1. #251
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    My apologies to you Artie, I should have specified publicly as I have no means of knowing the contents of private emails. My references in my post were intended for the public statements made on these forums.

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    Someone get the LT a BEER

    Huge call Artie.

    Loud clapping and cheering was heard coming over the horizon from the land of flightless birds.

    The hand of friendship changes more minds than the sword of hate.
    (and you can quote me on that.)
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    Look at three of your friends, if they are ok, your it.

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    Thumbs up

    And yes, Kiwi is right, you should be commended for your very civil offer.

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    To those who seem all to eager to take Mr. Gantenbeins side...I'll agree with you in only that he is entitled to his opinion.

    However it seems there are still some that keep insisting that no one has offered an argument to the contrary of this one man’s perception…well here goes.

    What is an opinion worth if it is not based on accurate knowledge? How can a man be respected for an uninformed opinion? I agree his article wasn't poorly edited as I could find no spelling or grammatical errors...it was however poorly researched. And he generalizes so much that it exposes how limited his knowledge of the fire service really is. While there may be low standards for this board. (Hell, even I can write my thoughts here.) A reporter or writer as a matter of journalistic integrity and standards must hold him or herself to a higher standard when publishing OP/ED pieces. If we are professionals in the fire service then so should he be in journalism.

    Statistically speaking he only looked at fatalities...he should have also looked to injury rates and severity of those injuries...although that probably wouldn't have supported his claims about what a cake walk this job is, so he just left that out I guess. I know many more guys who have been injured and burned (severely in some cases) than killed. I don't know many pizza delivery drivers that get sent to the hospital at least a few times a year as a matter of routine. Also it is an accepted fact that despite the decrease in fires the rate at which firefighters die per fire has maintained the same level and has not shown any evidence of decreasing.

    An opinion that insinuates that myself and my brothers of being opportunistic, dishonest, greedy & lazy among other things without substantial proof is uncalled for.

    According to his bio he spent less than 4 months with some wild land FF's somewhere in the Northwest...in my firehouse you are still the junior man with less than 5 years. I imagine if a proby with 4 months came in to the kitchen of your firehouse and opened his mouth with all his "months of experience" behind him you'd tell him to quite down and go over the rig again. I’ve been a firefighter for going on 8 years and I sure as hell don’t know everything. Looking back…at 4 months I didn’t even have a clue.

    He completely mischaracterizes the need for members to take up second or even third jobs! I have 3 part-time endeavors on the side just to make ends meet. A proby in my dept with a wife and two children is eligible for food stamps. And this isn't the only dept I've worked for with similar circumstances...I'm sure this is true for most Firefighters out there.

    While the schedule whether it is the 24-48(which in 8 years and 4 different depts. I have never worked) the Berkley 56hr. Or a 25 group-40hr/wk chart has its advantages...it also has its disadvantages. The days off, if not catching up on sleep that was missed the night before I must take care of all that personal stuff that most people take care of every night. Any fireman who is a father will tell you what a pleasure it is to miss out on many of his child’s sporting events. And just ask any fireman’s wife who must take care of the children many nights without the assistance of her husband. Ask any child that grew up without seeing their father every third day.

    As for “making it easy” to take a pension at 20 years! That might be the most absurd statement of all! As all of us know…firefighting takes a toll on the body. This is a young mans job and 20 years of 3 am fires that require all your physical strength begins to wear a man down. Smoke, Burns, Haz-Mat, Hep-C, HIV are all risks that might not only affect the firefighter but even his loved ones. Many guys would love to stay on past 20 yrs…however the physical demands and health concerns drive them out to find easier work with less hours and less chance of ending up in a hospital gurney or pine box! It is still a fact that our life expectancy after retirement is less than most if not all other occupations. A rather sobering thought that this writer failed to address.

    And as for an interest group...I'm not sure why he feels on stating this but then continuing on about unrelated subjects such as a FD/PD incident in Seattle and the completely inaccurate account of 9-11 body recoveries...he must have taken a page out of William Langewiesche's book of journalism which states you can write down any unsubstantiated claim, hearsay or belief as a matter of fact!

