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  1. #1
    Dalmatian90 Guest

    Angry What a college education for firefighters

    “Firefighters do their job because they have a certain amount of brawn and courage,” she (Barbara Anderson of Citizens for Limited Taxation said, “things they probably don't need an education for.”

    Article at:

    Ms. Anderson's group at:

  2. #2
    ENGINE18-3 Guest


    Well then I guess to ms. anderson I've just wasted 2 years of my life here at Oklahoma State and I'll waste the next 2-3 years of my life at the University of New Haven! Oh well won't the 'Treasury Department' be glad to hear that such an expert said this!

    The statements above are my own opinions

    FF Greg Grudzinski
    Oaklyn Fire Dept.
    Station 18-3

  3. #3
    FyredUp Guest


    Obviously a woman who has spent countless hours researching the modern day fire service.

    What a joke. Does she think uneducated goons can do this job? What about haz-mat? What about EMS? What about tech rescue? What about fire prevention and inspections? Let alone the ever changing technology involved in fire fighting and the accompanying equipment.

    Of course people with a certain amount of brawn and courage are needed to do this job. But what we don't need is a bunch of uneducated muscleheads.

    I certainly hope someone rebutted this woman in whatever forum was appropriate because she knows not of what she speaks.

    Take care and stay safe,


    By the way I went to Barbara Anderson's web site and sent the following letter to her:

    Ms Anderson,

    I am a career firefighter. I have an Associate Degree in Fire Science, several State and National Certifications in the Fire Service area as well as State Certficication as an Emergency Medical Technician. All of this education has helped prepare me for the career I have chosen.

    I found your comments “Firefighters do their job because they have a certain amount of brawn and courage, things they probably don't need an education for.” insulting and totally lacking in understanding of what makes up today's fire service. While of course courage and strength are important elements necessary for the job of firefighting, the job is much more than that today. Would you want an uneducated musclehead dealing with a hazardous materials release? Or running your fire inspection bureau? Or your fire prevention education program? Or your technical rescue program that includes high level rope rescue, confined space rescue, water rescue or any number of other rescue problems? Let alone the ever changing world of firefighting and the high tech equipment that goes with it. And on top of that, add emergency medical service. Let me ask you this, would you want someone with a "certain amount of brawn and courage,” administering intravenous drugs to patients in the field, or doing other emergency medical procedures. I can't believe for a second you honestly believe these are “things they probably don't need an education for.”

    I hope you can find time to go to a firehouse and find out what makes up the job today. It isn't just fighting fires anymore. In fact many of those other tasks I listed above are the lion's share of the job in a majority of the country.

    By the way, I don't happen to live in Massachusetts. I live in Wisconsin and I wish my state would be this progressive and pass a measure like this.

    [This message has been edited by FyredUp (edited 02-22-2001).]

  4. #4
    FFTrainer Guest


    I guess Ms. Anderson doesn't realize that Brawn and Courage alone will do nothing but increase your potential for injury at a fire scene. Only with Brawn, Courage and KNOWLEDGE can we succeed in our day to day duties of serving as FF's.

    I guess I'll shred my college degree when I get home tonight!! I'm sure that's exactly what my parent's would expect from me as an 'uneducated' FF!!

    I guess ignorance really is bliss for some??

  5. #5
    fflynn17 Guest


    I guess that whatever college Ms. Anderson attended did not teach her to think!!

    The most important tool any firefighter brings to the scene is his/her brain, and the ability to use it.

    The opinions expressed above are my own, and not necessarily those of any company or department I am affiliated with.

  6. #6
    Lewiston2Capt Guest


    I guess all those times that I had to use my brain on a fire scene were figments of my imagination. That 4 year degree is completely useless.
    I have witnessed what courage and brawn without knowledge on a fire scene can do and it is dangerous. Where do we hope to draw the leaders of tomorrow from if we have a bunce of uneducated fire fighters.
    Thank you Fyred Up for putting together such an eloquent arguement.

