Blogging Then and Now

By Art Goodrich
Every now and then, I have to remind myself that I have been blogging for a long time.

My first article went up at Firehouse.com during the early days of the MembersZone feature. Back then, you could sign up for free, but if you paid, you could get content that wasn’t available with the free membership. That first article was posted in the “Volunteer’s Corner”.

From there, I went to the IACOJ website, where I posted several blogs in the “ChiefReason” section.

The Board there gave me a piece of their pie and we had many, many great discussions.
So many fond memories there; too many to count. From the many strangers that I met through the website, I was privileged to make many friends and it was done from both sides of a debate.

I always felt comfortable. It felt like a home and that I belonged.

Then, I went on a new adventure.

I was asked by the founder of FirefighterNation to come and join his new venture and that took me to FireEMSBlogs.com, where I managed to post 2-3 times a week, as well as participate in their forums.

That exposure lead to a slot on FirefighterNetcast, an up-and-coming blogtalkradio show that was gaining popularity. It was live and unscripted-right up my alley!

But, nothing ever remains the same and you look for new challenges or they find you.

However it happens, you find yourself somewhere else, doing what you love to do.

I have been with Fireengineering.com for more than a year now. Bobby, Peter and Scott have been a blast to work with.

From Firehouse.com to now, I have posted well over 400 articles. Anyone who has read my blog knows that I write about an array of subjects. Many have been about fire service issues and many more have not been.

Having the freedom to write about whatever I want is what draws me to blogging. I don’t expect everyone to get it and I certainly don’t expect everyone to agree with me. Anyone who has blogged for as long as I have has been called every name in the book and yet; that doesn’t serve to discourage me or to entertain thoughts of giving it up.

It DOES cause you to step back now and then to re-examine your words, because the right words properly presented can be powerful and the wrong choice of words can be hurtful.

And though I have always taken great pride in choosing the right words, I haven’t always been right. As I am not one to be satisfied with hitting for percentage; I don’t want to hit a home run at someone else’s expense, either.

Firefighter safety has always been close to my heart. I have advocated for it at the local, state and national levels. I have had the grand opportunity to use what I love to do to put it into the public arena as a blog.

During my active, fire career, my department made several, interior attacks. That was back in the days when doing a 360 simply wasn’t done by small departments. We had to rely on our training from smoke classes and building construction class to keep us safe. You see; back then, if the chief didn’t respond, it was the guy first on scene who was in charge.

It was only after taking tactics classes taught by the likes of Rick Lasky, John Mittendorf, Tom Freeman, Bob and Ray Hoff, Eddie Enright and many others that I realized the importance of doing a proper size up.

And still; we never made a rescue from a structural fire in those years then or since.

My rescues came as an EMT and as a rescuer at vehicle accidents and there were many.
There are many in the volunteer service like me, who go an entire career, believing that we were prepared to fight our way into a structure, race to the victim(s) and pull them out of Harm’s way, but will never know if our heart and our training were up to the task.

I still get excited and a little emotional when I hear or read about a crew that got in, made the grab and everyone went home.

I can’t say that I know that feeling, but I can say that the willingness of anyone to make that effort is one of the pillars that built America’s fire service.

Unless you write strictly opinion pieces, where you simply write within a single dimension, you have to do a lot of research, which in my case, requires a lot of reading. All of that reading goes into my blogs.

Risk management (safety) is how I make my living, so I tend to gravitate in that direction.

The best fire service book that I have ever read on firefighter safety is Paul Grimwood’s “Euro Firefighter”.

I don’t know if that was Paul’s intent for it to be a safety manual, but it is to me.

From the many case studies, interviews, NIOSH excerpts and strategies discussed in his book, it is written in a way that immediately impacts the reader with many key elements needed on the fireground by officers and firefighters alike. Paul is one of those authors who must be read. He absolutely knows what he is writing about. The last I knew, Paul held the highest fire service degree awarded in the UK AND he has worked out of some of the busiest stations in the UK. I am honored that he calls me “brother and friend”. I am humbled that he used some of my work in his book. If I never write again, I will always have that.

That brings me back to the point of this blog.

You can write something that has impact and relevance; you can state opinions designed simply to get a reaction or you can write what many others write about and in the process, get lost in the maddening crowd. It’s simple for me; I don’t want to go with the crowd.

When Priceless Paul Combs posts one of his extraordinary drawings, I always study it for several minutes, wanting to see every nuance and subtlety. His gift is that every drawing tells a story in vivid detail and he leaves no questions about his intent.

What Paul is able to accomplish with drawing pens and paper, I try to do with a combination of words. His is more visual and mine is more of a visualization.

While watching the movie “Contagion”, I was struck by a line that Elliot Gould’s character spoke to Jude Law’s character.

Gould said, “Blogging is graffiti with punctuation”.

Really?

I thought that blogging was a more highly-regarded medium than that. Why; some blogsites have been sold for millions.

Blogging has kept my brain hitting on all cylinders. This year, I will turn 60. Not only am I looking forward to it, but I am embracing it.

Six decades on this Earth with over three decades in the fire service.

I’ve got plenty left.

TCSS.

The views and opinions expressed are those of the author, Art Goodrich, who also writes under the name ChiefReason.  They do not reflect the views and opinions of www.fireengineering.com, Fire Engineering Magazine, PennWell Corporation or his dog, Chopper. Articles written by the author are protected by federal copyright and cannot be reproduced in any form.