A Little Bit of Gas, a Whole Lot of Stupid

STATter911 story reveals ignorance in the 21st Century

"Junior firefighter critically burned in PA training exercise. Brush pile doused with gasoline."

Sigh.
Proof that despite all the magazines, websites, podcasts, webcasts, expos, conferences, hands-on training, NIOSH reports, TSL emails, FB coat-tailing, Near-Miss accounts, telegraph, telephone and tell a fireman, the messages are not being understood.

The disconnect lies not in the delivery but in the receipt and yes, the fire service needs to look outside itself for help. And yes, again in reply to emails and FB messages, had this been fatal it would have fit the official definition of an on-duty death.

There may come a time when the collective body of nationally known fire service figures publicly unite with one voice directly calling out such ignorance as what happened here. Maybe the fire service needs to be more direct and stop being that parent who tells their child, 'I'm going to count to three. One….two…three,' and still does nothing punitive. Maybe we need to be a bit more harsh towards blatant, almost intentional errors and also begin to really recognize individuals and departments doing things right. The system of showing up on Billy G's site or STATter911 or others (no offense toward their efforts at all) has almost been a sign of self excuse, a 'look, at least we're not as bad as this department' mentality where every fire is a circus, but some are only two-ring and not three.

Once we finally decide that funerals should be only a part of our service and not an identifier, maybe we'll get serious about what in the hell it is that everyone is trying to change in this culture.

This incident will likely go down as many other similar ones have. The kid will be 'cool' once out of the hospital, because of the support he and his family received from the "brothers" and that this is how our family "comes together." Mom and dad will appreciate the support of the department, another extension of "brotherhood" abused, not knowing that there are rules against this type of burn and they could probably take the chief and the department to the cleaners.

If the fire service were a troubled individual, he would have to see a counselor because his actions show him repeating the same choices and expecting a different outcome each time.

That's the definition of insanity, folks.

 

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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1 Comment

  • Ron Ayotte says:

    Bill.. you have written another balls on accurate bullseye on target grand slam article.
    These "firefighters" should be held accountable…  each and every one of them.
     

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