    $0.02 from a trained gorilla.

  7. #7
    firetrucker Guest


    I'll tell my parents tonight that the hundered thousand dollars they spent on my education is a big waist and that there really was no need form dad to refinace his house.......... They should be pleased I really pleased to find out I waisted 5 years of my life.

  8. #8
    S. Cook Guest


    For 29 years, Texas has exempted firefighters from paying tuition at state colleges (e.g. A&M) as long as they are working towards a fire science degree.

    Legislation s currently pending to expand this to volunteers.

    For you Texans, from the Texas Education Code:

    § 54.208. Firemen Enrolled in Fire Science Courses

    The governing boards of the state institutions of collegiate rank supported in whole or in part by public funds shall exempt from the payment of tuition and laboratory fees any person who is employed as a fireman by any political subdivision of the state and who enrolls in a course or courses offered as part of a fire science curriculum. The exemption provided does not apply to deposits which may be required in the nature of security for the return or proper care of property loaned for the use of students.

    Added by Acts 1971, 62nd Leg., p. 3345, ch. 1024, art. 2, § 16, eff. Sept. 1, 1971.

    [This message has been edited by S. Cook (edited 02-22-2001).]

  9. #9
    iwood51 Guest


    Originally posted by firetrucker:
    I'll tell my parents tonight that the hundered thousand dollars they spent on my education is a big waist and that there really was no need form dad to refinace his house.......... They should be pleased I really pleased to find out I waisted 5 years of my life.
    Have to agree, it must have been a WASTE to spend a HUNDRED thousand dollars, and no need FOR Dad to REFINANCE his house. Perhaps you should go back and retake English 101.

    Not to pick on you, I just find it aggravating that people spout so much about having such high levels of education, and then either, can't spell, or don't take the time to look at what they write.

    P.S. There's a spell-check function that you can hit before you post. Please use it.

  10. #10
    Captain Gonzo Guest


    Barbara Anderson and her cohorts at Citizens for Limited Taxation are absolutely clueless when it comes to public safety issues. Their support for and the passage of Proposition 2 1/2 in the early 1980's decimated many fire departments, which laid off personnel when they could not raise funding because of the limits of the tax cap measure.

    I fired off a e-mail to the CLT website, and I urge my brothers and sisters to do the same...after all...when they are in trouble, who are they gonna's not's us!

    Firefighters: rising under adverse conditions to accept the challenge!
    Captain Gonzo

  11. #11
    FyredUp Guest



    I got a response from Barbara Anderson to my e-mail.

    Just wondering if you did also.


  12. #12
    Captain Gonzo Guest


    I did receive a reply..funny, the format of her reply reminded me of someone from the Western US who posts on these forums...

    She said she was missing some vital information about this topic, so I emailed her a reply with some information. You would think that a public figure would at least try and get some information about a subject before voicing an opinion!

    Firefighters: rising under adverse conditions to accept the challenge!
    Captain Gonzo

    [This message has been edited by Captain Gonzo (edited 02-23-2001).]

  13. #13
    pyroknight Guest


    The following is the content of my email to Ms. Anderson at the website in question.

    The next time you step up in a public forum and open that orifice inferior to your nose you should probably attempt to educate YOURSELF first. If you had done the LEAST amount of research you would have discovered that the modern fire service is a dynamic profession that demands not only the physical stamina and intestinal fortitude that you mentioned, but also an incredible amount of cognitive skill. As a firefighter, paramedic, hazardous materials technician, special rescue technician, instructor, and nursing student with a bachelors degree I am insulted by your assertion that firefighters are somehow unworthy of receiving your state's tax dollars for educational purposes. In the future if you cannot manage to express yourself with anymore intelligence than your last quotation demonstrated, I would highly recommend that you abstain from exhibiting your ignorance.

    Mike Branum
    Castle Rock, Colorado

    This lady would be the first one screaming to reporters if she ever had an emergency and the fire crews showed up with anything less than the latest technology and know-how. Yeesh!

