We Won!

No, not that but something much better.

We won, all of us, but you might not be aware, or you might be and just don’t understand what it is we won.

FDNY firefighter Robert Wiedmann walked out of the hospital today. Three months and four days after being burned in a Crown Heights fire he walked out under his own power. But here is the catch; we didn’t win in that Hallmark-style feel-good, cheesy “brotherhood” sense.

This isn’t a collective victory for everyone who likes to don the t-shirt and coattail; that kind will never understand, never fully realize and appreciate how much was done, years ago, to make sure firefighter Wiedmann went home.

This also isn’t a collective victory for the ‘egh’ crowd (lower case, so not to be confused with the official, respectable “EGH” effort and supporters) who are quick to anonymously cite chapter and verse of every single fireground “thou shalt not” while failing to remove the plank from their own eye.

This is a victory for those of us who recognize that this is not a game, not a hobby, not a calling but a profession. A profession where regardless of whether or not you get paid for your service, you understand the great responsibility of shaping your fire department through probably the only two constant influences found in any fire department in this country, education and personal responsibility.

When you share his story on Facebook, or talk it up among your friends, replay that video of Wiedmann in that window full of flame, think about a few things before you get too boastful.

Where would we be if someone didn’t decide we need better PPE?

Where would we be if someone didn’t study thermal burn injuries?

Where would we be if someone wasn’t studying ventilation and flow paths to offer us new ways to attack a fire better, safer?

Where would we be if there weren’t people out there testing our PPE and SCBA to find and identify their points of failure?

Where would we be if the guy riding with us didn’t really care about being better, working smarter, mentoring the younger guy?

Now think about this; there are people out there, doing these very things. When they can be successful and present us new tactics, better gear and a respectable attitude it is our job to take personal responsibility of their gifts and use them as best as we can.

 

When we do that, and have the misfortune of facing what Firefighter Wiedmann faced, we can win.

 

 

It makes that "doin' whatever it takes" dress-wearing mentality even more foolish, doesn't it?

 

 

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.

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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.”

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Comments
william Schnaekel
Holding 1&1: First Due Engine Officer Discussion
Erik, first off, I apologize for the delayed response. I'll keep this short and simple. I think I would have done the same thing as you. I'm not much for what some would consider calling a transitional attack, but in this case, certainly it seems to apply. Call it what you will, if the first…
2015-08-23 13:23:30
william Schnaekel
On The Job
Thank you, L. Brown and welcome to the greatest job on earth. :)
2015-08-23 13:10:47
David Delauter
Death During Search, 2010 to Present Part I
Great article. I am looking forward to the rest of the series. I am going to share this with my wife. I predominantly run EMS, but, have fire training as well. Age gets upset with me when I am on the fire side because she is terrified something is going to happen to me. Any…
2015-08-19 20:35:28
Jon Alberghini, Retired Chief KFD
“Fiyah” Thoughts from District Chief Pettaway
"Know your District". I learned that from Retired Chief Dan Martell, Boston FD in 1974. Always praticed and preached it. Glad to see you are preaching that today. I hope the choir is listening.!
2015-08-03 01:23:25
Joe canavan
“Fiyah” Thoughts from District Chief Pettaway
Just made lieutenant, that's the first fire video I stayed awake for. Keep them coming. I can use all the help I can get!
2015-07-30 23:52:11
AFTDIMage
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