Thread: At least someone understands
07-08-2011, 06:25 AM #26
I lost my cousin earlier this year who just happened to be a City of Richmond Firefighter... It was not a LODD but he still had full Fire Department Honors.
There were Engines that came as far away as North Carolina and I know of a few from Alabama Texas and TN... I remember standing in formation and holding composure as his mother wrapped her arms around me and cried. I remember approaching his Casket placing My hand on his helmet as the tears came uncontrolled. I was first embarrassed untill I looked around at the other Firefighters, Police Officers, and EMS and noticed that there was not a dry eye in the room.
As I rode in our Engine I noticed folks stopping and getting out of their cars and people coming out of businesses to pay tribute to My cousin... Not one of them minded how long it took for us to lay to rest our Brother..
Whatever the author of this article was trying to achieve with his words I assure you had the reverse effect for me. A Coal Miner never put his life in harms way so that Others may live.. A Logger never lost his life while trying to save a persons life or property...
Rest in Peace Tim " Chewy " Farthing.. Your always Ridin with us on Engine 14Do not let the ghosts of our fallen brothers gaze upon you and ask " What have you done to my profession?" FTB DTRT EGH
07-08-2011, 07:17 AM #27
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- Nov 2010
07-08-2011, 08:32 AM #28
BTW, miners and fishermen went to those locales willingly.
Now for the record, being a miner is dangerous. I'm not disputing that. And I respect those in that profession. I doubt I could do that job.Politics is like driving. To go forward select "D", to go backward select "R."
07-08-2011, 09:16 AM #29
- Join Date
- Mar 2003
"a coal miner will never put his life his life in harms way, so others may live" ?? Im sorry but that is a pretty arrogant statement. Same for the one about loggers.?
07-08-2011, 10:40 AM #30
I would like to think it was a statement of fact. Thats our Job.
You can dilute it any way you would wish but when it boils down to its simple form thats what we do. Thats why we train. To save lives and property.
I might be talking without knowledge here but I do not believe that Coal Miners or Loggers or Fishermen are trained in anything other than self rescue are they?Do not let the ghosts of our fallen brothers gaze upon you and ask " What have you done to my profession?" FTB DTRT EGH
07-08-2011, 11:11 AM #31
Kentucky does have 4 Coal Miner academys maybe I am just looking over where Coal Miners are trained the same as and expected to perform dutys such as a Firefighter would.
I could not really find anything on what schooling or training a Logger would need other than a Highschool diploma and maybe a CDL if operating heavy equipment and no still no indication these guys are trained the same as Firefighters..
Again.. Unless I am overlooking something here they are trained in First Aid Concepts and self rescue otherwise they would not need the the Coast Guard.
http://www.firehire.com/job_description.htmDo not let the ghosts of our fallen brothers gaze upon you and ask " What have you done to my profession?" FTB DTRT EGH
07-08-2011, 11:16 AM #32
- Join Date
- Mar 2003
So the foreman that stays until he is sure all his men are out is not risking his life? The captain or tool pusher on an offshore rig that insures that everyone is off before he leaves ? As others have said - dont discount others to make yourself look better. Re-read your statement- it only gives fuel to people like the original writer. And as a side note -when I started as a wildland firefighter in the 70s , they would "recruit" all the loggers possible. They may not have been "firefighters" - but they could get the job done.?
07-08-2011, 11:21 AM #33
- Join Date
- Mar 2003
Just for fun , read about the 1909 Cherry mine fire in illinois -?
07-08-2011, 12:11 PM #34
Again... this is a stupid argument and many of you have missed the point.
To argue over the relative danger or value of one position over the other is foolish.
Look a little deeper into this author and you'll understand the spirit and motivation behind his insulting article.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."
07-08-2011, 12:20 PM #35
- Join Date
- Aug 2007
The problem with debating a topic like "who has the more dangerous job" is that it's essentially futile to do so. How do you define "danger" and then "quantify" it in order to compare it between completely different occupations? Does training and experience factor into that determination?
It's common belief that VES is a "dangerous" tactic. Is the quantifiable level of "danger" performing VES the same for a 20-year FDNY truckie vs a 20-month volunteer in a rural department running 150 calls per year?