  14. #14
    pyroknight Guest


    iwood I REALLY hope firetrucker did that on purpose. If not, I hope he let's us think that anyway!

  15. #15
    Hamy91 Guest

    Thumbs down

    I sent this to Ms. Anderson and it pretty much speaks for itself.

    Ms. Anderson,

    I am a proud member of the United States Air Force. I have been for almost three years. I was a volunteer firefighter for approximately four years prior to joining the military. I have a combined experience of seven years as a firefighter. Volunteer firefighting and career firefighting are two very different worlds and I have experienced both. I must say that it is very bold of you to state that I do not need an advanced education to provide those services.

    I would ask you the same question that I ask of anyone who doubts any aspect of the fire service. How safe and secure would you feel to know that the people responding to your home at 4:30 am, for a house fire , have little to no education? What if one of your loved ones becomes injured or ill and the personnel on the ambulance have not completed the 120 hour BASIC EMT course?

    The United States Government has spent a grand total of over $50,000 on my BASIC firefighting education. I have completed a four month extensive training program to receive Firefighter Level II certification, Hazardous Materials Operations, Airport Rescue Firefighting, and Emergency Medical First Responder training. These are the levels that the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) RECOMMENDS firefighters be trained to. The United States Air Force adopted NFPA as law, so we are REQUIRED to obtain those certifications just to become a firefighter apprentice. As I stated before that education cost the government $50,000.

    Since I graduated the Louis F. Garland Fire Academy, at Goodfellow AFB, I have become an EMT-Basic, Driver Operator for both structural and airport firefighting vehicles, rescue technician, and I hold two instructor certifications for Self-Aid Buddy Care and Certified First Responder. This may not seem that impressive but I just turned 22 last month.

    There are several personnel above me that have far more extensive training than I currently hold and it has taken some over a decade to achieve it. Not because they were incompetent but because there is so much training to obtain. See below:

    Apprentice: Firefighter II, Hazardous Materials Operations, ARFF, Basic First Aid and CPR.

    Journeyman: Driver Operator Structural and ARFF

    Other Courses Required to Advance:
    Fire Officer I, II, III, and IV
    Fire Inspector I, II, and III
    Fire Instructor I, II, and III
    Hazardous Materials Awareness
    Hazardous Materials Technician
    Emergency Medical Technician (Basic, Intermediate, Critical Care, Paramedic)
    Rescue Technician
    Driver Operator of several other vehicles (aerial apparatus, etc)

    The above is just to name a few. It is also required for personnel to attend continuing education courses to keep some of their certifications current. Please don't confuse the fact that because I am in the military that these certifications only apply to military personnel. These are certifications that ALL firefighters need to do their daily job of keeping their fellow citizens safe.

    My point, Ma'am, is that if the government feels that educating me is important in safe guarding military assets and the lives of my fellow service members why shouldn't you hold the same opinion for yourself and your neighbors?

    I must admit that I was very angry to read your comments concerning our education and the fact that you hold the opinion that money is wasted on it. Ask a family that has lost everything they own in a residential wait. Ask the residents of Amity, PA, Mansfield, CT, Ashton, Ill, Marion County, FL, or Redwood City, CA if they feel their tax dollars are wasted on firefighter's education. In case you are wondering why I have chosen those specific areas they are the towns and cities where firefighters have DIED in the line of duty for the month of February. I don't think that they would be that upset over it.

    People put their lives in the hands of doctors everyday. They trust them to do a thorough job and no one thinks twice because they know that to receive the title of doctor they must have years and years of higher education. If any of my family members needed the services of a fire department I would want, no I would ensure, that they had the best education available. I would want them to be able to do everything possible to save a life.

    I hope that you do not view this as an attack but more as an education in what is needed for us to do our job everyday. Thank you for your time.


    FIrefighters are the chosen people.

