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  1. #1
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    Default No Firefighter Should Ever Die Again

    Ok Folks..its time for a change!

    Sixteen initiatives came out of the summit. Briefly, they are:
    1. Define and advocate the need for cultural change related to safety, leadership, management and personal responsibility;

    2. Enhance the personal and organizational accountability for health and safety;

    3. Focus greater attention on the integration of risk management with incident management at all levels;

    4. Empower all firefighters to stop unsafe practices;

    5. Develop and implement national standards for training, qualifications and certification;

    6. Develop and implement national medical and physical fitness standards;

    7. Create a national research agenda and data collection system that relates to initiatives;

    8. Use available technology to produce higher levels of health and safety;

    9. Investigate all firefighter fatalities, injuries and near misses;

    10. Ensure grant programs support the use of safe practices and/or mandate safe practices as an eligibility requirement;

    11. Develop and champion national standards for emergency response policies and procedures;

    12. Develop and champion national protocols for response to violent incidents;

    13. Provide firefighters and their families with access to counseling and psychological support;

    14. Provide public education with more resources and champion it as a critical fire and life safety program;

    15. Strengthen advocacy for the enforcement of codes and installation of home fire sprinklers;

    16. Make safety a primary consideration in the design of apparatus and equipment.


    These initiatives are not necessarily new or represent land-breaking inventions; they are based on information and fundamental truths and may cause discomfort and even controversy. They will also take a huge commitment of energy and resources over several years. We need not shy away due to either the size of the commitment or the fear of controversy. We can no longer accept that dying on the job is a normal way of doing business. Yes, the work is inherently dangerous and no, the death toll for firefighters will never be zero. But firefighters are dying unnecessarily and that must stop.
    Do you know where these came from?

    Do you care?

    USFA Firefighter Life Safety Summit

    or get the full report here:

    http://www.firehero.org/

    It has been posted on these forums that only we can make these changes, and I agree. The question that remains is; Are we all willing to do what it takes.

    My thoughts are this, one at a time lets discuss the 16 initiatives....let see if we have half the discussion here as we did about Kerry/Bush or the Paid/Vollie crap.

    I am also making a pledge, that until we discuss this....like it needs to be discussed. I am out of any thread not directly related to operations/safety etc.

    Care to join me?
    Last edited by hfd66truck; 07-08-2004 at 07:56 AM.


  2. #2
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    1. Define and advocate the need for cultural change related to safety, leadership, management and personal responsibility;
    Cultural change. Thats a pretty big concept. That doesn't mean that juest your group, or your Department embrace these changes. Its certainly a place to start. Every Firefighter, every Chief, every Instructor.....all of us need to accept the fact that there are things we need to do to be safer.

    Some basics....

    Put down the donut.....Seriously.

    Seat belts

    Basic Accountability

    So we need to come up with a plan...any other thoughts.

  3. #3
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
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    Lightbulb

    It is a tough challenge. Does it start from the bottom up? Or, does it need to come from the top down?

    My belief? The initiative needs to start at the top. The Chiefs, Mayors, Administrators, Commissioners need to accept the fact that things need to change. They decide the policies. They provide the leadership. They set the example for the grunts down in the trenches.

    I think it needs to start at the top. (Perhaps, with a little prodding from the little guys.. )

    So...how do we get them to listen. This isn't rhetorical...I think we really need suggestions.

    NJ

    PS.....I didn't have a doughnut this morning. OJ and a Cwissant!
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: No Firefighter Should Ever Die Again

    Originally posted by hfd66truck
    Ok Folks..its time for a change!


    I am also making a pledge, that until we discuss this....like it needs to be discussed. I am out of any thread not directly related to operations/safety etc.

    Care to join me?
    I have to be honest, when I read this statement I got chills. You have really hit the nail on the head, Dave. The fire service is at a crossroads and the necessary changes aren't going to come from a bunch of suits in a committee meeting - it has to start on the front lines.

    Count me in.


    Looking at the need for culture change, I would like to add another item to the list: machismo - an exaggerated sense of strength or toughness. I have seen time and time again firefighters taking unnecessary risks because of ego.
    Resident Chaplain of the IACOJ

  5. #5
    FIREMAN 1st GRADE E40FDNYL35's Avatar
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    The number one initiative should have been Fire Prevention....


