How safe are we really? By Captain Jeffrey J. Schwering

Recently, I have been doing a lot of thinking, since returning from the FDIC.  We all know that can be a dangerous thing, but seriously Brothers and Sisters, in the Fire Service of today, “How safe are we really?”

We all know we can count on our Brothers and Sisters on the job, to cover our backs, but what about some of the people in this world, who are closest to us, who claim to be in our corner, come hell or high water.

The purpose of this article is to make all of us think about the many who swear by firefighters, but truth be known, the almighty dollar may be the driving force behind the shaking of our hands and the smiles we receive. Just to name a few  examples to examine, let me throw a couple out for your consideration, politicians, equipment salesman and the companies these folks represent in our industry, from Personal Protective Clothing, Breathing Apparatus, to Apparatus Manufacturers, and everything in between.

Politicians are our first stop, on this short little reading journey. We all have stories of politicians, both good and bad, some just horrible! Politicians are similar to firefighters, some get it, and some do not understand and never will. Politicians that get it are friends to the Fire Service to the end, just like true brothers. Those that are misinformed will be our best friends at elections and when an event occurs that they view as tragic, but we see as our jobs, no different from the misinformed firefighter, that is not a true brother!

Our next stop is the sales representatives that represent a variety of companies, selling products every Fire Department needs to do an effective job and do that job safely for our members and the civilians we to protect, everyday. In my humble Captain,’s opinion, a salesperson, can make or break the company or companies’ reputation in an instant.  At the FDIC, I met the good, the bad, and the truly ugly.  Many lines I had the “pleasure” of listening to were like listening to the politician at election time. If your department finds someone in sales that is trustworthy, you are among the lucky few. Pride, Honor, and Integrity are foundation of the American Fire Service. The majority of Firefighters understand this but, many salespersons and the companies they represent are lacking or missing the Integrity part. The products these companies sell are outstanding quality items, for the most part. The corporate decision makers truly worry me, as a Fire Officer.

This brings me to the title of this piece, “How safe are we really?” People wearing the nice suits, who assure us regularly that all is well, who have never crawled down a blackened hallway scare me! Brothers and Sisters, do your research on any item your department purchases. We must not accept freely what anyone is trying to sell, politician, sales representative, or company. We have to protect ourselves and assure ourselves of our own protection.

Be safe, we all have families to come home to. Take care of the member riding across from you, or in front of you. We are truly our Brothers Keeper!

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Marques Bush

Firefighter Basics launched in February 2009 after Founder/Editor Marques Bush was looking for a way to express himself and share his experiences with brother and sister firefighters. Shortly after founding the site Marques spoke with several trusted friends and ask them to come on board and contribute also. Firefighter Basics is a dedicated group of firefighters who strive everyday to practice what they preach about Training, Safety, and Tradition.  We can be reached at firefighterbasics@gmail.com
Comments
Hollie Broughton
Is This the Dumbing Down of the Fire Service?
I was left feeling a little offended here. Trying to have an open mind, but also trying to figure out why you have to knock Pump operators so badly. Full time, I see your point. But I volunteer. And am a Pump operator/ Firefighter. I was graced with only 48 hours of training and 4…
2014-07-08 19:16:19
Jack Crais
Blanket Rules Vs Training
I enjoyed the ideas espoused in the article, but doesn't the acronym "K.I.S.S." mean "Keep it simple, stupid" or, for those who worry about hurting someone's feelings, "Keep it sweet and simple"?
2014-06-27 18:59:01
dennis
Is This the Dumbing Down of the Fire Service?
it was just a matter of time until this became evident in the fire serice. Unfortunately the dumbing down as you call it, could be a direct result of the nation's professional fire service being forced to hire candidates that have lower grades on their employment exams due to racial and ethnic quotas being enforced.
2014-06-25 17:46:09
Johnny
Is This the Dumbing Down of the Fire Service?
When I was a probie, we had pre-determined pressures, and we knew the friction loss for our hoses, but our Captain ran us through hydraulics classes. While we might not use those formulas, I'm still convinced the understanding is indispensable if one wants to be a great chauffeur.
2014-06-24 05:04:43
Ray McCormack
Is This the Dumbing Down of the Fire Service?
This is defenity part of it. When we are too busy to drill that's one thing but when we don't even get a chance to learn the options that is another issue. Complaints of lazy firefighters will only increase when technology can be blamed and used as the scapegoat for not knowing your job.
2014-06-24 01:24:00

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