    My views do not reflect that of my department or the United States Air Force

  16. #16
    jimthefireman Guest


    I e mailed Ms Anderson as (obviously) did a few others. She indicated that New Zealand was thus far the farthest complaint she had recieved but she fully expected to get one from Antartica the way things were going! What about it people? Do we know any Firefighters in Antartica who might like to help put this lady straight?

    Jim Maclean MIfireE
    New Zealand

  17. #17
    comwhite Guest


    I would imagine that Ms. Anderson is lacking in good ol' common sense. I'm a firm believer in higher education for ANY occupation. Courage and brawn are wonderful qualities, but I've seen a small 120 pound woman standing on the line fighting a fire, and I've seen a 260 pound man that had to be told what to look for when sent after a tool.

    It would interesting to note what Ms. Anderson would do if her house were burning and in ran a wrestler.

  18. #18
    iwood51 Guest


    Hamy91, awesome e-mail that you sent her.

    Jimthefireman, there was a guy posting on here a while back using the 'handle' Turbotim' that was with the Antartica fire department, who was there in the winter of 1999 and 2000. I don't know if he's going to be there this winter, normally starting around April.

    Check out

    Interesting facts and figures about Antartica FD. If his home page is still functional, he had quite a few pictures.

    [This message has been edited by iwood51 (edited 02-23-2001).]

  19. #19
    E_man9RFD Guest


    Some people just don't get it, do they? I also visited their website and mailed them a letter. I also encouraged them to visit this site and see just how many of us she irked.

    Eng. Co. 9

    "In all of us there are heroes... speak to them and they will come forth."

    "In order for us to achieve all that is demanded of us, we must regard ourselves as greater than we are."

  20. #20
    DRA-252 Guest

    Thumbs down

    That website indicates a general dissatisfaction with taxes and government. I doubt any opposing view or even cold facts would do more to change her mind. She is an example of many people today that want everything but don't want to pay for it. Her ignorance is her "drug" and she just wants to have more of it. The insults to firefighters are just a way to stir up an issue.

    What we firefighters need to do is ignore responding to her and concentrate on making sure our leaders do not succumb to those tactics and support all public servants, paid and volunteer, for the job we do!

    [This message has been edited by DRA-252 (edited 02-23-2001).]

  21. #21
    hfdfao Guest


    Being from the great state of Massachusetts and the President of my Local, I felt duty bound inform Ms. Anderson of the error of her ways........

    Needless to say Ms. Anderson is not interested in the facts, she is interested in presenting her own warped opinion with complete disregard for the real issue.

    She informed in her reply that she meant her statement as a compliment, and she had no concerns that if her house was on fire, that the jakes in her town were more than prepared to put it out.

    Since I strongly believe in the bill that is being filed, I have decided not to honor Ms. Anderson with a reply, 'cause she ain't listening anyway.

    Keep up the emails brothers, tell her exactly the way it is.....


    In Memory of those who have passed before us, may their loss not be in vain........

  22. #22
    Ledbelly Guest


    Here's what I had to say to the lady...

    Attn: Barbara Anderson,
    I take great offense at remarks in the Telegram that were attributed to you, i.e. “I’m not sure what it has to do with firefighting… firefighters do their job because they have a certain amount of brawn and courage… things they probably don’t need an education for….” I am a career firefighter (15+ yrs) in Midland, TX and yes, even I have seen evidence of your statements. Without recounting a whole litany of my education and certifications, I will say that among them I am certified as a Master Firefighter, have nearly 140 college hours, an Associate Degree in Fire Science and a Texas Department of Health (TDH) paramedic license. I was eligible for licensure because of the number of college hours and courses that I possess.

    Recently, the TDH paramedic certification was revamped to become a two-year college-based program. The TDH deemed it necessary and beneficial that the previous one-year program include a number of prerequisite and complimentary classes.

