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Home>Topics>>FDIC 2007: Proud to be an American Firefighter

FDIC 2007: Proud to be an American Firefighter

Fri, 22 Feb 2008|

Fire Engineering Editor in Chief Bobby Halton exhorts members of the fire service to embrace their core values.



Ladies and gentlemen Bobby -- I am. Those you know me know that I was there -- regular rules. Hey I'm still hold the record for being the most suspended firefighter in the history Albuquerque fire department. So I just wanted to -- zero times for me actually for second. And it I want to thank some folks first wanna thank all you for coming FDIC. -- try to get around and say thank you everybody who comes and we really do mean thank you. You what makes the show -- your show. Please look at the call for presentations of -- instructor. Two. You're classroom stuff if you got classroom -- -- but -- to see him. But really we really wanna say thank you value for coming because as early -- your show and and nearly all of a huge debt of gratitude and thank you for common. And I say thanks the folks that really do all the work if if if urging folks -- just look for second and this is breaking all the rules. Brian Jenkins. -- -- -- -- -- -- Mike Mike -- avoiding it chuck Rogers. Eric -- slightly mildly can't be here there's some stuff but but but the is the folks are really -- -- We stand out. Most importantly. The woman who I have a door close. She really does all the work I'm really just the clown that they put on here magazines really guided by the person who this guy had blown. Like a daughter. And my best friend -- film. -- -- And we know how to do that kind of stuff. So Christmas from on the bicycle. -- -- -- But fidelity to quit doing -- -- I'm -- the -- on the bicycle is my. Manning and -- right across the country. For burn victims so if you go to our website please support Mike's right across the country he's come through your town. To be great if you can turn -- -- And help -- and -- -- taking care of all the people that we trying to take care of them and great foundation Phoenix burn foundation any action is gonna be here. And if you do. -- my don't know anyway we really appreciate. And that's you know with some. Well good morning welcome today for a fire -- -- fire department structures conference. And -- -- yes it really was an incredible day yesterday we were in the presence of a really remarkable family. Other conflicts Stanley and how we -- -- those -- 2007. -- -- colored courage and valor award the spiritually sound back and he give us words of wisdom was tremendous passion we pay tribute to 206 that we lost last year. We -- -- the classroom sessions I gotta tell -- I was so impressed everywhere I went with I learn something new. And I was reminded. Why we come here. And we're always looking for new stuff to take back our department's new information -- can help our jobs become better and yesterday I really learned a lot. I'd like to thank our spiritual leader chief receiver -- and his birthday here with us yesterday we really appreciate him. And also reveals the work -- yesterday fun John Carney are new official -- I think you can really enjoy him -- -- -- -- the floor earlier. And you're really gonna be thrilled to say is further last year is really an understatement. It's it's it's just beyond words it's unimaginable. In another industries the vendors are concerned like predators. But not our industry here those people are family and most hormones are firefighters and some work for folks. So be sure there's a small number of Florida opens up -- think it's 2 o'clock today. And -- -- sensible shoes and you know if you're from some place like prince George county or Phoenix by a fire truck or too -- you're down there. -- -- -- Push that stuff. I'm I was gonna pump -- -- This is this the random thoughts I thought I was gonna tell you that this is going to be the hottest selling item in the history of FDIC but it's already sold out -- the -- This is -- book and in the front row boat is -- Stanley and this is just like the greatest. Thing in the world and from. I'm just a regular -- And I'm just like you -- else's room the only reason I'm here is because of -- run. And a lot of you. But I'm no different I'm just a regular firemen. And I loved him. Like click my -- yet so. But Tommy's sake. -- got an informed me. I'd like to ask you just wanted to contest the ice here the -- and fashion that you say you know he's still the that's the training and that makes sense trainer puts us to do our jobs to fight urban rural and suburban fires all over America are licensed only for doing that happen until a clown. Who -- we were asked to we do most of us would just say without hesitation and proudly we would say. -- firefighter. Selling today however I've noticed as. In our society is becoming more more popular for people be apologetic. And contrite. And remorseful about our country about our fundamental -- our heritage our religious ethics. It's amazing to me it seems today that he almost you have a character flaw. If you're not ashamed -- something in your past. Your in your culture your profession and it. Not me. But just because you -- but I'm seeing out there -- not firefighters yet. And as a reflected in this trend it occurred to me that we're not isolated from public opinion. So I don't worry so I thought we need to define for mobile web culture really is -- and cultures from -- Latin word and everybody except -- O'Neill here doesn't know what Latin and so it comes from the were firm called -- which leads to cultivate. -- -- -- perspective. The word culture and jewelry first won't work. And are symbolic structures like our our houses and our fire trucks are apparatus the things that give our -- significance. The fire service culture incorporates almost every skill in life. From your address your food technical knowledge and sometimes your history if you make your religion. Values and the exercise of power. This