1. #1
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    Default How safety forces hose the public

    Came across this on another site tonight........


    How safety forces host the public
    Ronald Khol, Editor
    Send feedback to MDeditor @ penton.com



    Check out the full story at:

    http://www.machinedesign.com/asp/vie...MDSite&catId=2

    There has been a big change in the way safety forces respond to routine fender-benders, at least where I live. When I drive to the office, I use a freeway having four lanes in each direction. Initially, if there was a fender-bender, a single police car would show up, and as soon as possible, the police would have the damaged vehicles moved to the shoulder so that all four lanes would remain open to traffic. Then, a fire-department ambulance began showing up with the police car regardless of whether or not anyone was injured. (As an aside, I'll mention that the police also began to leave the vehicles wherever they collided, apparently unmindful of the terrible traffic tieups this creates.) Next, two police cars began showing up along with the ambulance. Then a fire truck began showing up along with the ambulance and two police cars. With all these vehicles spread over the highway, every minor collision essentially shut down the freeway.

    In the many years I have traveled past these accidents, I rarely if ever saw any people injured. So at first I couldn't figure out why the ambulances showed up. Likewise, there were rarely any fires, so I couldn't figure out why the fire trucks were on the scene. And the only purpose of the second police car seemed to be to add to the congestion.
    Last edited by mtnfireguy; 06-19-2005 at 02:41 AM.
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    I would stick that paragraph in quotes, Fireguy. I thought that was your story for a minute there.

    Anyway, just another MUTT. Some of his lines are really just amazingly uneducated. How about this doozy:

    The revenue generated by responding to accidents helps cities perpetuate the overstaffing.
    Here's another:

    So one reason firemen respond to automobile accidents is to relieve their boredom.
    I'm not going to start slaggin this guy, because that would be a waste of my time and yours, but I do have a question.

    Why is this an all-too-common public perception, and what can/should we in the Fire Service do to combat it?
    Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!

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    Default You have got to be kidding me!

    I clicked on the link and read the rest of the story. My God! I thought this was an editorial some citizen wrote in to a newspaper, then I was shocked to see it was published in a trade journal by one of the editors.

    I can't believe this journal would let something so incredibly libelious and unresearched actually be published. I posted on his blog and corrected some of his "misconceptions" but it was probably a waste of time.

    Besides, why is an engineering journal writing about public safety?

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    Why is this an all-too-common public perception, and what can/should we in the Fire Service do to combat it?
    Because the fire service does a terrible job with pub ed. What needs to be done is get our administrations interested in educating the public, and I mean more then just CPR classes or passing out free smoke detectors.
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    Read his "blog"

    This self centered egotistical [size=huge] MUTT [/size] fancies himself to be the foremost authority on everything!

    What a dickhead...
    ‎"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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    Instead of focusing our efforts on calling this man names (which probably are justified ...) we need to concentrate on why folks have this perception and what we can do about it, as McCaldwell and Dave has pointed out.

    We seem to be seeing more and more of this type of crititism from the public and we do need to ask "Why?". Certainly some of the negative stories coming out of FDNY, Sacramento and T0ampa, as well as "local" issues that may have not made it onto the national stage, haven't helped... but the image of the fire service seemed to have taken a downward turn after riding high after 911.

    The other question we need to ask is how can we change it? That will certainly be a community-by-community answer, but there is no doubt that we need to get out in the public view and certainly do a better job of letting the public know what we do. Are there some departments that probably don't do enough? At risk of being bashed, probably yes, and that applies to volunteer and career? Are there departments that allow thier employees/volunteers to continue practices that give them a bad image? Definatly. So the thing that needs to happen is each department needs to look in the mirror and see themselves as a MEMBER OF THE PUBLIC would see them. After this they need to look at what they see, and make the changes that are required. At times it can be tough, and at times it may require personnel changes, but if the fire service is to ever be as successful as law enforcement in terms of staffing and funding... it's a painful phase some departments may have to go through.

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    After reading the whole story, I put together a nice, four-paragraph reply to his drivel. Of course, before sending it off or saving it -- you guessed it -- the lights blinked and my computer rebooted. To write it again would constitute spending too much energy on this guy.

    However, as some of you have said, his opinions are not uncommon. Last week, the state police shut down the primary four-lane boulevard through my city to investigate a fatality MVA. Although it did occur during the afternoon rush, traffic was detoured to side streets and (with a bit of patience) was able to get where they were going.