    Was he in the pile himself or is this some fictionalized account he has created in his head?

    As for 4-5 runs per shift...If you split my 24 hr period in fourths you might get 4-5 runs. The other night we did 4 runs after 0000hrs. There are many FDs out there who are not in big cities that run as much if not more. Are there slow FDs out there...sure, good for them, but to characterize the whole nation of Career FDs as sitting on their asses 23 out of 24 hours is irresponsible and inaccurate at best.

    How many battles or wars must a solider endure, how many bullets must he take before the society recognizes him as a so-called “hero”?? Firefighters go to war on a daily basis across this great country, yet it would seem not often enough for Mr. Gantenbein!!! I personally don’t view myself or want to be considered a hero…however to attack us for being called heroes by civilians is absurd at best. Apparently the public at large regards firefighters and soldiers in the same light and only requires one to go to war once…for it only takes once to get killed…just ask the families of the probationary firefighters who have died on their 1st run.

    Yes we grill because we have to eat...we also microwave when we have our meal interrupted. We cook together because it is cheaper than eating out every night. There is nothing wrong with eating is there? Just because we grill doesn’t make this job one big picnic! The manner in which he presents the fact that we occasionally grill makes little sense when one looks to his argument that many firemen die from heart attack...True but isn't grilling chicken more healthy than frying burgers???

    We give tours to kids and teach them fire safety so hopefully I don't have to remove their lifeless body from under their beds as they hide from the fire. I work in a Company that does over 3000 runs a year and I still find time to teach stop drop and roll as a matter of duty and responsibility to the citizens. Nowhere is it written in the contract that I must give a tour to a child or teach them fire safety, but we do it anyway because none of us wants this kid to get him/herself killed in a fire.

    The most disgusting and revolting statement had to be in regards to
    the funerals. As any funeral the service is more for the benefit of the living than that of the dead. I am not a Martyr and nowhere is it written that I am to give my life in the line of duty...however in the performance of duty should this occur...it has been tradition for the city and the brothers to recognize the sacrifice that was made for others well-being. This has more to do with many sociological and psychological needs of the community and individuals than the firemen themselves who in my experience leave such academic arguments and discussions to the scholars in universities. Because it makes no difference to us at a fire what the social implications of our job are…it can’t because the fire will burn regardless of altruistic notions or otherwise.

    While I welcome anyone to write their thoughts down here or anywhere I also think that there is a higher standard to which a person such as Mr. Gantenbein must hold himself.

    The conclusions must be supported with the facts presented...he fails to present a convincing case. I'm not sure where those of you that agree with him find much if any truth to the article when looked at as a whole. He does little more than bitch and moan about an organization he knows little about and his attitude as shown in the response to Lt229s letter shows that he isn't very open minded or even remotely interested in a quest for the truth. He states himself "It's possible I'd change some points of view, but perhaps not enough to make it worthwhile." This undermines his credibility and demonstrates that he is even less of a writer than he is a firefighter (or whatever he claimed to do for those 4 looooong months)

    And unlike most OP/ED pieces one would find in a major daily newspaper this writer offered only supposed problems and no solutions. He offers no evidence on why any of the supposed facts would support the negative slant of the article.

    I would be ashamed to work in a FD whose base motivations are as they were presented in this article.

    It must be unfortunate for those who agree with Mr. Gantenbein's opinion because they see many parallels between his view of the fire service and their Fire Department. His view isn't the Fire Department I knew yesterday, know today or see tomorrow. I would be ashamed if I worked in a place that even began to resemble this mans conception of the fire service.

    This job is not cushy, there is no glamour to this job it is dirty, dangerous, grueling work and for a civilian who has never made a hallway to infer otherwise is laughable and insulting.

    FTM-PTB
    Last edited by FFFRED; 11-07-2003 at 06:29 PM.

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    Fred.....that was AWESOME!

