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  1. #1
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    Angry Smoke and Mirrors Stop calling firefighters "heroes."

    This is an article that was passed on to me, it is not the greatest repersentation of Firefighters. If you would like to e-mail the author is address is below.

    To Email him
    a reply it is cnnsi@cnnsi.com I hope that you will email him back and give
    him a piece of your mind like I did.


    Smoke and Mirrors
    Stop calling firefighters "heroes."
    By Douglas Gantenbein
    Posted Friday, Oct. 31, 2003, at 12:05 PM PT



    A cush job, most of the time

    When California Gov.-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger toured the state's
    catastrophic wildfires a few days ago, he uttered the phrase that now
    accompanies any blaze as surely as smoke: "The firefighters are the true
    heroes."

    It's understandable why he said that. As fires go, the California blazes are
    scary. They are moving incredibly quickly through dried brush and chaparral
    that practically explode when they ignite, threatening the life of any
    firefighter nearby. Steven L. Rucker, a 38-year-old firefighter and paramedic
    for the town of Novato, was killed working to save houses. Elsewhere, thousands
    of firefighters have worked for hours on end in 95-degree heat, dressed in
    multiple layers of fire-resistant clothing, sometimes without enough food or
    water because of the long and shifting supply lines.

    Given all that, it may seem churlish to suggest that firefighters might not
    deserve the lofty pedestal we so insistently place them on. We lionize them,
    regard them as unsullied by base motivations, see them as paragons of manliness
    (and very tough womanliness). They're easily our most-admired public servants,
    and in the public's eye probably outrank just about anyone except the most
    highly publicized war veterans. But the "hero" label is tossed around a little
    too often when the subject is firefighting. Here's why:


    Continue Article

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Firefighting is a cushy job. Firefighters may have the best work schedule in
    the United States—24 hours on, 48 hours off. And those 24 hours are usually not
    terribly onerous. While a few big-city fire stations may have four, five, six
    calls, or more during a shift, most aren't nearly that busy, giving
    firefighters time to give tours to school kids, barbecue hamburgers, wash fire
    engines, sleep, and pose for "The Firefighters of [Your City Here], 2004"
    calendars. Indeed, fire officials devote much of their time to figuring out how
    to cover up the fact they're not getting the hoses out very often. So we have
    firefighters doing ambulance work, firefighters doing search-and-rescue work,
    anything but Job No. 1. Meanwhile, the long days off give many firefighters a
    chance to start second careers. That makes it easy for them to retire after 20
    years, take a pension, and start another profession. I've known firefighters
    who moonlighted as builders, photographers, and attorneys.

    Firefighting isn't that dangerous. Of course there are hazards, and about 100
    firefighters die each year. But firefighting doesn't make the Department of
    Labor's 2002 list of the 10 most dangerous jobs in America. Loggers top that
    one, followed by commercial fishermen in the No. 2 spot, and general-aviation
    commercial pilots (crop dusters and the like) at No. 3. Firefighting trails
    truck-driving (No. 10) in its risks. Pizza delivery drivers (No. 5) have more
    dangerous jobs than firefighters, statistically speaking. And fatalities, when
    they occur in firefighting, often are due to heart attacks and other lack-of-
    fitness problems, not fire. In those cases where firefighters die in a blaze,
    it's almost always because of some unbelievable screw-up in the command chain.
    It's been well-documented, for instance, that lousy communication was a huge
    reason why so many firefighters still were in the burning World Trade Center
    when it imploded, and well after city police and port authority police had been
    warned by their own commanders of an imminent collapse and cleared out.

    Firefighters are adrenalin junkies. I did mountain rescue work for several
    years and more than once was praised as a "hero." Oh, give me a break. It was
    fun and exciting. Firefighting is even more of a rush. Sharon Waxman, in an
    excellent article in the Washington Post, interviewed firefighters in
    California. Every one was in a complete lather to get to the next hot
    spot. "It's almost a slugfest to get in there," one told Waxman. This urge to
    reach the fire is not entirely altruistic. It sure beats washing that damned
    fire truck again, for one thing. Plus a big fire is thrilling, plain and
    simple.

    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.

    Firefighters are just another interest group. Firefighters use their heroic
    trappings to play special interest politics brilliantly. It is a heavily
    unionized occupation. Nothing's wrong with that, but let's not assume they're
    always acting in anything but their own best interests. In Seattle not long ago
    a squabble broke out between police and firefighters when both were called to
    the scene of a capsized dinghy in a lake. The firefighters put a diver in the
    water, a police officer on the scene ordered him out to make way for a police
    team, and all hell broke loose (yes, the cops were at fault, too). The dispute
    wasn't over public safety, it was over who got the glory. New York
    firefighters, admittedly deep in grief over lost co-workers, exacerbated the
    challenge of body recovery operations after 9/11 by insisting on elaborate
    removal procedures for each firefighter uncovered, an insult to others who died
    there. Not long before that, in Boston, a special commission released a
    scathing report that detailed a 1,600-member fire department up to its bunker
    gear in racism, sexism, and homophobia. Since then the department has bitterly
    resisted reform efforts.

    None of this is meant to dispute that firefighters are valuable to the
    communities in which they work. They are. But our society is packed with
    unheralded heroes—small-town physicians, teachers in poverty-stricken
    neighborhoods, people who work in dirty, dangerous jobs like coal-mining to
    support a family. A firefighter plunging into a burning house to retrieve a
    frightened, smoke-blinded child is a hero. But let's save the encomiums for
    when they are truly deserved, not when they just show up to do their job

    --


  2. #2
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    hehe...you're about a week late, bro. Scroll down, and you'll see the original posting and replies.

  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber E229Lt's Avatar
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    A nomination for the best "first post" of the month.

  4. #4
    Forum Member ThNozzleman's Avatar
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    A hearty "second."

  5. #5
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    All in favor?

  6. #6
    Rabble rouser Kobersteen's Avatar
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    Lightbulb

    I hate to inject formality into this, but I believe 'Discussion' comes after a motion and second.

    So, let's discuss...
    Member IACOJ - Building crust and full of lust...

    "It's okay to to scared, just don't be chicken." - Clark

  7. #7
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
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    Post To LifeguardEMT276

    Discussion...

    Intentions were indeed honorable. Just a little late...

    A common mistake by new members. I have to admit....I've done the same.

    To avoid duplicity, check the forums before you post new topics.

    To view the original thread:

    Smoke and Mirrors
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

  8. #8
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    Well since we just had a discussion I make a motion to close the discussion at this point. Do I have a second?
    After I'm dead I'd rather have people ask why I have no monument than why I have one

    Official Minister of Philosophy of the IACOJ

    IACOJ Probie Crusty of the year 2003

  9. #9
    Early Adopter cozmosis's Avatar
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    "Second."

  10. #10
    Rabble rouser Kobersteen's Avatar
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    All in favor of closing discussion?
    Member IACOJ - Building crust and full of lust...

    "It's okay to to scared, just don't be chicken." - Clark

  11. #11
    Forum Member MIKEYLIKESIT's Avatar
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    AYE

  12. #12
    Forum Member PFire23's Avatar
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    AYE!!!!!
    To the world you might be one person, but to one person you just might be the world.

    IACOJ-WOT proud

    GO WHITE SOX!!!!!

  13. #13
    Rabble rouser Kobersteen's Avatar
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    Opposed?
    Member IACOJ - Building crust and full of lust...

    "It's okay to to scared, just don't be chicken." - Clark

  14. #14
    Early Adopter cozmosis's Avatar
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    The Ayes have it... the motion is passed.

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