    One idiot walks at least two blocks up to the scene and starts in on our chief. He tells chief that the people who have the nerve to block off traffic should be forced to sit in it so they know how it feels. Although chief was way too nice to this guy, he did try to explain the situation -- including the fact that there had been a fatality. Of course, that didn't faze this guy. He didn't care about our purpose on scene... He didn't care about what had happened to begin with... He just wanted to know why our big engine was blocking the road.

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    Just to clarify my post in case there was any confusion ...

    There are times that we will do things that will upset the public, that need to be done. An example of this is blocking off a road for an investigation, or the personal safety of our firefighters. These cannot be avoided ... and will upset some folks. This can be minimized if the department has a functioning PIO who is avaialble to the media to fully explain the situation. There are other methods of informing the public of why we acted in a specific way at a specific scene that can be utilized, but that would be for another discussion at another time.

    My post refers to the stupid acts that some firefighters perform in public, or even those that occur beyond closed doors that bring bad press to thier agency. This is what I am refering to when I talk about "looking at ourselves in the mirror" ... I was not referring to the everyday scene stuff that unavoidadly ****es people off.

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    Originally posted by cozmosis

    One idiot walks at least two blocks up to the scene and starts in on our chief. He tells chief that the people who have the nerve to block off traffic should be forced to sit in it so they know how it feels. Although chief was way too nice to this guy, he did try to explain the situation -- including the fact that there had been a fatality. Of course, that didn't faze this guy. He didn't care about our purpose on scene... He didn't care about what had happened to begin with... He just wanted to know why our big engine was blocking the road.
    I'd be tempted to walk him up to the wreck, lift the tarp and SHOW him why the road is blocked.

    We can't do this of course, but it would certainly send a clear message.

    Had a serious Semi Vs pickup T-bone with an extended extrication. Hiway closed, and helecopter landed on the pavement between roadblock and accident. Had a guy manover his car around a semi because he 'couldn't see'. I re-manovered a blocking vehicle to block his view and went to have a conversation with him.

    How do you change the perception of people who are so numbed to the reality of what is actually involved in a serious accident, that they are going to pull stunts like this, or drive by, camera in hand yelling to ask if anyone died...


    IMO the general public doesn't have a clue about the impacts of a bad MVA on the people involved in the crash, the health care system, the first responders, the police, etc...

    IT takes some sort of an incedent where people are directly impacted for them to understand the gravity of what is going on, and the dangers to emergency services workers.


    If you take for example 9/11. The FF's there weren't doing anything out of the ordinary for their jobs. They put thier lives at risk every time they go out. It took the TV dissimenation, and the massive loss of life for the whole world to stand up and take notice. The outpouring of support for firefighters was tremendous. And rightfully so.


    The loss of a loved one in a wreck, or a fire, or whatever is no less tragic to the families of those involved just because its a head on collision, or a Tbone, or a rollover. They happen every day right? But not to you and me.

    I can't believe I'm still ranting... I'm getting to my point. Really.

    I'll go back to public education. Like explaining why it is important for us to have our lights AND siren going at 2:00 in the morning when leaving the hall past a residential area to go to an accident or a fire... The general public still may complain about the noise or traffic delay or whatever the flavor of the month is. Just wait until it is their family who needs us. Then it is the question of why did it take so long... etc..

    End rant...

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    Angry

    I found this in this guys blog section


    "That’s a good idea about getting a ride in a fire truck. Except that aside from picking up couch potatoes who have had heart attacks, most fire departments today rarely make any real fire runs. That is another indisputable fact that the “responders” hate to hear.

    I believe his reference to “responders” (another nice made-up word, like “providers”) refers to an editorial column in the June 16 issue of the print edition of Machine Design. In it, I tell how I saw something like 14 safety vehicles and on the order of 50 firemen, policemen, and EMS personnel show up to drag a body out of the water after it had been dead for three days. I surmised that all these people heard the call on the local police and fire frequencies and then, without being assigned, came to the scene to see what was happening. What else can a person conclude other than that they were satisfying their curiosity and putting some excitement in a dull day? Yet when I pointed this out, a whole bunch of “responders” got mad at me. These guys are incorrigible. Even when it is obvious they are doing something goofy, they mouth off at anyone criticizing them. My observation may have been insulting, but it is a valid conclusion to draw from what I saw.

    Finally, I have another overly long highway closure to report. This one concerns a truck rolling off the highway in a one-vehicle accident where two Interstates intersect. From what I can see in a photo, the truck extends only over the berm of one road and is clear of the other. One of the Interstates was closed for four hours and the other for more than 12 hours."