    America's fire death rate is one of the highest per capita in the industrialized world. Fire kills 3,700 and injures more than 20,000 people each year. Firefighters pay a high price for this terrible fire record as well; approximately 100 firefighters die in the line of duty each year. Direct property losses due to fire reach almost $11 billion a year. Most of these deaths and losses can be prevented!
    My two cents...
    Last edited by E40FDNYL35; 07-08-2004 at 08:35 AM.
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  6. #6
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    Originally posted by NJFFSA16
    It is a tough challenge. Does it start from the bottom up? Or, does it need to come from the top down?

    My belief? The initiative needs to start at the top. The Chiefs, Mayors, Administrators, Commissioners need to accept the fact that things need to change. They decide the policies. They provide the leadership. They set the example for the grunts down in the trenches.

    NJ

    PS.....I didn't have a doughnut this morning. OJ and a Cwissant!
    I think that it is going to have to start in multiple places. The top down approach may "force" it, but it won't be as well received. Bottom up may not enjoy the "strength" needed to force change.

    Ray,

    Fire Prevention is certainly up there, but even with the best prevention we will still have fires. We need to look long and hard at what we do, and how we do it. Will we ever have a zero death rate? I doubt it, there are too many things that can go worng. But we should look at each incident like we could have prevented it. We should learn from what others have done. We need to stop killing our Brothers.......

    Dave

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    Starting at the top will only go so far, and usually takes forever since it involved all sorts of red tape. Besides the fact that most policies already involve safety over anything else. It's the implementation on the street where the breakdown occurs. Yes it could be related to not having enough people which is an administrative issue.

    Check out this article on Fire Engineering:

    http://fe.pennnet.com/Articles/Artic...&VERSION_NUM=1

    Terwilliger hits the nail on the head with one line: if you don't have enough people for an interior attack, then don't do one!

    The simple fact of the matter is the responding FFs ultimately control their own fate. We all can make the decision whether to go in or not, whether the roof is safe enough or not, etc, etc. We determine what is safe and what is stupid. Just like the good Reverend of Crust said, macho has to go.

    Fire prevention will reduce but not eliminate fire deaths. Arson will never go away, for murder or for money (insurance payoffs). Accidents will always happen (gas leaks, explosions, etc). We can help to reduce them through alarm and sprinkler systems. We had fire fire Monday night that the family was saved by the smoke detectors and sprinkler system: http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/news/070...l_aptfire.html

    but on top of that we still have the freedom of choice. Everyone steers their own ship, so even if we hand out smoke detectors it's up to the people to change the battery every 6 months. So if they choose to not do it and risk dying in a fire, that's their choice. We can't make up everyone's minds for them, and we're not going to save everyone no matter what we do.

    Same with the decision to put down the donuts. Put down the fast food, the candy bars, and all of that other unhealty crap too. Until departments give true physicals and require that everyone be in shape to perform their duties, that won't happen. Heart attacks will continue to take FF's lives.

    - Brian

    PS: I'll stay out of other "Chevy/Ford" debate forums, but I still gotta hang out in the Grants discussions.
    Brian P. Vickers
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  8. #8
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    And along with the 16 commandments we also need to learn the lessons of the past; FIRE HISTORY! One of the reasons Patton did well in WW2 was two fold:He studied military history,the great battles,tactics and knew their weaknesses.Secondly,right or wrong, the man had "stones".Sometimes you just gotta stand up for something you believe in.For me personally that is doing EVERYTHING I can to keep my people safe and educating them so that they may keep others safe.We,collectively,seem to lose sight of the factors that have a habit of killing us.Where does it start? With each and every one of us stepping to the plate and saying: ENOUGH of the madness! 100 Brothers and sisters are NOT acceptable odds.Grab the bull,make a stand;start in your own community then teach others. DO SOMETHING! T.C.

  9. #9
    Forum Member FiftyOnePride's Avatar
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    Default

    You can always count me on anything that is going to help our own overall.

    1. Define and advocate the need for cultural change related to safety, leadership, management and personal responsibility;

    -Tradition, excepted cultural concepts (a very broad topic that relates a lot to the rest of these) is not letting progress being impeeded by tradition, or by the occasional lazy attitude on things. This also being very broad, is also the hardest to combat I think. Some of the major things accepted as cultures are there because they worked, and its hard to think that your throwing out, or at least revising things that work originally. However that is just a matter or teaching and preaching the huge benefits of whatever something is changing to.