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    FRED........ What a fantastic rebuttal to the article in question. You obviously put a lot of time and thought into your post. Thank you for posting an ACCURATE accounting of what we do, some more than others, but we are still on the same team.
    To the world you might be one person, but to one person you just might be the world.

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    GO WHITE SOX!!!!!

  7. #257
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    Default Why?

    After getting my blood up and exchanging terse but civil emails with Mr. Gantenbein, it struck me that no one had asked why was this article was written...so I went to the source and asked: this is the email I sent and the reply I got:

    Chuck:

    The why is hard to answer. Simple news cycle played a part in it. Plus, it was a topic that I'd been giving thought to for some time. So I really didn't just sit down and decide to rip firefighters.

    I will point out that athletes and others are regularly ripped, derided and chastised. Also recipients of unfair praise. On balance, I'd say FF come out pretty well.

    dg

    Douglas Gantenbein

    -----Original Message-----
    From: chuck xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    Sent: Friday, November 07, 2003 4:38 AM
    To: Douglas Gantenbein
    Subject: RE: RE your article on firefighters on Slate.com


    I just have one last question and I am going to leave this alone, because in all the angry retoric I am not sure anyone has asked you this....why? Why was the fire service specifically targeted? The police department is regularly assaulted with accusations of brutality, sometimes true, sometimes not; they have just as powerful and just a vocal union as the fire service does, work just as many sideline jobs as firefighters do, and when one of their members fall, the ceremony is pretty much the same as the fire service one that you seem to find offensive. Why not them?
    Professional athletes and actors do nothing more for society than provide entertainment for society, and are regularly called heroes by an adoring public. They make obscene amounts of money for doing so, yet still manage to get wrapped up in rape scandals, DUI's, drug incidents, assaults, and murder. Why no outcry about these individuals being called heroes?

    Also a reminder: the small town physician you mentioned in your article? I work in a small town. I applaud the work these physicians do, and know some personally. But if you are having a heart attack at home and call that physician's office, you know what he is going to tell you to do? Hang up, dial 911 and call for an ambulance staffed by, you guessed it...firefighters.

    I was just curious with what motivated this article in the first place, and after this you will never hear from me again. Because ultimately, the determination of whether I am a hero or not in your eyes or anyone else's doesn't matter to me; as long as I am a hero to my children, that is all the validation I need.

    CY

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    Lady,, I am not bashing you, but respectfully disagreeing. Sometimes we fall overbackwards trying to see through other peoples eyes.

    Originally posted by LadyCapn
    A few last words if I may and then I am finished here........
    4. As sacred as our tradition for burial ceremony is, please remember it is OUR tradition. This is a cermony we provide in order to pay our respects,say goodbye to a brother or sister, support the family and any other reason we may wish to use, but again there is no law that says this must be done. If this causes inconvenience to some we have to accept the fact that they have that right to complain. Again, this is not our right simply because we are a member of the fire service. We may ask that people respect our traditions, we may not demand it.
    From the Article
    Firefighters have excellent propaganda skills. Firefighters play the hero card to its limit. Any time a big-city firefighter is killed on duty, that city will all but shut down a few days later while thousands of firefighters line the streets for a procession. In July 2001, I witnessed the tasteless spectacle of Washington state firefighters staging a massive public display to "honor" four young people killed in a forest fire (one absurd touch: hook-and-ladder rigs extended to form a huge arch over the entrance to the funeral hall). For the families of the four dead firefighters—three of whom were teens trying to make a few bucks for college—the parade, the solemn speeches, and the quasi-military trappings all were agony. "It's just the firefighters doing their thing," one bystander said to me later with a shrug.
    Doug did not chose to complain about the inconvenience, he ACCUSED us of using LODD funerals as propoganda for our cause. There is a huge difference. He ACCUSED us of "playing the hero card to the limit". It may be his opinion, but it shows a tremendous amount of disrespect, especially following so close after we lost one of our own. A brother he chose to mention by name in his article. I'll agree respect is earned, but I think a Brother that died doing his job has earned it.

