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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...

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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.
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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.

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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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    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

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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???

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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

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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.

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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

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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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    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.

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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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    The downtime in a paid house is mostly devoted to knitting and manicures.

    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

    "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

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    Again...for those of you who were offended by someone asking questions about your profession, I sincerely apologize. If you Google, BEST FIREFIGHTER MOVIES, there are generally 2 or 3 movies mentioned in every list, however, there are tons of comments, saying that the movies listed, were drastically unrealistic. I just wanted to ensure, that the small amount of fire fighting involved in this project, came across as credible.

    For those of you who were about to "shoot their load," based solely on my questions...I applaud you! That's really impressive.

    For the people with popcorn, nachos, or even the one's without, but looking to score some...check your local grocery store. There should be some really nice sales this week.

    THANK YOU, to all whom responded in a serious manner.

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    Quote Originally Posted by creyrun View Post
    Again...for those of you who were offended by someone asking questions about your profession, I sincerely apologize. If you Google, BEST FIREFIGHTER MOVIES, there are generally 2 or 3 movies mentioned in every list, however, there are tons of comments, saying that the movies listed, were drastically unrealistic. I just wanted to ensure, that the small amount of fire fighting involved in this project, came across as credible.

    For those of you who were about to "shoot their load," based solely on my questions...I applaud you! That's really impressive.

    For the people with popcorn, nachos, or even the one's without, but looking to score some...check your local grocery store. There should be some really nice sales this week.

    THANK YOU, to all whom responded in a serious manner.
    Actually, creyrun, without most of us answering your questions, we...well...answered your questions.

    Hollywood has screwed the proverbial pooch too many times for most of us to expect anything different in the future. Sorry, but that's the way it is. And I'm sure that is the way it is with alot of professions.

    We find humor in the most mundane potentially inappropriate things. It's what we do to blow off steam. It does not make us INhuman, it makes us more human.

    We're a closed society. You want to find out about us, you've got to be one of us. You may score yourself a ride along, but you won't see the real us until you've ridden many many times and proven yourself the way a rookie would...dishes, mops, and chow. We're closer to our brothers/sisters alot of time than to our own spouses or blood relatives. You can't expect us to instantly open up our hearts and souls to a reporter, film maker, or outsider, especially one protected by the anonymity of the www.

    You will find alot of your questions already have answers by browsing through this sites forum search engine. There have already been numerous people asking the same questions as you, supposedly for the same reason...a new accurate film or movie. For some reason, those people never seem to stick around very long on here. There is a current thread right now on firehouse banter, the threads on smoothbore vs fog while perhaps gibberish to you in the terminology will still indicate the passion with which we approach our jobs. Go back a few pages and find out how we feel about city leaders (insert own expletive) closing stations and trucks. It's quite evident in the words and posts. Read posts where some posters are called "brother" and some are called "you're not my brother you're a posing piece of &*%&"...again the passion is evident.

    Lastly, around here what looks like a troll, smells like a troll, and sounds like a troll is probably a troll. You may honestly have the best of intentions and be a stand up guy/gal, but you have to understand that firefighters are very skeptical of outsiders. Right or wrong that's the way it is. If you're for real then stick around, ask fewer questions off the bat, and learn some things on your own.

    Good luck; and yes, I did enjoy my beer and nachos like I knew I would.

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    Quote Originally Posted by creyrun View Post
    Again...for those of you who were offended by someone asking questions about your profession, I sincerely apologize. If you Google, BEST FIREFIGHTER MOVIES, there are generally 2 or 3 movies mentioned in every list, however, there are tons of comments, saying that the movies listed, were drastically unrealistic. I just wanted to ensure, that the small amount of fire fighting involved in this project, came across as credible.

    For those of you who were about to "shoot their load," based solely on my questions...I applaud you! That's really impressive.

    For the people with popcorn, nachos, or even the one's without, but looking to score some...check your local grocery store. There should be some really nice sales this week.

    THANK YOU, to all whom responded in a serious manner.
    Wow...

    OK, fair enough. I can see that we really impressed you.

    Here are some facts:


    BackDraft:

    Kurt Russell may choose to enter a burner without his mask and air, but most of us would not. There is something to be said for living a long time without lung disorders.

    Robert De Niro was almost spot on as the investigator. He took his job seriously, no personally.

    William Baldwin: Everyone starts out green, and some do have to live in the shadow of an older brother. So that was somewhat correct.

    Almost everything else was Hollywood. Sure there was real fire, real bunker gear, real trucks and some impressive shots. But the truth is, no one would pay good money to watch our scenes.

    Ladder 49:

    Joaquin Phoenix showed his human side. Some of the scenes are based upon real life. When he rescued the maniquin, yeah, we all know that guy and could relate. When he was trapped and his brothers were doing everything possible to get to him... that struck hard at us, because many of us have been there.

    John Travolta: Not a bad job, but I never knew this Chief. I thought he just a bit less than human at times.

    But the scene where the command abandons the rescue... take that to the bank. In real life you would have guys refusing to give up, despite the order. Some would have to be tackled or restrained to keep them back. And the guy who had it the worst, was the commander. He had to live with the decision to call it off. So could that happen? It has and will again.

    But as I said before, good fire scenes, real trucks and gear. But what we do would not be exciting enough for Hollywood.


    Towering Inferno:

    When that movie came out, I had been in the fire service about two years. I had never seen anything like what was in that movie. The plot... yeah it has happened. It is a fact that developers have cut corners to save money. Have skyscrapers had fires? Sure.

    Steve McQueen: What can I say? He was McQueen.

    But for what it was, it was Hollywood.
    __________________________________________________ __________

    What I am trying to tell you is it isn't about the fires or the scenes in a movie.

    We see the best in people and we see the worst in people. We see people when they have lost everything and have no where to turn.

    What firefighters do is about the human element. Some of us like the action, but our action and our reality is not what Hollywood sells. Life around a Station, or in a Truck is sometimes boring, sometimes sad, sometimes happy, but it is more about family... a brother and sister collective of a family.

    We are just as human and mortal as anyone. But we charted a course that took us into this proud service. For us, it is a calling that got our attention and holds us in a tight grip. We laugh... and we cry. We bleed and we can die.

    Some of us take exception to the message that TV and Hollywood paints. We know what is real and we know the risks. I am sure that many of the firefighters around here were quite inspired by the 3 movies I listed. But once they became one of us, they saw something else.

    So if you really want to write about firefighters, talk to us like we are human. Write about us and the human element, the human factor, the reality.

    While a few of us might look like Travolta, McQueen or Russell, in realty we do not live on the big screen. We live in your neighborhood.

    I wish you all the luck with your project.
    HAVE PLAN.............WILL TRAVEL

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    [QUOTE=PaladinKnight;1153135]Wow...








    Towering Inferno:

    When that movie came out, I had been in the fire service about two years. I had never seen anything like what was in that movie. The plot... yeah it has happened. It is a fact that developers have cut corners to save money. Have skyscrapers had fires? Sure.



    Wow, did ya'll still use buckets then?

    Sorry couldn't help myself

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