    2. Enhance the personal and organizational accountability for health and safety;

    -Health and safety, put down the donut equals a better chance of not having a heart attack. I know personally I am on one of those quests to be healthier, I'm already huge on the safety issue, but I know things are easier, and things will be better in the future due to this. I know a couple of FF's who need to get on track and do something about themselves otherwise things could be bad. This topic previous to now has been beaten to death, but is it being heard? I heard it, I don't know about anyone else.

    3. Focus greater attention on the integration of risk management with incident management at all levels;

    -Seeing what could go wrong and the benefits of the risks while commanding, fighting fires and pumping, while making good decisions based on it is common sense, if I do this, this will happen. Realizing that an offensive attack is not worth what could be saved and what is already lost and things like that is the concern. It's just thinking, it was stated these are basic concepts. We just need to understand how basic and easy to master and apply these.

    4. Empower all firefighters to stop unsafe practices;


    -Is this a matter of having guts or having someone who is putting people into these practices who is easy to talk to? I would think that most people who do this probably are not the easiest to talk to. So its either a matter of sucking it up, which shouldnt be a problem because its unsafe which could lead to injuries, and meeting the problem head on.

    5. Develop and implement national standards for training, qualifications and certification;

    Nothing to say here, national standards for training can help out problems of miscommunication as well as some other issues.

    6. Develop and implement national medical and physical fitness standards;

    That would help combat a part of #2. I'm not even going to talk about this, its that basic.

    7. Create a national research agenda and data collection system that relates to initiatives;

    So pretty much this means the NFPA who interacts and collects data?

    8. Use available technology to produce higher levels of health and safety;

    Use of resources.

    9. Investigate all firefighter fatalities, injuries and near misses;

    Firefighter Close Calls, NIOSH...

    10. Ensure grant programs support the use of safe practices and/or mandate safe practices as an eligibility requirement;

    Grant rewards and priveliges for a good job done...

    11. Develop and champion national standards for emergency response policies and procedures;

    Which could be aided with the opportunity for grants!

    12. Develop and champion national protocols for response to violent incidents;

    Which could be aided with the oppurtunity for grants, as well as be funded and realized with grants! Just needing to protect our own.

    13. Provide firefighters and their families with access to counseling and psychological support;

    I know I could get that, as well as my family here and now.

    14. Provide public education with more resources and champion it as a critical fire and life safety program;

    Fire prevention is the key to any of this, if we can stop the incident from happening there is no chance of something happening from it.

    15. Strengthen advocacy for the enforcement of codes and installation of home fire sprinklers;

    We should look at data from districts who have home fire sprinkler codes.

    16. Make safety a primary consideration in the design of apparatus and equipment.

    Nothing to say here.

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

    These are great principles, some are being utilized today, some are goals of tommorow, regardless we realize that the overall picture is FF safety and survival throughout this field, its just now we have to get together and push all of these concepts.
    JLS
    MFC
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    Forum Member FiftyOnePride's Avatar
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    Also, where to start from? The middle, your hitting both the top and the bottom th at way!

    And along with the 16 commandments we also need to learn the lessons of the past; FIRE HISTORY!
    Yes! Learn from our mistakes to overcome them in the future.
    JLS
    MFC
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  11. #11
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    That is an excellent point, Ray. I agree with you. Our record on fire prevention in this country is horrendous. That's the most important cultural change we need to make and it applies to everyone, not just the fire service.

    We all know or have heard of people who don't want to push fire prevention because it will take away their "fun" or cost them their jobs. It isn't "sexy" or "exciting." It only works. The fire that never starts or is controlled/contained by active or passive fire protection systems is much less likely to hurt us. Often the "I'm not into fire prevention" crowd contains the same people who have the macho tendencies that the Rev mentioned.

    IMHO, a true cultural change can't come exclusively from the top or exclusively from the bottom. It's got to permeate the entire organization or change won't happen. The administration can mandate from on high, and they are obligated to provide the leadership, but if the line officers and firefighters don't buy in to the program and ignore the directives, nothing will change. If the guys in the trenches want to change and they don't get the support and resources they need from "upstairs" things won't change, either.