If you built side by side the exact same house with the exact same fuel load and set the exact same fire, is the quantifiable level of "danger" fighting that fire exactly the same for a typical 1st alarm response from the Chicago FD vs. a small career department with 5 FFs on-duty and their "back up" (off-duty callback and/or mutual aid) is 10-15 minutes behind the first arriving unit?
Is the assessment/quantification of "danger" cumulative or more isolated? Assuming a "danger scale" of 1-100. Which job is "more dangerous" - job A which has a constant rating of 75 throughout the shift or job B which has a rating of 25 most of the shift, but can spike to >90 at times?
Using a raw statistic like on-the-job deaths each year is a very poor way to define "the most dangerous job". There are far too many variables to account for and it implies that the lack of (or lower number of) death(s) in other occupations equates to a lack of (or lower level of) "danger" which may not be the truth.
07-08-2011, 12:20 PM #36
But then again, I didn't just read the written words.
As to the stats, US Fire Admin. They are easily accessible.
Last edited by JohnVBFD; 07-08-2011 at 12:23 PM.Co 11
Virginia Beach FD
Amateurs practice until they get it right; professionals practice until they cannot get it wrong. Which one are you?
'The fire went out and nobody got hurt' is a poor excuse for a fireground critique.
07-08-2011, 03:39 PM #37AJ, MICP, FireMedic
This message has been made longer, in part from a grant from the You Are a Freaking Moron Foundation.
07-08-2011, 05:56 PM #38
- Join Date
- Jul 1999
- Rural Wisconsin, Retired from the burbs of Milwaukee
I admit I haven't read all the posts on this topic but I guess it wouldn't change what I am about to say anyways so here goes.
I haven't been to very many firefighter funerals, and no line of duty death funerals, but to me how WE as firefighters honor our dead is nobody's business but ours. I was at a funeral for a young man who died in a car accident. He was a member of a neighboring volunteer fire department. An incredibly promising young man who was enrolled in the Fire Associate Degree program, had gotten several certifications, and was VERY active in his department. I had him as a student and I can tell you he was well liked and a very respectful and earnest young man. His volunteer fire department decided he deserved a full fire department funeral and they did an excellent job. Fire departments from all over our area showed up for the funeral. The state Honor Guard was there. My son came with me to the funeral and he didn't know this young man but he was very moved by the respect, love and caring that those that were there showed this firefighter, his family, and the fire department. There were very few dry eyes in the church.
The community was there to show support. It was a bitterly cold, miserable winter day, and yet the church was overflowing. The fire apparatus and firefighters made their way to the cemetary and laid this young man to rest the best way we could.
Another funeral that I attended was for Fire Chief Chuck Himsel of Mount Horeb Wisconsin. Chuck had been a member of the Fire Department Mount Horeb for decades, how long exactly I don't know, and Chief for as long as I knew him. He also had recently retired from Madison Area Technical College where he had taught the Associate degree Program since I believe 1980. Chuck passed away at home and the department knew that they had to give him full honors for his years of service. It was incredible, 2 churches were packed to the gills and more people were putside. Dozens of pieces of fire apparatus lined the streets. A processions of fire apparatus and firefighters marching accompanied Chuck to the cemetary. The streets were lined with people showing respect for Chuck, a man through both Mount Horeb Fire, and teaching, had touched thousands of lives.
I don't give a flying **** about those that don't understand why we do what we do to honor our dead. We are a family and we need to show that respect, love and caring for our Brothers and Sisters, their families and their Fire Department. Those who choose not to understand will never be convinced it is the right thing so why waste time on them.Crazy, but that's how it goes
Millions of people living as foes
Maybe it's not too late
To learn how to love, and forget how to hate
07-08-2011, 06:54 PM #39
- Join Date
- Jun 2010
I'll try looking deeper into what people are writing in the future, but I think an article like this, meant for the general public, is meant as a surface piece. You can, as you put it, take whatever points you feel like interpreting out of it, I'll take the words written down as published.
I think we all learned early on that being fat does not equate to being healthy, I was talking about real numbers, are all those LODD's for cardiac arrest really from fat guys, are we looking at something as simple as their BMI's? or are we looking at there blood work, body fat percentages, etc?
Also, I do read these threads...but are they really a true representation of the fire service population? If you think so, well then there is no point in belaboring the point about training with you.
