Bennett Winner and FDNY Medal Day.Are medals counter intuitive to safety messages?

Ladder 132 firefighter is awarded the year’s top medal for work on Putnam Avenue.

Back in March Dave LeBlanc wrote an article about Victim Survivability Profiling in contrast to the Bedford-Stuyvesant fire that earned FDNY firefighter Peter Demontreux the NY Daily News ‘Hero of the Month’; the FDIC Ray Downey Courage and Valor Award; and today one of the FDNY’s two highest medals of valor.

You can read Dave’s entire article here, and if you click on the medal day program page on the left you can read about all of the recipients.

Medal days, large or small, can be joyful as well somber times for fire departments. The retelling of actions affirm personal values within the fire service as well as promote cultural messages.

My question to you is, are medal days a unknowing opponent to the various fireground safety messages promoted by various organizations? In the case of Putnam Avenue, Dave highlighted the contrast between the theory of victim survivability profiling with the actions of Firefighter Demontreux and other FDNY firefighters. If, as the research in victim survivability profiling states, firefighters die for victims that could be deemed unsurvivable then what do the actions cited and awarded today in New York City say?

Is there a mixed message? I personally don’t think so, however some might say there is and some might say we should do away with medal days.

What do you believe?

Firefighter Peter Demontreux and family (FDNY photo)

“FDNY Medal Day”, Firegeezer
“Boston Medal Day 2011”, Backstep

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