Unscientific Culture Study: Milwaukee

milwaukee_logoIt is often quite interesting to see what others define as “aggressive” or “interior firefighting”. It is also interesting to see the manner, or context, in which the definitions arise. Case in point, Milwaukee Wisconsin. Following the five alarm fire that hit while the department was dealing with house closings, a few local politicians began to seriously eye the city’s ability to handle multiple alarm fires and include outlying fire departments in their defense. This apparently became a sore spot for union president David Seager, who during a radio program, voiced strong opinion of the neighboring fire departments and subsequently defined “aggressive firefighting.”

“It’s blatantly clear that these communities, if called upon to respond to a working structure fire of any nature within the City of Milwaukee, they would have extreme difficulty … not to mention the fact that the City of Milwaukee conducts aggressive, offensive firefighting tactics, which means that we actually go into the building and fight the fire to reduce any further damage.”
Letter of response, West Allis Board of Police and Fire Commissioners
“Head of Milwaukee fire panel backs suburban firefighters” Journal Sentinel

It’s not as if the suburban neighbors are going to go off and pout and stop running calls in Milwaukee, if called upon. The commission president composed a well written response, and the head of Milwaukee’s commission did a polite political two-step in reaffirming confidence in his neighboring fire departments. However, neither response will carry the day like Seager’s definition of “aggressive” firefighting.

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3 Comments

  • Chuck says:

    Another ego speaking up. Maybe an aggressive interior attack when there is no life hazard to occupants could lesson the injuries and lives to firefighters. Its time to rethink the old ways. Dinosaurs lay Dinosaur eggs, meaning if we set bad examples for new firefighters than our firefighter fatalities will stay the same. Don’t be a dinosaur.

  • John says:

    Similar to the comment made by someone from the Chicago FD a month or two ago about suburban fire departments. That also went over like a lead ballon.

  • Josh Materi says:

    Chuck, how do we know there is no life hazard, what tools do you use to determine life or no life?

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Comments
Bill Schnaekel
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Ron Ayotte
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When moving up through the chain of command, one better learn the politics of the department and community without playing politics.
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