Wanted: Open Minds

The upcoming Firefighter Netcast program promises to be a good one, but not for the reasons you might think.

The staff of Firefighter Netcast have scheduled a very good program for this week however the subject matter is bringing its own problematic baggage. Taking off from a post by a fire service blogger, Fire Critic’s Rhett Fleitz carried the discussion further by commenting on the recent news that an Indiana fire department was facing a OSHA fine for a confined space close call. The point of the matter asked by both Rhett and tomorrow’s program guests is, ‘are the demands placed on volunteer firefighters harder today than years before?’ It is a simple question and a highly educational one as well. Unfortunately, the “baggage” is the career versus volunteer attitude that permeates such discussions. It’s true that in the source of the writings and conversations common attitudes and stereotypical beliefs were expressed, but the original question still lies unanswered for the volunteer fire service: are today’s demands making it hard to recruit and retain personnel?

So if you have an open mind then here is what the program is not about:

It is not about career firefighters being better than volunteer firefighters.

It is not about volunteer firefighters being stereotyped to lowly, abominable, inferior firefighters.

It is not about career departments taking over.

It is not about volunteer departments being the cheapest service.

What it is about is how can today’s volunteer firefighter keep up with the modern requirements despite the social, economic and family requirements in their personal lives? Personally, when I started all you had to do was sign up, attend and pass Maryland’s Basic Firefighter Training Course. That was it. No EMT; no hazmat; no NIMS. Sign up, pass and run calls. Everything after that was purely elective.

If you had to start all over again, in today’s day and age, would you? Would it be as easy as it may have been ‘back then?’ Is your department’s leadership expecting today’s new member to spend as much time at the firehouse as you did 10, 20 years ago?

Tune in to Firefighter Netcast: Is there is too much to know how to do, and do well, for a volunteer to keep up? Wednesday, 15 September 2100 EST. You can also download the program and listen to it later once it is aired.









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Backstep Firefighter

“To provide a point of critical thought about certain acts and events in the fire service while incorporating behavioral education and commentary in a referenced format.”
Comments
Burton Clark
Rhetorical Lesson No.12: Would Fewer Basics Work in Reducing Our LODDs?
All we need is one lesson with two parts. Follow all the S.O.Ps 100% correct, 100% of the time. Reason, anything less can get you and others killed. It also makes you a professional and defines a good firefighter.
2014-08-29 13:43:35
John Pignataro
Women and Children First by Dave LeBlanc
Bravo sir ...This battle began in the early 1990's having been a career DC Fireman for 30 yrs and a still active volunteer fireman for 37 the mentality has changed since 1977. Your article is clear and to the point but I am afraid the fire service maybe lost to the folks who preach the…
2014-08-23 01:12:28
Ben Waller
Women and Children First by Dave LeBlanc
Actually, the "Women and children first" idea cane from the sinking if the HMS Birkenhead. Now known as "The Birkenhead Drill", this stemmed from the ship beginning to sink, an inadequate number of lifeboats, and the Royal Marines and soldiers on board being called to formation and standing in ranks while the ships crew put…
2014-08-21 11:25:14
Ron Ayotte
Women and Children First by Dave LeBlanc
Bing-freaking-o!
2014-08-21 02:49:30
Brian Gary
Women and Children First by Dave LeBlanc
Very well written. I couldn't agree more with your statements. The problems are many, but they perpetuate and increase with every new class of recruits that are poisoned with the idea that anyone who feels unsafe has a responsibility to act and stop whatever is going on. When I came on, my instructors told me…
2014-08-21 02:04:23
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