    I sent comments to Douggie boy and posted them on Slate. I did not bash him, I did "scold" him for being dishonorable, and disrespectful. I also tried to fill in his informational blanks. I never received a response from him. So be it. I wish I was able to explain my views as well as Fred did, although it may not have mattered.

    Be Safe,

    Dave

  9. #259
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    Default my post on slate

    I agree, I am not a hero. However, if firefighters are not heroes, then who are? I disagree with the statement that we are idolized. If we were that respected, would I get flicked off every time while directing traffic at an accident scene?

    Tours to school kids are very important, who else teaches them how to call 911?
    What's wrong with a grilled burger? We need to eat sometimes too.
    Washing trucks is a part of preventive maintenance. We need to make sure all equipment works at all times. Not to mention we need to make what we have last, since fire budgets are pathetic.
    I can almost guarantee any calendar sold benefits the department somehow. The money needs to come from somewhere, like I said before; our budgets don't allow all necessary purchases.
    Working 24 hours with 48 off works out to a standard 40 hour week. What's wrong with this, many others in different professions have another job.
    Please let me know where you found your statistics, I would like to review them.

    You are an example of ignorance. Maybe I'll write an article on news writers who make absurd claims and obviously do not make any efforts to support their arguments.

    And besides, if we don't look out for our interests, who else will? Certainly not you!

    Don't plan on a Pulitzer in this lifetime.

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    Heroes.....We are there in waiting never knowing how when or why....When we respond we never know what lies ahead. Oh yes we plan and train for that day but when it happens it is never like we thought or hoped,its never when we are ready or when we have complete control.
    Yet without question we succeed more times than not.
    WE ARE HEROES IN WAITING 24/7.

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    Well, I read this article after it was a day or so old. So I'm only getting to the forums to post my opinion now. I don't agree with the way that the author presented this article, especially with his references to LODD funerals and such. That was tasteless and made me sick to my stomach. I read through some of the posts, and have seen a few posts off Slate.com. I have to say, that some of the firefighters that posted have disgraced the fire service, and serve to validate points that the author made. Some people have chosen to "fly off the handle" and rip into this guy without stopping to think how this will affect everyone else. Remember, this guy is a REPORTER. Things that you say or do can be reported in newspapers, TV, websites, etc. Believe me, when I first read his article, I wanted to show him what the bottom of my desert tan boot looked like, up close and personal. I thought about it though, read through the article again, and tried to take his perspective. Remember, this guy is not a firefighter; he doesn't see the things we do day in, day out. His article is evidence of that. Yes, this means he's reporting on something he doesn't know about. But it also means that he's reporting from the outside, a perspective that everyone has that hasn't been a firefighter or known one. Take a second, and think about how we may look to someone that doesn't know. Yes, to some, a 24 on, 48 off schedule may seem like cake, but they don't see what we do during those 24 hours on. We may have a call that only takes 3 hours of our day, but those three hours can completely drain us. I know all of you know this, obviously. He is also only talking about career departments, he's not talking about volunteers, who get paid nothing to spend time at the station cleaning the trucks, or taking children for tours. I think I'm rambling. I'm sorry. I think I'm having problems putting my feelings into words, and articulating it well so as to not offend either side. Anyway, the point that I'm trying to make with this post is that sometimes people's comments after an article like this can do more damage than the article itself. I'm not singling anyone out, and most of the later comments in this forum have been very well worded. A testament to the crusties cool heads.

    Stay safe,

    Matt
    "At one point we decided to fight fire with fire, basically your house just burned faster."

    Recipient of the IACOJ Service Award 2003.

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    Originally posted by CFD1800
    Heroes.....We are there in waiting never knowing how when or why....When we respond we never know what lies ahead. Oh yes we plan and train for that day but when it happens it is never like we thought or hoped,its never when we are ready or when we have complete control.
    Yet without question we succeed more times than not.
    WE ARE HEROES IN WAITING 24/7.

    another "firefighter" feeding the stereotype Dougie boy wants....
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    WE ARE HEROES IN WAITING 24/7
    Oh, for the love of Mike! Do you wear your "We fight what you fear" T-shirt 24/7, too???

