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  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2002

    Default Experts and the Real World

    Having had the great fortune of meeting some top notch fire service people, most of them hard working firefighters, I wonder where people stand on our leaders - the experts. It has always been my contention that there are no experts in the fire service. There are those who are extremely talented and well versed, but no experts

    I am no expert. I have been a firefighter and a fire marshal. I have experienced many things but only 1% of what many have seen. I can offer opinions based on my experiences and what I have attained in a lifetime of personal study of the fire service. However, I am no authority. I have wriitten and been published but that is just a sign of writing ability, not a fire service "expert". In fact, it is the people who do not write but speak through actions that I most admire and that much of my material is derived from. There are far too many on this board who are more learned than I. I am, in the simplest terms, ordinary. I like that. Simple yet willing to learn. I do have opinions and express them quite often. I believe my opinions but I do not expect anyone else to do so.

    The reason I write this is that someone said to me "you think your an expert." Nothing could be further from the truth. I am ordinary and I like it.

    God Bless America

  2. #2
    Forum Member martinm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Northumberland, United Kingdom


    There is an expectation that as firefighters, we have seen & done lots of things that other people would not even like to think about. "Ordinary" people believe that everything is the same & nothing ever changes, therefore as a proffesional body, we are BOUND to know what to do when we are involved in an incident or fire. (The truth, as we all know, is that nothing stays the same, and things change, very rapidly on some occasions).

    To allow someone to call you an expert is to allow them the belief that you are what you are, therefore making their life easier if somthing were to occur!

    A lifetime of doing this job, will NEVER. ever make you an expert, just very well informed. I think there is a big difference. We do this job. because we are trained to & know how to and want to. Not because we, (I), want to be on a pedestal as the "expert"

    I was once told that this job is 1% expertise, 99% common sense. (a far greater qualiification to hold, methinks). How may dead "experts" have you read about in the news??

    Just my opionion.

    Stay safe.


  3. #3
    Senior Member FireFighterMO's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Catatonic State


    I'm going to be an expert soon. I was getting ready to quit my job and go back to school, but now I think I'll just save up my money and watch the mail. You think since we are in the computer age that WSU will start E-Mailing them soon?

  4. #4
    Junior Member JLucky's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Colby, KS

    Default Experts

    Main Entry: 1 expert
    Pronunciation: 'ek-"sp&rt, ik-'
    Function: adjective
    Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French & Latin; Middle French, from Latin expertus, from past participle of experiri
    Date: 14th century
    1 obsolete : EXPERIENCED
    2 : having, involving, or displaying special skill or knowledge derived from training or experience
    synonym see PROFICIENT
    This is the dictionary definition. IMHO,,it all depends on what you are looking for in an "expert". Another definition I have heard and used is anyone who is more than 100 miles from home,knows the subject matter and has the guts to stand in front of a crowd and share it. Do some folks do it better? Hell yeah! People who can command the attention of any group, entertain as well as inform and LEARN something themselves along the way are the REAL experts. Do we have any in the Fire Service?? A definite HELL YEAH!

  5. #5
    Forum Member DaSharkie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2000


    I have always disliked the title of expert. I don't think anyone, in any field: politics, fire science, computers, military, intelligence, etc., because no matter where the topic is, it is always too broad to understand. there is too much for one person to be adept at totally understanding an area of study.

    Now, I have begun to use the word specialist, not to be politically correct, because am damned sure not PC, but because it is accurate to describe the person's position. They concentrate on an area of study adn become specialized in it.

    Excellent point though. How can I know all there is to know about firefighting when there is so much to this job to understand and be able to recall. It's nuts. I'm sure Vinny Dunn, and Frank Brannigan, and John Norman would say that all of thier books are just full of information that they have acquired and felt a need to pass on, and would probably denounce the title of being an expert.
    "Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like." Will Rogers

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  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2002



    If you believe that there are experts, so be it. I respect your opinion. I happen to disagree. The definition you use is not comparable to that of what many claim to be experts in. However I defer to the definition provided. I think anyone who considers themself an expert has closed a portion of their mind for further debate.

    Da Sharkie

    Excellent point. How can anyone person claim to be an expert in any one field. If someone is a fire service expert then that means that they have acquired all skills necessary for ALL firefighting evolutions, management, etc. Just does not happen.

  7. #7
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    No. Providence R.I. : Land of the "How ya doins"


    When I started in the fire service, my uncle who was on the Providence
    Fire Dept. for 34 years the bulk of them in the "War Years" of the 60's and 70's on the busiest co's in the city gave me one line of advice. "Always pay attention and learn, the day you stop learning is the day you should retire because you'll hurt or kill someone." Point being that this job always evolves with new techniques and strategies. If you don't adapt you will become a dinosaur fast. So how can become an "expert" if the field is everchanging?

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