LONG POST WARNING
When events that impact a nation occur, we talk about them. We dissect what occurred, what can be learned, what we would do in the face of something like that event occurring again, or, we digest lessons that can be applied to dissimilar situations in the future. It is a practice that has served this country well. In almost every facet of our everyday lives, we evaluate what has occurred, not only to ourselves but also to those around us. Perhaps you are an accountant in Cedar Rapids who looks at the debacle that is Enron. From it, though your clients may be much smaller and the amounts of money vastly different, you learn a few lessons or evaluate your own practices. You discuss it with your peers because that is what we do. It is natural and healthy. That is business, not life, right.
The Marine Corps and the military suffered a loss of 241 uniformed personnel in Lebanon at a barracks in the eighties. It was a tragedy of epic proportions and people started talking about it. Not only Marines, but also the other services as well. People started evaluating how it occurred, why, and what could be done to prevent it from happening again. Many weighed in on the issue from the civilian side. The Marines did not cry foul. They understood this was an issue that stretched across boundaries. Americans lost their lives. True, it may never occur again, but there were lessons to be learned for the future.
On December 7, 1941, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor thereby bringing the United States into open conflict with Japan and Germany. How did this attack occur? It was studied from the outset and discussed nationwide. What could be done to prevent it from happening again? Many needed a scapegoat and Admiral H. Kimmel was the fall guy. However, there were various reasons and though no attack was expected to occur in the same manner again, the lessons from that were used to train our country for the possibility and it paid dividends in other, smaller, isolated areas.
Last year we suffered an attack on our soil. Many of the bravest lost their lives and worlds were shattered. People talked about it and explored why, from the military to civilians to business people, it happened and what to do in the event of a similar or dissimilar event. There are lessons in every tragedy. The fire service has talked about it. However, much talk has been stifled due to “respect” for those departed. It was understandable. However, in any event of any magnitude, there must be discussion, questions, and answers. Many of these questions and answers are obtuse and without merit. However, if one good question or answer is found among the thousands asked, it is important. The argument arose that only those involved, meaning the department, are the ones who can answer the questions. That argument is weak and suffers from the delusion that the department is infallible. It is true that they themselves must determine what went right and wrong but every department in America has that same right. Perhaps even a duty. It is being done as we speak just as critical reports are being prepared. To try to stifle discussion with cries of respect, sacredness, and “It will not happen again” are arguments born out of fear. Fear of criticism, which is virtually non-existent.
Simply asking a question and answering one does not imply criticism. It is merely what it is. It is an exploration by people in the same business. Though there are critics, it is their right to be able to speak. Enough people can bring any discussion back to credible if given the opportunity. Instead, pleas are sent out and some measure of guilt is implied. That only serves to cement the fact that discussions will occur and they WILL be done so not out of inquiry but frustration. Then the discussions will begin to spiral out of control. That is a time when all of us will regret it.
People speak of these forums as neat and “time killers”. What they fail to realize is the amount of people who look in and what effect they have on the fire service future. I am not talking about people who post—I am talking about those who look in and shake their heads. What is said on these forums has an impact. Deny it if you want, but you are misled. Finally, it is important to note that everyone I know has deep respect and admiration for the department involved. However, they are not perfect and those who treat them as such do them a grave disservice. Respect them? Yes. Just as you respect the small department in South Dakota or the one in Chicago. Admire them? Yes. As you do others. Defer to them? If you are so inclined. Refuse to discuss them? Never.
God rest the souls of those departed.
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Thread: Don't talk about it...
05-02-2002, 10:58 AM #1
Don't talk about it...
05-02-2002, 11:40 AM #2
Amen....One of the best written post I have read.... I would like to make an observation. I believe the way with which we express ourselves is at times detrimental to the idea we are trying to get across. Just like in real life some of us are better than others at expressing ourselves and can be misjudged/read by others. Lets be more tolerant and remember not all criticism is a flame job.
Stay Safe All
05-02-2002, 12:45 PM #3
When people were critical of Houston there was no outcry from there that I saw. It was a discussion, based on respect, that asked why did firefighters die in the McDonalds and why did the Captain die in the high rise. SOme people learned and that is what matters.
