A brief commentary on the stupidest thing I have seen in the fire service.
Mark Twain said “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence in society.” In the past months we’ve read of the firefighters in the District of Columbia having to deal with the antagonistic decisions of their fire chief and his refusal of uniform shirts (paid for, sitting in boxes in a warehouse) because of a logo he personally doesn’t like. The latest in that story is the questioning of whether or not the firefighters burned almost a year ago would have had lesser injuries if these uniform shirts had been distributed.
It is a complex issue, especially when you speak to a D.C. firefighter and listen to him explain the leadership problems, declining morale and other matters that haven’t been aired by the local media.
Move to Minnesota and you find a news story somewhat related to PPE and safety and unfortunately overwhelming stupidity.
We all know about the Padua Minnesota parade and the two firefighters caught on the local news station’s (can’t get that pulled down like you can on YouTube can you?) video starting to extinguish a vehicle fire while wearing dress gowns. Dumb, yes. Was it stupid, reckless and lacking thoughtfulness in their actions? Yes, but take a look at some of the “supporting” comments on this from various pages:
“Lighten up folks…they were hardly "risking their lives" hitting the flames from 20-30 feet away. Now had they been working up close your concerns would be more valid. Don't tell me that if you were present at a fire you wouldn't do what you could with what you have available even if it meant standing at a window in your jammy joes with a garden hose.”
Jammy Joes? No, however I do know truckies who in all their PPE used the kitchen sink hose while the engine was stretching the line.
“After watching the video, was what they did unsafe yes in a right to work state they could be fired for that, with out being heard or any recourse, 1. they know the risk and danger they put themselves in, 2. Had they waited to gear up there may have been greater danger in that the fire would have grown. Just my 2 cents.”
"Had they waited to gear up?" What, were they going to make the PPE first?
“A firefighter will fight fire … naked…. it is in their blood…when that alarm goes off …. they go… no questions… no hesitations ..”
No, that’s not the job in your blood, that’s a rush of adrenaline and your mind not reacting to your stupid self trying to run a line buck naked, that’s what that is.
Ok People take a chill pill….no harm done look after what those guys go through on a regular basis I think it was awesome!! It says something about those guys wether they had dresses on or gear they didn`t worry about themselves they took care of the emergency on hand!!! Their professionals an it doesn`t matter where they are or how there dressed!!! What if a firefighter had the night off an him an his family were on there way to dinner and they seen a car on fire (Its the same thing) And no one was on the scene yet they are gonna jump into action as that is what they are trained to do…how many firefighters do you know that wear their gear every place they go? I know quite a few firefighters and they don`t!!!
On the way to dinner? Well I only drive an Oldsmobile, but when we take the wife's TDA, we make sure we have our PPE with us. Seriously, what are you going to do at an auto fire that the local PD can't do with lights, flares and an extinguisher? Me, I'll be heading on to that popular spelling and grammar lesson at the community center while you beat the flames out with your J.Crew pullover.
For real? You people are downing these dudes for standing 20-30 feet back to put out a truck fire. two words for ya "ketchup dick". Quite playing super hero firefighter with yourself and take the video for what it is… two people coming back from an event who came across a truck fire. Put your text books away clown punchers. you are not impressing anyone with your knowledge of vehicle fires.
Wow, "clown puncher"…I got nothing. Although this depth perception of 20 to 30 feet is a bit off.
"Traditionally, Dave Statter's page is only commented on by f*ck ups and retards who only know how to Monday morning quarterback."
Priceless in so many ways.
“Was anybody entrapped? I can support maybe exposure protection from a distance without any PPE at all, but it seems pretty reckless to go offensive in highly flammable chiffon if no one's life was in the balance.”
That's right, because if you're going to make that grab any old off the rack dress simply will not work.
“Seriously people? Take your noses out of your textbooks and quit judging. They were in a parade and were out of service, but they went ahead and helped anyway. They stayed upwind and the man on hose was ducking any time some smoke made its way to him. Was anybody hurt? No. While I agree that you should always have PPE, sometimes you find yourself in situations. This constant judgement is what made me leave my dept. it's sad to see it exists everywhere.”
There might be some wisdom in that one. You never know when you’ll find yourself in that nice black cocktail dress wondering, ‘Damn, where did I put the irons? I need to force this door quick!’
“Lots of people hating on these two about no Scba or ppe. While ppe is an issue if you had a fire truck and no ppe would you really just watch something burn? I doubt it.” “A lot of judgemental people out there! Just sayin! Would you rather watch it burn? What if it was YOUR vehicle and you saw two Firefighters standing there… doing NOTHING! You would be upset! I guess they are in a lose-lose situation which is really sad!”
What would I do? I'd move to another town. Not because they were wearing dresses (well, maybe) but because they were so narrow-minded that they believed they needed to be out of service. There's a reason why they make compartments – it's to put stuff like gear into.
“Since is was a parade they probably weren't a first truck out, therefore not having gear is understandable.”
There goes that whole "seconds count" argument once you take a rig out of service for a parade.
“As always, no matter the situation, the volunteer firefighters do an awesome job.”
“These guys are real heroes”
Not exactly the best PR image, but it could be worse. (Dear Lord, please don't let there be a worse one.)
“I have fought/knocked down several car fires before putting on all of my gear yes its still dangerous but put the textbooks down and leave em alone people. I saw the pics they didn't look too close to me”
True, not like they got burned during a residential sprinkler demonstration (Ouch) but do we need textbooks to emphasize common sense and reach of stream?
Ron’s (Ayotte) question is worth seriously considering,
“Hypothetical question…. if the defecation hit the oscillating rotating air movement device and one or both of these two clowns were severely burned and died… would you support them being line of duty deaths?”
As are the replies,
“Yes, because they are firefighters doing what firefighters do, No matter what the emergency or where the emergency is, Firefighters will be there……….that does not take away the fact that these fools are embarrassing to the profession !”
“So if they had PPE on and burned and died it would have been okay? Its what we do. You ride by an accident in your personal vehicle you don't stop because you don't have PPE. Or even run into a house when someone is hollering my baby is in there..Its what we do.”
So there you have it. Fighting a vehicle fire in a dress, without any PPE because we’re heroes and it’s what we do that is reasonable. If you find it stupid, then you’re a nose-in-the-textbook hater.
That is a big question to consider – would your line of duty death ruling and benefits be complicated by some measure of shortsightedness on your part? It's worth looking into now instead of while your family and "brothers" are planning your funeral and wake.
Excuse me while get my jammy joes on and find a textbook to read at bedtime.
Bill Carey is the daily news and blog manager for Elsevier Public Safety (FireRescue Magazine/Firefighter Nation, JEMS and LawOfficer sites.) Bill also manages the FireEMSBlogs.com network and is a former volunteer lieutenant with the Hyattsville Volunteer Fire Department in Prince George's County, Maryland.
Also on Backstep Firefighter …
- Little Drops of Nuggets – September 26, 2013
- The Greatest Risk, Taking No Risk At All – November 12, 2013
- POV Crash, Ejection Latest On-Duty Death – December 4, 2012
- Video Discussion: Brooklyn Box 0212
All Hands at Coffee Shop Fire – January 20, 2013