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    ...and he probably thinks "Backdraft" was real....
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    Here ya go, buddy...
    Attached Images Attached Images  

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    Originally posted by CFD1800
    Heroes.....We are there in waiting never knowing how when or why....When we respond we never know what lies ahead. Oh yes we plan and train for that day but when it happens it is never like we thought or hoped,its never when we are ready or when we have complete control.
    Yet without question we succeed more times than not.
    WE ARE HEROES IN WAITING 24/7.
    CFD, I must say you have fully succeeded in disgusting me thoroughly with your point of view on heroism. We are NOT heroes in waiting, we are doing a job that we CHOSE of our own free will. Let me tell you what a hero is......

    A hero is a parent who has to slowly watch a child that they have loved, cared for and nurtured die a slow and agonizing death; yet keep a brave happy face on for that child.

    A hero is someone who has been told they have a terminal illness, yet their main concern is still the happiness and well-being of others, not of themselves. They silently wage their battle, all the while doing all that they are able to for others.

    A hero is Joe Schmuck walking down the road at night and hearing cries for help coming from a raging creek and he jumps in to save the person who's in trouble possibly giving his own life in the process.

    A hero is someone who does something NOT for personal gain, prestige or attention. A hero is someone who does something, just for that moment, not necessarily of free will, but just because the moment arose. A hero is someone who walks away quietly, away from the crowd, slipping silently into the night. He's done what he was meant to do, and he goes without recognition.

    Look around you in your everyday life CFD, look at the faces of the people you pass on the street, you will see heroes everywhere but you will not know it because they don't need to be validated and inundated with attention to prove to the rest of the world that they are heroes.

    You are not a hero CFD, no matter what you think in your little head, YOU are merely performing the job you chose. I am not a hero, and never think of myself as one; and I am positive that the majority of the Brothers and Sisters here don't view themselves in that manner nor do they put themselves up on a pedestal.

    Anyone who is in this profession and is viewing themselves as a hero had best rethink their motives. If you are not doing it for the right reasons please do everyone a favor and move on.


    edited to add a thought
    Last edited by PFire23; 11-08-2003 at 09:57 AM.
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    WE ARE HEROES IN WAITING 24/7.
    Could we not be an "LODD IN WAITING 24/7" as well?
    Christ; what happened to quiet grace and dignity with a little humility thrown in for good measure?
    Why are we still in this thread convincing ourselves that we're good people?
    CR
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    I give up. It's useless.
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    Enough arguing over the same stuff over and over again. Allow me to change the subject to something a little new and fresh...

    What's better, Smoothbore or Fog???


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    REAL American heros would never use a fog nozzle!

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    See, unlike some guys, I don't consider myself a hero. Go TFT.

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    Would a hero ride in a red fire truck or a yellow fire truck?

    Are you more or a hero if you are paid or if you volunteer?

    Keep posting. Somehow we'll get the WT to shut this down.

  23. #273
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    Lightbulb

    A hero ain't nuthin but a sandwich!
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    hahahhaaha ......... wanna pass me one of them there sandwiches Capt G???? I'm hungry ..... Heroes are GOOOOOOOOD sandwiches!!!
    To the world you might be one person, but to one person you just might be the world.

    IACOJ-WOT proud

    GO WHITE SOX!!!!!

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    OK, here it is..... Iv'e been following this thread like everyone else for 19 or so pages, and it's time for me to ring in. Gonz, I thought you people up in Mass. called heros "spuckies". Around here we call them grinders, which everyone knows is what they are supposed to be called, by the way. Now, say goodnight, Gracie. "Good night, Gracie!" I'm here all week, tip your servers and try the veal.
    Leroy140 (yes, THAT Leroy)
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