    We have called attention to the problem. If we don't fix it ourselves, someone is going to fix it for us through new regulations or through financial penalties as a result of lawsuits. It's always better to be proactive and take care of something yourself than to have the solution forced upon you from the outside because we can't or won't do it ourselves.

    What can we do about it individually? A number of things. We have to take our personal safety and the safety of our crews seriously. We can't fix the fire service if we can't fix ourselves. Dave is right, put down the donut, get off the lounge chair and take a walk up and down the stairs in the station for 10 or 15 minutes. Practice donning and doffing your BA. Read an article about firefighting instead of numbing your mind with the idiot tube. Lead by example.

    If you are a driver or officer, don't let the apparatus leave the station for a run unless everyone is belted. If you're a veteran, make sure you let the new guys know that operating safely doesn't make you a wimp and that getting hurt isn't "cool." Teach them so they know what an acceptable level of risk is. Let them know that it's OK to ask for help if thay are in trouble.

    On a national level, the fire service needs to get its' act together, end the infighting, and develop one voice with a coherent message to make our needs known. If we want the staffing and resources we need to operate safely we have to prove our worth to the citizens we serve and who pay the bills. What we don't need is constant posturing between career and volunteer firefighters, turf wars, and constant bickering over resource allocation.
    Chris Minick, P.E., Firefighter II
    Structures Specialist, MD-TF 1

    These statements are mine and mine alone
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    Cultural change can take generations, given the rate at which we change personnel and equipment. Mandatory training and actual enforcement of rules would go a long way toward this goal. The officers have to enforce it, but the men have to believe it. Across the board we need more training... in driving safely, safe fireground ops and tactics / strategy / command.

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    Dave:
    Count me in on this one.
    Unfortunately, I am at work.
    I have downloaded all pertinent information to review.
    I am glad that you stepped up to the plate on important fire service issues, if not the most important issue of personal safety of our firefighters.
    Just a thought that I will expand on later, but name me one other job where risk-taking is in the job description. Because it is that risk-taking that is killing firefighters, whether at the scene or just getting to the scene.
    More later.
    Thanks for being back serious discussion.
    CR
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    Lightbulb My 2 1/2 Cents

    Sixteen initiatives came out of the summit. Briefly, they are:

    1. Define and advocate the need for cultural change related to safety, leadership, management and personal responsibility;
    From discussions on here and with others I am convinced this will never happen or will be seriously misguided. Why? Politics and Politicians. To many Chiefs are BS artists and not leaders. They spent little time on the bottom in many cases rocket to the top without spending enough time as a fireman or company officer. Until most adopt a civil service system such as FDNYs that promotes based on merit and fitness and not one that promotes on who is the bigger "Kiss ***" we won't see any change. Chicago will probably do this very thing as it was a major recomendation from the pannel reviewing the Loop fire.

    2. Enhance the personal and organizational accountability for health and safety;

    3. Focus greater attention on the integration of risk management with incident management at all levels;

    4. Empower all firefighters to stop unsafe practices;
    I have to agree with Prof. Frank Brannigan on this one. I think many will take a good idea and take it too far. I've heard over the years the following to be unsafe: Searching without a hoseline. Stretching into a building without having another hoseline stretched and charged first. Not comming off the rig with facepiece in place, VES is dangerous and too risky, We don't search unless we have evidence of someone being in there...etc.

    Instead I see many who refuse to believe that taking 1 3/4 hose and a fog tip off a standpipe is unsafe. "we aren't NY" or we have different high-rises here...bla bla bla. I see many who refuse to take a 2 1/2 hose with smoothbore into a commerical occupancy (strip mall). I see too many guys come off the rig with no tools, or the wrong tools...like that idiots invention the closet hook.

    The safety susies will take a good concept and bastarize it and take it to the extreem that the public will begin labling the fire dept as a band of overpaid cowards. If this is route you want to take, re-brand yourself from so-and-so fire-rescue to the exposure protection dept because you aren't going to be rescuing anyone.


    5. Develop and implement national standards for training, qualifications and certification;

    I used to instruct basic fire classes for a local Comm. college. and from knowing the standards and objectives they had to learn based on NFPA this and IFSTA that...the current "national standards" are a joke. They are watered down to the lowest common denominator. Because NFPA and IFSTA wants to sell its product to the most people. If they become to "aggressive" they will lose market share to conservative depts. Just look at the comments from NFPA 1710.

