It appears we have about the same number, or perhaps more, firefighter line-of-duty deaths this year as compared to last year. Considering the recent attempt to reduce and prevent firefighter deaths, someone recently wrote us and asked, "With all that is going on, why aren't we reducing these deaths quicker?"
When I was in grade school, my teacher (Mr. Matthews) would always tell us, "There is no such thing as a dumb question." So me, being the believer that I was, would ask any question or make any comment that came to mind. ANY question.
And due to me actually believing that he really meant that we could ask any questions, I got smacked hard (yeah, physically, they were allowed to do that back then) on numerous occasions for asking what turned out to be dumb questions. That teacher at Lakeville School would yell at me as loud as he could, "What is wrong with you Willie"?
Talk about DUMB questions.
The above question, "With all that is going on, why aren't we reducing these deaths quicker?", probably is a dumb question. When the final reports come out about how we died in 2005, it will look almost identical to 2004. Nuth'n new. And the changes are happening nationally but not always reaching the local level. It's going to take a lot more work, more time and much more of a serious commitment by everyone who "crawls down halls" and we will then start seeing more changes that matter to our future. After all, just look at what the IAFF, the IAFC, the NFFF, the NVFC, the USFA and others are all doing for us, their members, to improve firefighter survival. But if it doesn't happen on a local level, it will be a waste of time.
Without boring you, the solutions are often easy. It's just a matter of how badly we/me/you want to reduce the numbers, starting with a serious commitment by the firefighters and officers on each piece of apparatus, in every firehouse, to have everyone go home. Duh.
From a firefighting tactical standpoint, we suffer a minority of firefighter deaths all be it some of the absolute most horrific. Want some solutions to the "firefighting" death issue. We want some questions answered that some clown you work with may call dumb. Read these two superb pieces by retired FDNY Deputy Chief Vincent Dunn. He covers most of it.
These two pieces are simple, down-to-earth, no nonsense direction from the man who knows. Go to it, read it, print it, study it, drill it and train on it. Do that and most structural and related operational firefighter deaths can be reduced.
So as we kick off 2006, instead of re-preaching some of the other stuff the associations continue to push to help reduce firefighter injury and death, (health, fitness, traffic/driver safety, tactics etc) we thought we would just pass along some related actual quotes, questions and comments sent in (and heard) from our Brothers and Sisters from all parts of the USA that may or may not relate to the issues of firefighter safety and survival. You decide. You can then decide what kind of questions or statements these quotes are, and where it all fits in nationally, locally and especially in your firehouse. Check out the below comments and then ask yourself if,