    You have already received a number of emails emphasizing the importance of education in the numerous and varied fields that fire departments are now required to mitigate. I would also suggest to you, as any CEO would recognize, that educated employees make a more valuable, dedicated, disciplined and versatile workforce. It is no different in the fire service. One hundred years ago, firefighters probably were selected solely because of their stamina, brawn and courage but that is hardly the case today, no more so than a horse-drawn piece of apparatus is an appropriate response to a major conflagration.

    To extrapolate your remarks, why would a surgeon need to know any more anatomy than that of an accomplished hunter? Why should an auto mechanic exhibit anything besides a certain dexterity with hand tools? What else but imagination and a proclivity for neat and precise drawings is required of an engineer or architect? In your view, scientists would need no more than a desire to be alchemists.

    I will accept your premise that we are burdened with taxes, whether in Massachusetts or Texas. Unfortunately, that is the government we have made for ourselves and that continues to perpetuate itself. I know only too well their influence on my salary, which is in effect, held hostage by the very taxes we all pay.

    However, we are promoting the professionalism of the fire service with education, above and beyond that which may be required to perform the basic “brawn” of our job, at least as you would define it. We are at times: managers and supervisors, neighborhood priests and psychologists, chemical and medical detectives, building engineers and repairmen, politicians and reporters, budgetary planners and purchasers, law enforcement officers and expert witnesses, code enforcers and inspectors, risk management and safety actuaries, apparatus designers and specification artists, fire prevention educators and tourguides, thermodynamic scientists and hydraulic engineers, PTSD sufferers and critical incident debriefers, husbands and wives, parents, brothers and sisters. Your remarks exhibit an unseemly lack of education on your part and are a deplorable insult to the integrity of the women and men who would risk their lives to save yours.

    Watch yer topknots,

  23. #23
    Ledbelly Guest

    Thumbs up

    BTW... Hamy91... that WAS an excellent email. Bit more reserved than mine... still just as true.

  24. #24
    Hamy91 Guest


    Ms. ANderson has not replied to my e-mail and I do not think that she is going to.


    FIrefighters are the chosen people.

    My views do not reflect that of my department or the United States Air Force

  25. #25
    pyroknight Guest


    Don't feel bad Hamy91, she may not have replied, but her group is recycling it! I received this email with a copy of your email attached:

    Hi Mike:

    Following your letter (below), is a letter from a firefighter who knows how to try winning friends and support. You might take a lesson from that twenty-two year old gentleman. It could further your position instead of alienating your audience. Just a positive suggestion.

    By the way, how much did you pay in Massachusetts state taxes as your entrance fee into this debate? (When you're subject to taxation you then get representation.) Does Colorado provide its own version of our "Quinn" law to your state's police officers and firefighters?

    Best of luck.

    Chip Ford --
    Director of Operations
    Citizens for Limited Taxation

    And my reply:


    I do not need you as a friend and the last time I checked did not need your support. If Ms. Anderson had done her research in the first place I would never have had any reason to know who your little group of Massachusetts tax reform crusaders were and I would not have had any reason to correspond with you at all. Unlike most professions, firefighters, as a general rule, still take great pride in the performance of their duties and have a tendency to band together as a brotherhood. When one makes disparaging remarks about me and my brothers, I take offense. I do not have to be a citizen of any particular state to comment, because in the United States we still have a little thing called free speech which allows me to comment upon ignorance when I observe it, ESPECIALLY when that ignorance is on public display. If you do not want the blabbering of your cohorts commented upon, you should advise them to refrain from making an *** of themselves in front of representatives of the media. I am not soliciting your representation and was not entering into the debate over how your tax dollars are spent. My comments were directed to the weak attempt to justify your position against the spending by portraying today's firefighter as an oaf who has no need for higher education. The next time your organization wishes to make a statement against a particular spending proposal, I suggest you either select a representative who is or will become informed on the matter at hand or make no statement at all. Just a positive suggestion.

    Mike Branum
    Over-educated Firefighter
    Castle Rock, CO

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