    FF1 and Fire OfficerII and all that other stuff is 90% BS. I see too many Standards are based on simple skills a monkey could do and not on real world senario based knowledge that will keep them safe and help save lives. Such as some one who is FFII might know how to roll a "selflocking twin donut roll" that they will never use or see but they can't tell me the order of removal of victims from a building. They can't tell me what that bowline knot once tied is used for. They don't really know how to force a door or search a room. I saw many career firemen who came through this class who were taught to hold on to the guys boot ahead of you while searching. That isn't how you find viable victims in a room.

    If there were really to be National Standards for training and certification. You could interchange firemen from Miami, to Dallas, Texas to Topeka, Kansas to FDNY to Santa Fe, NM. But we know that isn't going to happen.


    6. Develop and implement national medical and physical fitness standards;

    7. Create a national research agenda and data collection system that relates to initiatives;

    8. Use available technology to produce higher levels of health and safety;

    9. Investigate all firefighter fatalities, injuries and near misses;
    From my perspective I see two things...often they reach the wrong conclusions and no one pays attention. Most times they always restate the same BS that really does nothing to solve the problem such as "Intergrate ICS and accountablity into all fireground operations bla bla bla." Meanwhile they don't focus enough on the real problems. There was no "control man" to ensure the proper amount of hose was stretched and check for kinks; as in Ohio. There were no tool or possition assignments(true accountability) prior to showing up at the hi-rise fire;such as happened in Texas. You have truckies on handlines and Engine guys who left the handlines as in Arizona. The wrong hose and nozzles where used at a highrise job such as in Penslyvania...etc. Or there was no Chiefs Aide to assist in the control of information...this happens almost everywhere. The list goes on and on.

    The justification for better training and staffing is out there. We just have to start looking deeper into the reports.


    10. Ensure grant programs support the use of safe practices and/or mandate safe practices as an eligibility requirement; Once again...what is a safe practice? Searching without a hoseline is a safe practice...VES is a safe practice...performing a roof rope rescue is a safe practice. However there is a large segment of ignorant Chiefs and Offciers that don't have the first clue about any of it and summarily decide it isn't a safe practice. Many places I know of have the 2nd Due Company Engine or Truck as the FAST/RIT. Instead of having them perform the necessary support functions such as force entry, search vent...ect. What is safe? I look at it as the FAST team is reactionary to if a problem arrises...whereas performing Truck duties is preventative to having those problems even arise at all.

    11. Develop and champion national standards for emergency response policies and procedures; Same as before. You will see the small communities fighting the large cities as the small ones won't want to be held to the same standards. You'll see more west coast FDs and their stuff not jive with the East Coast and vice versa and the midwest won't conform to either.

    12. Develop and champion national protocols for response to violent incidents;

    13. Provide firefighters and their families with access to counseling and psychological support;

    14. Provide public education with more resources and champion it as a critical fire and life safety program;

    15. Strengthen advocacy for the enforcement of codes and installation of home fire sprinklers;

    16. Make safety a primary consideration in the design of apparatus and equipment. To many people today are dazzled by the "Bells and whistles" of how much BS we can shove on one apparatus...and then complain why it constantly breaks down. To many don't really consider what is needed on the fireground today.

    In past depts I've seen the purchase of quints only to then stretch short on fires and have to add on hose. To me this is unacceptable fireground performance. This shows they didn't design the apparatus properly for all their buildings and didn't consider streching more than 200 ft of hose. There was no room or consideration for a static bed. I've seen Aerial ladders with non-pinable waterways. How can you even put that ladder on roof or in a window? Answer: you can't!



    FTM-PTB

  15. #15
    Forum Member Lewiston2FF's Avatar
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    Originally posted by E40FDNYL35
    The number one initiative should have been Fire Prevention....


    America's fire death rate is one of the highest per capita in the industrialized world. Fire kills 3,700 and injures more than 20,000 people each year. Firefighters pay a high price for this terrible fire record as well; approximately 100 firefighters die in the line of duty each year. Direct property losses due to fire reach almost $11 billion a year. Most of these deaths and losses can be prevented!
    My two cents...
    I am going to make an attempt to play devil's advocate, we will see how well I can do:

    Ray,
    The other side of that coin is then you have inexperienced FFs going to fires where they would be more likely to get hurt. We continue to preach that experience coupled with knowledge is the best teacher. Fewer fires, along with the stand that some communities are taking on live fire training, is making for less experienced FFs.