I am in no way saying that everybody in the fire service is in top shape and on top of continuous training (let alone the minimum basics), but I'm not going to say that the majority of people in this field run around chest thumping and saying that we deserve a national hero holiday. I think the other is taking the exact opposite approach and saying that the jobs FF's do is glorified. Even if true, who glorifies it...my answer is the media, it's no fault of the man/woman doing this job day in and day out.
Also, didn't mean to belittle your amazing LODD/lawn mowing line by not getting it...you'll have to dumb it down quite a bit for a person like me.
And lastly, you can agree with the as little or as much as what the author is writing (or intending to write) all you want. I'm pretty open to constructive criticism that you can learn from and improve from. But when that criticism is simply meant to be destructive and comes from a person who has most likely never walked into a fire house, I take offense to it.
Last edited by ljm; 07-08-2011 at 07:18 PM.
07-08-2011, 07:59 PM #40
- Join Date
- Jun 2008
At the end of the day, for every one Mutt that writes something like this, there are 1,000 civilians who still appreciate us and the job we do.
07-08-2011, 08:00 PM #41Jason Knecht
Altoona Fire Dept.
IACOJ - Director of Cheese and Whine
EAT CHEESE OR DIE!!
07-08-2011, 08:39 PM #42I don't give a flying **** about those that don't understand why we do what we do to honor our dead. We are a family and we need to show that respect, love and caring for our Brothers and Sisters, their families and their Fire Department. Those who choose not to understand will never be convinced it is the right thing so why waste time on them.
Moyers Corners Firefighters salute the motorcade carrying the body of USMC Cpl. Kyle Schneider as it passes along Route 31 on the way to Baldwinsville.Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.
Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.
07-08-2011, 10:40 PM #43
- Join Date
- Jul 1999
- Rural Wisconsin, Retired from the burbs of Milwaukee
07-08-2011, 10:59 PM #44
07-09-2011, 05:05 AM #45
I always wondered if people like him would feel immense sorrow over the loss of an immediate family member. If they wouldn't, then they ate mentally disturbed and would never understand us anyway. If they would, then they just don't understand our loss. We aren't burying Mary from HR. We are burying a brother, a son, a father, and a best friend. We aren't burying a mail clerk who died from years of mcdonalds. We aren't burying a coworker, but a man that we lived with, ate with, trained with, and fought with. Even if we never met him we still mourn his passing because he is SOMEONE'S brother and therefore a brother of ours. We are up in arms the minute we hear ill spoken words against the brotherhood yet we attack ourselves on a regular basis."I was always taught..." Four words impacting fire service education in the most negative of ways. -Bill Carey
07-09-2011, 08:31 AM #46
- Join Date
- Mar 2011
07-09-2011, 09:32 AM #47
- Join Date
- Aug 2009
- SF Bay Area
Firefighting is dangerous
We intuitively believe this but it is not true according to a recently published article that states "…firefighting as an occupation does not have as many fatalities as other occupations…" (Peterson, 2002 p1). Peterson's conclusion is based in part on a U.S. Department of Labor / Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) study (Clarke and Zak, 1999) that included firefighter fatalities from 1992-1997. When Peterson (2002, p2) used the same statistics procedure on the year 2000 firefighter date, he calculates that "…firefighting is not even in the top 15 occupations in respect to risk of fatal injury."
When we read the articles we knew they were wrong in our gut but the research and statistical facts proved them to be correct. Further examination of the research methodology revealed that the statistical foundation of these conclusions was wrong. The fundamental error is based on the assumption that firefighting is just like any other occupation. Therefore, it can be directly compared to other occupations using the same normalization procedure.
The Peterson article and the BLS study compared death rates per 100,000 employed workers. They derived their output by dividing the total number of fatalities in each occupation by the total number of employed workers. The output was computed by multiplying 100,000 to arrive at the fatality rate per 100,000 workers. What this method assumes is that 100,000 workers in each occupation are equalized and the fatality rate per 100,000 employees can be reported.
With this statistic each occupation can be compared to each other. This method of calculating risk assumes that all occupations are equally at risk. But the procedure does not define "at risk." For example, firefighters have a fatality rate of 18.3 per 100,000 workers and roofers have a fatality rate of 27.5 per 100,000 workers (Clarke and Zak, 1999). When comparing these two fatality rates, it appears roofers are at a higher risk of death on the job, than firefighters.