    [URL=http://forums.machinedesign.com/eve/ubb.x/a/tpc/f/7890016462/m/1280011133]

    This guy is nuts. I would like to beat this guy with a wet noodle

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    Vaguely off topic, but what is a MUTT?
    Isiah 43: When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    9-11-01. We Will Never Forget You.

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    Skipjack.. go here...

    http://foolsinternational.com/

    click on the "alphabet"
    ‎"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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    Gotcha.... Thanks Capt. I knew there had to be a reasonable explanation.
    Isiah 43: When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    9-11-01. We Will Never Forget You.

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    Rual,You could have saved some typing by just inquiring why people don't have a clue.Watch the movie "Clueless"sometime,it speaks volumes.We live in a me/mine world.IE what's in it for me? If it doesn't affect them,they don't want to know about it.If it DOES,it's "how long before I can get going?"'When are you people gonna get my brother out""When can I get in my house?(Hint:AFTER I put the fire out!)"You're keeping me from a very important engagement!"(Well,there are other roads)and my personal favorite:Oh,I can get thru there.(While I have a three part line of 1" wire rope strung across the entire road about 3 feet off the asphalt;Good luck,convertibles while you wait.)We're lucky,we have good Fire officers and good Law enforcement people who have higher priorities than traffic expediency.And for those who still can't grasp why the road's closed ask them if they know the meaning of the word: L I T I G A T I O N!!!!!!!. T.C.
    Last edited by Rescue101; 06-27-2005 at 04:32 PM.

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    Default steamed

    Thanks Rescue101...

    I'm still steamed... unbelievable.

    I did send a reasonably coherent email to the editor....

    Made me feel a little better.

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    Brothers, I think you're wasting your time trying to change this self-centered mutt's opinion...seems pretty intractable.

    It is a good reminder though to try and educate the more resonable majority of the general public on how many of us as well as cops and EMTs & Medics are killed in struck by accidents every year and what we are doing to try to change it.
    FTM-PTB-DTRT

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    Nice to know that this MUTT has the time to drive past an accident and remain in the area long enough to know what responds, but I have not noticed where he has ever lifted a finger to help out...

    I also liked how we "sit around listening to the radio for a call to go on" - must be hell on dispatchers when units dispatch themselves to other's calls.

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    Talking Well..................

    I sent a reply also, very civil, and offered him a Ride-along if he ever gets to the DC area. "A look at what we face....." I'll let y'all know if he accepts.... Thing is, If he does, it'll be a slow night. Right Rick??...... Rick?? ......??
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    our friend here has stated much the same to another article in which he wrote, you can see his ramblings here

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    What a moron.
    May we never forget our fallen, worldwide.

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    Lightbulb warning...long post!

    I responded to Ron Kohl.. here was my post on his blog forum....

    Originally posted by Ron Khol:
    Let’s see if we can put a cap on this. And if the following sounds familiar to some of you, it is because portions have already appeared in e-mails I have sent in reply to your letters.

    To all you firemen and EMS people who are criticizing my column in the print magazine and these blog items, let me say this. The vast majority of you have never worked for a magazine nor written a column. Therefore, you aren’t qualified to criticize those of us who work on magazines or write columns for a living. You don’t know the pressures we are under. You don’t know what it is like to spend a whole day in a cubicle, with people passing by within a foot of where you are sitting, while you type at a word processor, worrying about your grammar, word choice, and overall impression you will be making on a demanding readership.

    Au contraire... Fire incident reports are legal documents. All the t's have to be crossed, the i's and j's dotted, all of the data has to be factual and grammatically correct, especially if the fire officer is subpoenaed to a deposition in a civil or criminal case. I have been there and done that, spending an afternoon in a courtroom testifying at an inquest for a wrongful death suit.

    You want to talk about pressure?

    How about being in command of a multiple alarm fire with all of the news media watching everything you do and having it broadcast on the evening news. If it is a major incident, it could be picked up by the networks and broadcast all over the country.

    How about pulling up as a member the first due Engine company at a house fire and finding a distraught parent screaming "my kids are still in there!"?

    How about responding to a medical call for an infant who isn't breathing?

    The pressure of meeting a deadline for a column pales in comparison. You see, Mr. Kohl, not only am I a fire officer and second in command of my group, I am also a freelance writer and reporter for two local newspapers and I have also been published in one of our trade magazines, Firehouse. I am also a part of owner of a firefighter website.

