIREFIGHTER takes his/her job seriously, which creates a lot of tension and stress, joking is one way to deal with it.


    Good luck with all of your research

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    Quote Originally Posted by creyrun View Post
    Hello All,

    I am working on an upcoming project, featuring a DC based fire department, with a few fire fighting scenes. I was wondering if you could help me out with a few details.

    1st...in a city, such as Washington, DC, how much time is invested in becoming a volunteer Firefighter? How much training is involved?

    2nd...how much of a difference in protocol is there between a volunteer FF and a full time one? Are there things in a fire fighting situation, that a volunteer wouldn't be called upon to do, or do they share an equal amount of responsibility as a full timer?

    3rd...could you please list a few things that Firefighters do, when not on call or in the field? (Things that are done, IN THE STATION...whether leisurely or work related)

    Lastly...what are some things that you feel have not been properly portrayed in the movies, in FIRE FIGHTING SEQUENCES? (ie...one not wearing their air tank).

    Thank you...and I apologize in advance, if this is the wrong forum for these types of questions.
    1.) Not Applicable, far as I know, DCFD is paid.
    2.) Varies from dept to dept. Vol vs. Paid isn't the real difference but certification levels are. A certified FF II would be expected to know more and therefore do more than FF I. Different depts have different rules about what there paid and vollies must be certified too and what they can do. Most that I know are certified the same and would perform the same.
    3.) truck check, trwaining, CEs, pub ed, hydrant checks and commercial fire inspections...and at night we all spoon in one big bed.

    4.) most mainstream FF movies are a joke. some small semblances of reality in each one, but mostly hokum. the biggest deal is that when you're interior and firefighting you cant see a damn thing. seems all the movies show a nice crystal-clear view of the "action". always bothered me.

    please do the world a favor and get a real fireman to be your technical advisor.

    mucho thanks.

  20. #20
    Forum Member PaladinKnight's Avatar
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    I received most of my inspiration from BackDraft. I just didn't really know what to do with that inspiration.

    Hollywood is... well it is Hollywood.

    What happens on the big screen might be reflective of what we do, but not 100% accurate. Unless there is something huge going on, we don't respond to another fire, or bombing or collapse every 5 minutes.

    We do have our busy times, but the action is not exactly what the actors performance indicates. Not every call needs the dramatic music in the background. I have been on a few calls that some dramatic music might have been nice, but that is mostly after we get back to the station.

    Much like our actor counterparts, we have a streak within us that makes us take ourselves more seriously than anyone around us does. This should not be included within your project, since this is a "top secret" secret. It is because of what we are, what we do, and what we stand for.

    If everything goes to hell.... who you gonna call?

    And as has been stated by our esteemed collegue Cappy05:

    One thing to note is a FIREFIGHTER takes his/her job seriously, which creates a lot of tension and stress, joking is one way to deal with it.
    HAVE PLAN.............WILL TRAVEL

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