The Eagle Tribune Newspaper and a disgruntled Derry Town councilor Janet Fairbanks are again in the news voicing their lack of support of the Derry Fire Dept (NH) and it's firefighter's. Below is the editorial which ran in the paper:

'We save lives' is no excuse for bullying
Eagle-Tribune


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We all know that firefighters risk their lives to save others. Indeed, firefighters themselves never miss an opportunity to remind others of that fact.

However, that danger comes with the territory. It is part of the job. When someone signs up to be a firefighter, he or she does so understanding it is dangerous work.

Doing dangerous work entitles firefighters to a certain amount of admiration and respect. But it is not a license to engage in any sort of obnoxious behavior they may choose. Nor does it grant unrestricted access to public property and money.

Derry, N.H., Town Councilor Janet Fairbanks has gotten a taste of the sense of privilege held by firefighters across the nation over her criticism of fire Chief George Klauber for permitting the use of a ladder truck at a firefighter's wedding. Fairbanks' criticism prompted a new policy that prohibits employees from bringing town vehicles to social events.

This was a minor infraction that resulted in good town policy. Town vehicles should not be used for town employees' social events. Town vehicles are for town business.

But someone in Derry did not see things that way. Someone sent an account of the story to www.firehouse.com, a Web site featuring national news about fires and related topics. The result was a barrage of e-mails from firefighters around the country to Fairbanks. Some bordered on harassment.


"Nit pickin' with the chief about the time that was spent setting up the ladder truck is ridiculous," one e-mail read. "Get off your high horse and make friends with all who are in a place to save lives."

Well, it was only a matter of time before the old "we save lives" catch-all excuse appeared. And as always, it is inappropriate.

The fact that firefighters save lives does not entitle them to use town property as they choose. Fairbanks was right to raise the criticism and firefighters should have been big enough to take it without launching a national bullying campaign against her.

Real heroes don't whine when things don't go their way.



Ms. Fairbanks has also complained that the Chief of Dept has an unmarked car and that firefirefighters go to the grocery store as well as other take care of erands during their tour of duty (24 hour shift). Ms. Fairbanks seems hellbent on making life for our firefighters a living hell. Feel free to email Ms. Fairbanks@ jfairbanks@ci.derry.nh.us with your comments.