05-02-2002, 02:37 PM #4
- Join Date
- Feb 2001
- MI. USA
True as with any incident, It's just that it takes time for all of the answer's. Just my belief is that shall my time come and I am lost in a fire. All I ask that hopefully someone will learn something and that so that it wasn't in vein. It's the only way we get better at our jobs. To me what is the hurry to find all of these answers to what happened? What difference does it make at this point in time? If I was a Batt Chief from Chicago trust me would have already explored several concerns that might occur in light of 9-11-01. Would I be ready for anything NO, will I have a better idea and understanding of say the Sear's Tower Bet your a** I would. However, at this point in time and based on resources afford to all of us even if it happened in our own backyard tomorrow isn't going to change much. I know I am still going to respond in pretty much the same way I have before barring a few exceptions as a result of Sept 11, 2001. More open minded absolutly. More outside of the Box way of thiking you bet. Am I going to have anymore resources then I had before pretty much NO. To be honest even before the attacks if a biological attack happen in my backyard the first due will probably get written off. Today, Am I any better off NO, I am still in the same boat yes. So to discuss what happened in NY and Washington isn't going to make any life altering changes for me anyhow. Washington and NY will present what happen when they are ready. At least in my area even if we had all of the answers to prevent it from happening to us. It would months and maybe years before we would be ready. To be honest I am in no hurry to pass by what happened with the loss of 343 Firefighter's some of the BEST damn Firefighter's and Dad's, Husband's and Brother's were LOST that day. It's still a raw wound for so many not to mention that 162 Brother's are still missing. Just my own thoughts it will be 5 -10 years before we in the fire service could even think to be prepared for what the challenges that The Brother's in FDNY and DC were faced with. Not to mention none of us can every be 100% prepared for the next card dealt to us. What's the hurry? Is everyone ready for another Timothy Mc Veigh? Again just my own 2 cents I believe in first working on taking care of the FDNY Brother's their families and morn the loss of ALL our Brother's first. Before we start searching for answers. To be honest it really doesn't matter to me what happened other then my out of the box thinking was expanded just my thoughts.
GOD BLess FDNY and ALL of the LOST Brother's and their families.
FTM, PTB, RFB
05-02-2002, 02:51 PM #5
JTL -- Well said.
All I can say is that if, God forbid, I were to pass away on a job; I would want the fire service to talk about the incident and learn whatever could be learned from the situation. I would want my Brothers and Sisters to be respectful of my friends and family and their feelings, but at the same time gain as much knowledge as possible so that others could be taught.May we never forget our fallen, worldwide.
I.A.C.O.J. Safety/Traffic Control Officer
"Who's Who Among American Teachers" - 2005, 2006 Honoree
05-02-2002, 03:15 PM #6
FF.1205To be honest I am in no hurry to pass by what happened with the loss of 343 Firefighter's some of the BEST damn Firefighter's and Dad's, Husband's and Brother's were LOST that day. It's still a raw wound for so many not to mention that 162 Brother's are still missing.
Just my own thoughts it will be 5 -10 years before we in the fire service could even think to be prepared for what the challenges that The Brother's in FDNY and DC were faced with.
What's the hurry? Is everyone ready for another Timothy Mc Veigh? Again just my own 2 cents I believe in first working on taking care of the FDNY Brother's their families and morn the loss of ALL our Brother's first. Before we start searching for answers.
Good words Bro!
05-02-2002, 03:21 PM #7
I couldn't disagree with you more. Survival is first on our list. I know you've seen the footage of Kennedy getting shot. Was his wife trying to mourn and comfort him? No, she was trying to crawl out of a moving car.
When we respond to shootings we don't even go in until we have learned that the scene is safe. This scene is not safe, the people who caused our great tragedy are still out there.
Everyone felt the loss on 9-11, there is no argument there. However we owe it to the victims to learn as much as we can as quickly as we can so we can try to avoid this tragedy in the future, be it near or far.
It takes long enough for governments to get something done and you want to wait a little while before they even get started?
05-02-2002, 04:30 PM #8
When events that impact a nation occur, we talk about them. We dissect what occurred, what can be learned, what we would do in the face of something like that event occurring again, or, we digest lessons that can be applied to dissimilar situations in the future.
Tomorrow Engine 40 Ladder 35 and Ladder 32 will bury Mike Lynch.
Life Goes on.ALL GAVE SOME BUT SOME GAVE ALL
NEVER FORGET 9-11-01
CAPT. Frank Callahan Ladder 35 *
LT. John Ginley Engine 40
FF. Bruce Gary Engine 40
FF. Jimmy Giberson Ladder 35
FF. Michael Otten Ladder 35 *
FF. Steve Mercado Engine 40 *
FF. Kevin Bracken Engine 40 *
FF. Vincent Morello Ladder 35
FF. Michael Roberts Ladder 35 *
FF. Michael Lynch Engine 40
FF. Michael Dauria Engine 40
"If my job was easy a cop would be doing it."
05-02-2002, 04:32 PM #9
- Join Date
- Feb 2001
- MI. USA
Learn as much as we can yes.. It was a terriost attack but more importantly to me is what are we doing to protect all of us in the Fire Service now. Such as WMD, security, and a ton of other things that I am sure we have all thought about, do you have a nuke plant in your backyard we have all heard of the threats. What has been done to protect us since Sept. how about biological? Chemical and I mean warfare agents? Want to learn something I will challenge us all to be even more prepared now because that are the real threats us now. Odds of 2 jets flying into most of our backyards are not as likely as before. But cropduster's???? now that's a real threat. Not mention a gamet of other things that I am more worried about we all pretty much know what they are.
In light of these issue's just how ready are you, or me or we?