    When I am not in the front seat of the Engine or in the command car, I am in my version of the "cubicle" known as the Shift Commander's office doing fire and EMS reports, writing proposals for new standard operating procedures and guidelines, assigning inspectional details, setting up training sessions and the other duties that are required by my position.


    Have you every worked for a fire chief who would invite you to three-hour martini lunches, then force you to pick up the check so that the bill shows up on your expense account rather than his? Probably not. You get back to the office barely sober, then have to find your way home at 5:00 pm coming off a hangover. But it is all part of being in the publishing business.

    No, I haven't. My job requires abstaining from imbibing alcholic beverages while I am on duty or due to be on duty... to paraphrase the airline pilot's adage... "eight hours between the bottle and the nozzle". After attending a "Young Heroes" awards and recogntion ceremony at the State House in Boston, I was taken out to lunch at a pricey Italian restaurant in the North End and my Chief paid for it out of his own pocket, as he has no "expense account".

    Question for you, Mr. Kohl. Your expense account is a tax deductible item for your company, is it not? Consider it as a cost of doing business... your accountants do!


    The training required in the publishing business is back-breaking. Start with your basic four-year college degree, add a couple of years in industry, then it is into the maelstrom of publishing. And the training continues with day-long seminars on sexual harassment, sensitivity training, team building, and corporate goals, all of which are excruciating experiences. I can assure you, I would rather scrape people up off the highway than go to another team-building exercise. I would rather pull someone from a burning building than hear one more time that sexual harassment is whatever the woman says it is. And I won’t even get into the necessity of writing annual budget forecasts or helping a boss fudge the numbers so that on paper it looks as though we made our bogey. That would be unnecessarily upsetting to most people.

    The training to be a firefighter, police officer or paramedic is just as back breaking, in the literal sense. One must first take the entrance examinations, train for and take the physical agility test, medical and psychological exams. Then one has to wait for an opening in the fire/Police/EMS department to occur. The candidate is then required to attend the Fire Academy, Police Academy or paramedic school (no picinic, I can assure you) Many departments are requiring a candidate to have a college degree before even being considered eligible to take an entrance exam, as well as a promotional exam.

    After going through the testing process, getting hired and going throught the academy, the firefighter/police officer/paramedic must do their probationary time, an "internship" so to speak. One can be fired for any infraction of the rules, even minor. Talk about pressure!

    The learning process never stops, as there are certifications to maintain, as well as constant training on the basics and the advanced technologies to keep one's skills sharp. If one decides to go for a promotion, there are the expenses of buying texbooks (my promotional exams for Lieutenant, Captain and Deputy Chief cost me over $1500+ in textbooks) and investing hundreds if not thousands of hours studying.

    As far as team building exercises and sexual harrassment seminars, they exist in the fire service, law enforcement and EMS as well and hashed and rehashed every year, especially with the number of female firefighters, cops, EMT's and paramedics entering the services. Chief officers, training officers and those fire personnel with specialized jobs have to write out their budget proposals and hope and pray that they do not get cut out of the budget. If they do get funds, it's nowhere near the amount they need and then they play "loaves and fishes" trying to do as much as they can to train the multitudes with as little as possible.

    In my 23+ years as a firefighter, I have pulled the bodies of children out of house fires; I have literally scraped people off the highway, done cpr on infants and close family friends. Your cubicle is a safe haven compared to what I and other firefighters deal with on a daily basis. Try responding to an overdose at a crack house, or to a birthday party where the guest of honor has been pulled out of the pool pulseless and apneic (breathless, ie., clinically dead).

    Try responding to an incident in a machine shop, where hazardous materials are spilled all over the floor and near possible ignition sources, or a report of a fire in an apartment complex at 3AM in a blizzard.


    Then there are the tradeshows we have to attend. Sure it lets us build up humongous amounts on airline mileage plans and stay in top hotels at major resort destinations. Add to that dinners with customers in expensive restaurants. I can tell you that gets old pretty fast when your basement needs painting and your storm windows need to be taken down for the summer.

    There are tradeshows that firefighters attend as well as educational seminars both in state and out of state. Couple that with a rotating work schedule, mandatory overtime, callbacks for fires and other incidents, nights, weekends and holidays and you will see that we in the protective services also have to put off home improvement and repairs until a later date.