Occupation/Industry Fatality Rate For 100,000 Employment Index of Relative Risk
All occupations 4.7 1.0
Timber cutting/logging 128.7 27.4
Fishers 123.4 26.3
Water transportation 94.2 20.0
Aircraft pilots 83.3 17.7
Construction laborers 41.1 8.7
Truck drivers 27.9 5.9
Roofers 27.5 5.9
Farming 27.5 5.9
Firefighters 18.3 3.9
Police 14.0 3.0
The critical departure we take from previous firefighter fatality studies is trying to determine when are firefighters or other workers, actually at risk? This question may seem ridiculous but stay with us because answering it will change how firefighter injury and fatality statistics are analyzed.
Is a firefighter at risk when they are in the station washing the fire truck? Is a firefighter at risk when they are eating dinner or sleeping at the station? Is a volunteer firefighter at risk while waiting at home for an emergency call? The answer is no. When is a roofer at risk? This answer is much easier. A roofer is at risk when they are engaged in the job of roofing. So the new concept we are presenting is that "time at risk" of injury or death must be considered when determining the risk factor of any occupation.
Both of us have nailed shingles to a roof at least once but we do not consider ourselves roofers. We apologize to all roofers if we get these next calculations wrong, but we are attempting to illustrate our concept. If I am a roofer I am probably engaged in roofing activities i.e. on the roof, climbing, carrying, cutting, or hammering 6 hours out of every 8-hour day of work. Based on this assumption a roofer is at risk 6 hours out of every 8-hour workday.
Now if our friend the roofer works 6 days a week (we gave him 8-hours overtime) in a 48-hour workweek the roofer is at risk (engaged in doing the job) 36 hours. The hard part of this new concept is figuring out firefighter "time at risk." Is a firefighter at risk when they are on an EMS call? That is a FLSA question, which is beyond this article. Our firefighter assumption is that a firefighter is "at risk" whenever they are on an emergency call. This time period commences when they leave the station, lights and siren and continues until they return to the station, regardless of the type of emergency. Now how do we calculate this considering all the different fire departments from the New York City Fire Department to the Laurel Volunteer Fire Department?
We chose two extremes we have some connection to, Engine 10 in the District of Columbia Fire Department, Washington, DC (the busiest engine company in the U.S.) and the Vigilant Hose Volunteer Fire Department, Emmitsburg, MD (they protect the National Fire Academy). What is the connection? We attended LODD memorial services for firefighters from both companies. (We dedicate this article to firefighters Terry L. Myers VHVFD LODD February 15, 1999 and Anthony S. Phillips Engine 10, DCFD LODD May 30, 1999).
We randomly chose a 48-hour period from 0800hr January 30 to 0800hr February 1, 2003 and calculated the number of hours the companies were at risk. Engine 10 had a total of 37 responses equaling 10 hours of time at risk. The VHFD had 1 response equaling 1 hour of time at risk. The average of the two is 5 1/2 hours (11 divided by 2), which we rounded it to an even 5. We can now use "time at risk" to compare the two occupations. In a 48-hour workweek a roofer is at risk 36 hours and a firefighter is at risk 5 hours. The "time at risk" of the firefighter is ~1/7 (5/36=7.2) that of the roofer or any other occupation engaged in job duties 6 hours out of each 8 hour day of work.
Now lets go back to our risk factors from the Clarke & Zak article. Roofers have a risk factor of 27.5 with 36 hours of time at risk. Firefighters have a risk factor of 18.3 with 5 hours of time at risk. To norm the time at risk for each occupation we need to multiply 18.3 x 7 to get equal hours of time at risk with the roofers (18.3 x 7 equals 128). Firefighter's risk factor per 100,000 workers adjusted for time at risk is 128. This puts firefighters at the top of the fatality risk list equal to timber cutters/logging at 128.
Another interpretation error in the Peterson article is the raw firefighter death counts. In the year 2000 firefighters had 102 LODD, miners had 156, manufacturing had 670. So it looks like firefighting is less dangerous than mining or manufacturing. Again we need to figure out how to norm the work done by each job. Work output is one calculation method. In 2000 we had 1,708,000 fires so we can look at the number of deaths per fire 102/1,708,000 or 1-firefighter LODD for every 16,745 fires or 1/16,745.