We need to be pushing the States and Fed's to provide the training and equipment that is going to be a big part of the future required by all of us in the FS. Sure there are things we will all learn just as everyone else will if it happened to us in are own jurisdictions.
I will leave it at that.
GOD Bless FDNY and ALL of the Lost Brother's and their families.
FTM, PTB, RFB
Last edited by FF.1205; 05-02-2002 at 04:42 PM.
05-02-2002, 04:52 PM #10Tomorrow Engine 40 Ladder 35 and Ladder 32 will bury Mike Lynch.
05-02-2002, 04:53 PM #11
We need to have our departments looking at the way we respond to different calls. FDNY's response needs to be reviewed and analyzed and then passed around for all departments to learn from. The Fire Department used to help the police look for bombs on bomb threats. Then someone got a clue, and now we stage at a safe distance to respond after it explodes.
We need to push to learn everything we can to avoid being there when an explosion is eminant. We must use this hindsight and make use of it as foresight. (Ya'll can use that one for free)
05-02-2002, 04:56 PM #12Odds of 2 jets flying into most of our backyards are not as likely as before. But cropduster's???? now that's a real threat. Not mention a gamet of other things that I am more worried about we all pretty much know what they are.
We need to be pushing the States and Fed's to provide the training and equipment that is going to be a big part of the future required by all of us in the FS.
1205 - You make good points and I respect your opinion. God Bless
05-02-2002, 05:23 PM #13
As an addendum to a previous post, here is a link to a letter signed by Deputy Chief Vincent Dunn, FDNY (Retired), an internationally known expert on high rise fires.Letter
Today on the frontpage of Firehouse.com is a small story of a Lt within the department who comments on strategy and tactics.
Firehouse article on WTC
Last edited by JTL; 05-02-2002 at 05:29 PM.
05-02-2002, 05:37 PM #14
- Join Date
- Jan 2002
JTL I see your a writer. What publication do you write for?
05-02-2002, 05:40 PM #15
I don't write "for" a publication. I have written for Fire Engineering, including an article in this months issue, as well as various other journals, etc. My other writing is non fire service related.
I remember you T. I hope that you got the help that you needed. I recall an earlier post by you:
I need some help please. I am having a tough time dealing after 911. I will not talk to the jobs shrinks or group thing. But I might do it online. Is there help out there?
Last edited by JTL; 05-02-2002 at 05:44 PM.
05-02-2002, 05:58 PM #16
- Join Date
- Jul 2001
- Silver City, Oklahoma USA
I’m in the “let’s ask questions now” category.
The longer you wait, the worse memories become and the less people care.
I will not believe anyone who says that there is NOTHING that can be learned from an in depth investigation or inquiry into the fires at the WTC and the subsequent collapse.
We already know everything there is to know about how these areas operated on 9/11?
As far as waiting for the government to step up to the plate...well, let’s think about that.
Our government responds to public will and public opinion. Not exclusively, granted, but the squeaky wheel gets the grease.
Turn on the news today and tell me what you see. Mideast crisis. Robert Blake. The LA Riots ten years later. NATO no longer patrolling US skies with AWAC planes. There’s an interesting one. Fighter patrols ceasing over most of US. Another interesting one.
You see, the media isn’t focusing on 9/11 near as much. They mention it. But where’s that live shot of ground zero? Where’s that scrolling bar at the bottom of the screen listing the numbers still missing and those who are being put to rest?
The media is moving on because many (if not most) of Americans are too. The government is as well, in response to public apathy. No more fighter patrols. No more NATO patrols. The only unified voice I hear over the din is the commercial airline pilots pushing to arm themselves in cockpits. Maybe the fire service should take a few notes, because I don’t see our lobbies doing anything in Washington.
So sit back and wait for the government or “someone else” to do something when “the time is right”. The fire service will being forgotten about (again, and again, and again) until something big happens again. Then we get the people stopping by the station saying how much they appreciate us, we get politicians praising our work....and then it goes back to the way it was before.Bryan Beall
Silver City, Oklahoma USA
05-02-2002, 06:58 PM #17
05-02-2002, 07:19 PM #18Not exclusively, granted, but the squeaky wheel gets the grease
But I agree Silver, good point.
05-02-2002, 10:19 PM #19
First and foremost...Engine 40 Ladder 35...my deepest sympathies that you go through this ordeal once more with several let. My brother Lunch rest in peace and may you find some comfort knowing that he passed on to the biggest engine and ladder company while doing what he loved to do.
JTL...you and I dont agree on a lot of things but this is the best post I have read from you..and I agree with you.
What is important is that we all learn from others misfortunes and hope they dont havppen again. We can never plan for everything...but we can be as prepared as possible and through channels like this is one way. Even though some of the arguments get heated and people like Larry MUCK it up...it is a great tool09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
"Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.
05-02-2002, 11:06 PM #20
Thanks CapStan...Your comments are appreciated because while we disagree on many things at least we can do so in a civil manner.
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