    In another vein, I hope you never need the services of an astute magazine editor who does you the favor of showing you reality. If you happen, God forbid, to end up badly in need of a magazine editorial such as mine, even if I knew you were the one needing it, I am duty-bound to provide you with the most incisive writing I possibly can. And when you need that article, you will be thankful that I am here to provide it.

    Your arrogance is showing there, Ron. In the same vein, I hope you never require the services of the Fire, Police and EMS departments, for what we do as a living is reality. If you happen, God forbid, to end up in need of fire/rescue, police and EMS services, we are duty bound to provide you with a standard of care and professionalism that we are required to provide; and when you need that service, you will be thankful that we are here to provide it!


    You might walk by an editorial office sometime and notice that about half the people are either staring out the window, reading the newspaper, or away from their desks. But don’t assume that means we are overstaffed. The required staff level, by definition, is determined by the money budgeted for it.

    People see 3 firefighters and an officer (Captain/Lieutenant) on a fire truck (more than likely just 2 firefighters and the officer with present day staffing levels) going out to do an inspection and ask "why does it take so many people to check a couple of smoke detectors? Its called maintaining crew integrity, and an opportunity to refamiliarize onself with the structures and target hazards in their respective districts. The required staffing levels for fire departments is also determined by budgetary constraints. Communities have been cutting police and fire departments to feed the voracious and insatiable appetite of the monster that is the school system.

    Politicians are like CEO's and board members... they percieve what they are doing is right (usually thinking with their wallets instaed of their brains), and if it doesn't affect them, it's a non existant problem. Unfortunately, it does affect the very constituents that they have been elected to serve. They are playing "russian roulette" with public safety, but it is their finger on the trigger and the gun is up against the resident's heads. They spin the chamber and hope that the community dodges the bullet. If the "gun" goes off and people die, they in no way accept any responsibility, though they do take credit for keeping the tax rate low.


    In summary, you shouldn’t criticize a magazine columnist unless you have spent time in at least one or preferably two of our shoes. You should spend a 24-hour shift in an editorial office to see how difficult it is. Or you should go along on an editorial call to see how difficult it is to interview someone. Don’t criticize things about which you have no knowledge.

    Spend a 24 hour tour of duty with a fire department, you may luck out and get a quiet tour, or run your buns off! Take a good hard look in the mirror, Ron.. it's time to practice your own advice!

    His answer to that was...

    So that makes seven firemen who don't comprehend satire, even when I spell it out for them. Did NASA shut down and send all the rocket scientists to fire departments?

    For those of you who haven't been following the thread, my second posting up is satirical. My next posting explains that it is satire.
    My next reply...

    We are firefighters, Ron. Firemen take care of boilers and heating plants! Most editors preface their column with a note that the article is satirical. Nice try backpedalling, but the damage has been done. An apology to the public safety professionals of this great nation is in order.

    PS: after reading everything else in your "blog".. is that satire too, or you are like Professor Irwin Corey... the world's foremost authority about nothing?

    Stay tuned to "As the Mutt Burns"
    Last edited by CaptainGonzo; 06-28-2005 at 03:57 PM.
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    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    Thumbs up

    Good Job Capt.

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    I guess the thing I can't figure out about this flaming dickhead is how he manages to stand by and watch these responses roll in from us and stand back and continue to defend his article.

    If the orginal article was written out of a lack of knowledge, he has by now been more than educated. But, he continues to put us down making comments about all the "rocket scientists from NASA leaving and going to the fire department".

    He also mentioned in one of his posts on his blog that he "has no friends". I CAN'T POSSIBLY IMAGINE WHY!!!!

    'Cause ya know...everyone loves a pompous, self-indulgent, arrogant asswipe!

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    Default But wait... there's more

    I stumbled across this:

    "You seem to think I pick on the downtrodden. I reviewed the content of this Blog from Day One, and the people and institutions I criticize are well able to defend themselves. Here is a partial list: Fidelity Investments, Psychiatrists, Psychologists, corporate management in general and the management of automobile companies in particular, air-traffic controllers, the Pharmaceutical industry, banks, the credit card industry, the recording industry, politicians, policemen, major-league sports, Jane Fonda, college professors, the whole nation of Canada, Airbus Industries, and Alan Greenspan."


    This guy is a piece of work. (I take extra exception to the Canada thing )

    I am officially done with wasting any more time and effort with this guy.

    CaptGonzo. Perhaps you could post his picture with the definition of MUTT?

  25. #25
    Permanently Removed

    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Southeast Iowa
    Posts
    158

    Default



    MUTT!!

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