Now these fires can range from a 4-alarm blaze, a car fire, food on the stove, or a trash can for our concept it does not matter. Mining is reported in tons of material. So 156 deaths / 6,493,600,000 tons (the amount of material mined in the U.S. in 2000) or 1/4,162,564. The manufacturing occupation recorded 670 deaths with 230,819,501 units* or 1/689,013. Now, based on our research, firefighting can be reported as 41 times more deadly than manufacturing and 248 times more deadly than mining.
The fundamental statistical problem stems from trying to compare firefighting to other occupations, using standard statistical procedures. Standard statistical procedures misrepresent firefighter death and injury statistics. Another major flaw is that volunteer firefighters are not included in some workforce studies, including the BLS article from Clarke & Zak. Only paid firefighters are counted. The fire service needs to be studied under its unique conditions and research boundaries. "Time at Risk" is a critical factor in the fire service that must be included in any comparison to other occupations.
Finally, Peterson's statement (2002, p4) "Unfortunately, there will always be firefighter deaths because of the dynamic work of fire and related emergencies" is as unacceptable as the statement made in 1976 by a company officer "Firefighters have to get killed it is part of the job" (Clark, 1976). In comparison, the airline industry has no acceptable death rate. This is one reason flying is so safe. If one airline passenger was killed every 16,745 flights no one would fly.
The fire service is the most dangerous occupation, career and volunteer, in the U.S. This is a reality. We cannot let statistics tell us different. The death or injury of a firefighter is more than a number. It is a tragedy, that we can prevent. Will we? Will you?
*Manufacturing unit is identified for this article as the total number a cars produced in the US in the year 2000 (9,527,501) and tons of steal produced in the US in 2000 (221,292,000)
• • Firefighting: Risky Business
David M. Ballard has been in the fire service for 12 years. He is currently a Sergeant with the Laurel Volunteer Fire Department, Laurel, Maryland and is a certified Fire Officer I. He is also an Economist with the U.S. Department of Labor / Bureau of Labor Statistics, in Washington, DC. David graduated cum laude from Towson University with a B.S. in Economics.
Dr. Burton A. Clark, EFO is the Management Science Program Chair for the National Fire Academy and Director of an Emergency Support at the Federal Emergency Management Agency. . Burt writes and lectures nationally on fire service research and professional development. If you would like to contact Burton, he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
• • Peterson, David F. (2002) Firefighting: Risky business. Dealing with the risk of emergency response. Firehouse.com
• • Clarke, Cindy and Zak, Mark J. (Summer 1999) Fatalities to law enforcement and firefighters, 1992-97. Office of Safety, Health, and Working Conditions, Bureau of Labor Statistics.
• • Clark, Burton A. (July 1976) I don't want my ears burned. Fire Command p.17 (formerly published by the National Fire Protection Association)
07-09-2011, 10:45 AM #48
babcusar5: thanks for that. It does a great job in pointing out just how skewed statistics can be used to manipulate an outcome. Not to mention, it is just good information to know.
Slackjawed: Nobody is saying tat those; miners, fisherman, etc., can be any less heroic. Every year we read of ordinary individuals rising to extraordinary heights in the face of incredible danger.
The difference is, and it is a very big difference, none of these individuals are in a profession that willingly puts themselves in a position that this is, and can be an everyday occurrence. Even with this fact, it in no way cheapens what any of these other individuals have done.My posts reflect my views and opinions, not the organization I work for or my IAFF local. Some of which they may not agree. I.A.C.O.J. member
"I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them."
Co-author of the Second Amendment
during Virginia's Convention to Ratify the Constitution, 1788
Elevator Rescue Information
07-09-2011, 11:39 AM #49
- Join Date
- Aug 2007
The conclusions of that article is exactly what I was talking about in post #35. Thanks for posting it.
07-09-2011, 12:21 PM #50
- Join Date
- Sep 2010
Thank you for sharing that, bab. That was a great read and I'm glad someone went through the time and effort to put on the research and foresight needed to put together a more detailed and fitting analysis for the job. That was really, really interesting and pokes all kinds of holes through the typical, bland, and skewed analysis.
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