We're all going to die. Eventually.
Author Note: A mistake was found in the data I record. Asheville, NC Captain Jeff Bowen was not included. This post and the Fire Service Sabremetrics page have been updated. – Bill
You will recall that we called your attention to an article which reported on a USFA department chief speaking at the Volunteer Chief Officer Symposium in Clearwater, Florida. During his presentaton, Ken Farmer is quoted as saying,
""Stop fighting interior fires," he said. "Don't go into those fires anymore. It's not worth it. They build disposable houses these days. Our lives are not disposable."
By fighting fires from the outside, he believes firefighters will be safer and more line of duty deaths will be prevented.
"Every day I drive by the flag. If you've ever been to the National Fire Academy and never seen the flags at half staff, you haven't been there for more than 24 hours.""
The reactions and discussions have been interesting, to say the least. As expected the range goes from chest-beating fatalisim to mother-may-I policy proposals.
It is important to consider, especially when one raises the issue of line of duty deaths as their reason, their support, that the proper understanding of data is known before joining an internet lynch mob. Below are our line of duty deaths specifically involving firefighting for this year, to date. 77 firefighters are officially recorded as having died in the line of duty. Of them, and not countng two that are officially linked to the effects of working at Ground Zero (according to USFA), 10 firefigters have died to date specifically, actively, fighting fire, either inside the burning structure or atop it. This does not include six who died fighting wildfires.
Deaths involving Disorientation: 1 
Deaths in Educational, Institutional, Commercial and Industrial Occupancies: 5
2: Coal Bin
Deaths in Vacant/Abandoned Structures: 0
10 out of 77, or if we include those linked to Ground Zero, 12 out of 77.
Why the fear? Why the absolutes, the "stop fighting interior fires" and generalization of "those fires"? Why, when the numbers tell us greater things are killing us?
Hey, I'm your fear
I'm the one who takes you out
Hey, I'm your fear
I'm the one who doubts
They, they betray
I'm your only true safety
They, they'll betray
I'm forever out
I'm your dream, make you flee
I'm your eyes, you cannot see
I'm your pain causing you to flee, sad but true
I'm your dream, mind astray
I'm your eyes while you're away
I'm your pain keeping you away
You know it's sad but true, sad but true
Video image courtesy Metallica. "Sad but True" lyrics, revised by author.
Also on Backstep Firefighter …
- The First 10 – May 9, 2013
- The Third 10* – June 18, 2013
- The Second 10* – May 11, 2013
- Jacksonville Working:
Helmet Cam Video from First-Due Nozzleman – May 15, 2013