    I do agree that if you have a good fire prevention program, you will have fewer fires. Fewer fires would in the short term reduce the number of FF injuries and fatalities. But, once the FFs that have experienced fighting a fire from the inside, and have seen and felt what a room is like before it flashes over, leave the fire service we are left with a bunch of inexperienced FFs and officers going to the rare fire they may have with a greater likelyhood of getting injured or even killed.

    Devil's Advocate mode off:

    I think to combat the above senario, an agressive fire prevention program coupled with agressive and proactive training (so that the experience isnt lost) is the best choice. But I am sure that I am not the first to come up with that idea.

    Dave,
    I am with you. I do believe that we need to seriously discuss firefighter safety. I hope that we can have a productive discussion and be the catalyst that initiates the change.
    Shawn M. Cecula
    Firefighter
    IACOJ Division of Fire and EMS

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    OK .... all of thses stuff is truly common sense yet it took hundreds of thousands of dollars to get this stuff on paper. WE ALL KNOW THE SOLUTIONS ... it's just a matter of actually implementing them.

    .. Think about that the next time we go to a fireground and take
    risks that outweight the benefits because we're macho fireman .
    ...Think about that next time you are the officer in an engine and
    your driver is screaming 15 mph over the speed limit to that
    dumpster or car fire.
    ...Think about that the next time you pull up to that vacant building
    fire that has gotten a head start and decide you are going to try
    to make an interior attack (my god .. WHY ???).
    .. Think about that the next time you draw up your department
    budget and allocate the national of average of 1% of that budget
    to public education and 99% to suppression.
    .. Think about that the next time you have a working fire and don't
    use a safety officer.
    .. Think about that the next time we have a working incident and
    decide it's small enough that we don't need to use our
    accountability systems.
    .. Think about that the next time we decide to shorten or ligthen up
    the weekly training because it's too hot, cold, raining , etc etc.

    I think by now you get the drift. We all have the power to solve these problems because WE ALL MAKE THE PROBLEMS HAPPEN. WE need to change our mindset and attitudes about what we are ware ans what we do .. and why it needs to be done. It's that simple ... it's really not rocket science. WE just need to think .. thats all it comes down to.

    Just my thoughts.

  17. #17
    dazed and confused Resq14's Avatar
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    Originally posted by BC79er
    The simple fact of the matter is the responding FFs ultimately control their own fate. We all can make the decision whether to go in or not, whether the roof is safe enough or not, etc, etc. We determine what is safe and what is stupid.
    Doesn't this sum up the majority of points here?

    When George first posted this list, I had never heard of it. It disheartened me a little because he was right. Here you'll find tons of articles about gloves and red lights and nozzles... and yet this important event wasn't even discussed. How could that happen? Someone said something to the effect of "it isn't sexy." Hmmm, too bad.

    (and basically what La is saying above)
    Last edited by Resq14; 07-08-2004 at 01:29 PM.
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  18. #18
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    Excellent post, FFFRED.

  19. #19
    MembersZone Subscriber SamsonFCDES's Avatar
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    All well and good...

    But some of that stuff is going to be very very expensive...

    Lots of departments are very very broke...

    Who is going to pay for all that training, testing, work out equipment, safe apparatus, etc....?
    -Brotherhood: I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
    -Mistakes: It could be that the purpose of you life is to serve as a warning to others.

    -Adversity: That which does not kill me postpones the inevitable.

    -Despair: Its always darkest before it goes Pitch Black.

  20. #20
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    Ok Samson..but a lot of it doesn't cost a thing. Lets start there.

    How much does it cost to change the way we think?

    How much does it cost to change the way we act?

    How much does it cost to bury a Brother?

    Like I said, ideas....its all about ideas.

    I think that maybe the problem has been that we are looking for someone else to fix this. After looking at this, with some prodding from George, I think maybe we can fix this. How many members are on these forums? Do you think if we all start talking about this that there might be a culture change? Sure it will take time, but even some thought and discussion has to be positive.

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