thing massive cultural concepts we can boil all -- down to like four things four. Basic elements there's been passed from generation to generation of firefighters. I'm learning alone it's pretty -- -- values and norms institutions and artifacts. That's what they saw the overall culture of the fire department. Values comprise -- ideas -- what we believed to be important about firefighters. What's desirable in a firefighter that guides the rest of our culture. Norms are just expectations the behavior. Expectations our gonna act in various situations. Institutions and things like our response structure or -- Our methodology our ranks and artifacts of things like our helmets or fire trucks are apparatus. -- and ignore all that stuff from -- northern norms institutions and the artifacts I want to visit for just. Couple seconds about values. That's what's universal to firefighters. About the what I want to talk about is why we must protect defend. And support our values. And our values of the -- throughout history what's really desirable a firefighter. These values provide security to us. It wouldn't we cling to those values tenaciously. They define our identity. And -- -- and we should be with threatened. When we get are confronted by people who profess to be firefighters. But whose behaviors and actions conflict. With what we know to be desirable. In a fire fire. These cultural values -- -- moral warmer for us and and if you're inside that has great community has tremendous meeting and it makes me sick. When I see this new phantom of -- -- so self loathing try to creep its way into the fire service into this noble profession. I hear good firefighters say we have to change change is normal. Changes expected its welcome I used to be six foot two and good look -- The hang out anymore. Changes life. All our systems -- calibration but only at the normative -- the operative levels. That's behavioral stuff. Firefighters need not feel guilty. About the sacrifices the some of the most phenomenal men and women who ever walked on this planet have made firefighters need not feel guilty. About being firefighters. Now some might say we should never lose a firefighter. And I wish this could be true. But a great many firefighters have heroically sent offered the ultimate sacrifice. When we were met with the unexpected. When they refused. To lose another life other than their own in the performance of their duties. Our selflessness. -- bravery. Our honor runs through RVs. Tactics -- change. Technology will change. We know this but who we are. Where we come from and most importantly the values we uphold these are eternal. These values are bedrock of our core. There are source -- anchor and our strength as firefighters. We must never permit that intermittent -- self doubt and the ever changing currency rivers of fashion. The flow past this tour -- that core or even to introduce some microscopic cracks. Our values reflect who we come from now most of us would say Ben Franklin but -- -- tomorrow. Actually come from wrong that this Roman emperor Augustus is credited with instituting the first -- firefighters were called the hills or watch. The Latin word for visual means to watch to be careful alert especially for some -- dangerous something that's wrong. Our motto is Sulzberger the -- long day. It describes how we feel about our communities. And about our mission. We stand down for operational retooling this June we should also stand up for pride. We should stand up with -- for the values. Which we stand for we should reaffirm those values and the ways -- which they have defined. Our firefighting culture. Firefighters was always respect our values and we have to live -- home. New standards new codes new rules improved supervision. Will change firefighters behaviors. Sadly however the honor and bravery of firefighters. That defeats. The fired them. Our honor bravery that's been defined by firefighters have come before us have been the finding these values. That have guided our culture so well. They have to remain -- constant source of pride and inspiration. As we leave this room this morning don't want you to walk in your head held higher because our secure wasn't -- -- -- It was -- -- -- the -- steal the kind of weapons comes from this thousands of years in the making. We stand here today were our forefathers stood now and -- make a difference to be better men and women to be better firefighters. And we may not be will tell you how to do everything you're gonna be called on to do it. And we know -- are gonna fall. We will remember them and we will recount the events they claim their lives and will do with reverence. Real Revere their memories. Will ensure that there forever memorialized for how they lived. Not for how they die. And unfortunately. On the fire ground even when everything is done right and everybody does their job. Not everybody goes home. We know there is no -- it's true science to explain what real firefighting units that's a problem. We understand that the fire -- to be messy unpredictable and chaotic. We functional what's called a critical boundary. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Can -- to radically different behaviors sometimes tragically different behaviors. If you think about are are fully encapsulated PP ER air packs and the and the fragile environment that we work -- that deadly toxic environment. We can make some comparisons between us and -- -- and -- the astronauts. NASA. Experience the explosion of challenger. Disintegration. Of the Columbia. -- NASA knows everything there is to know about those accidents and unfortunately that is not gonna stop the third from happening. And there will be a third. Now after the Columbia tragedy a Lockheed employee a guy named dean Keenan wrote an email. I want to read it to you because what he says more about values. And behaviors. This is an exact quote. He said every precaution and materials science known to man has been applied to the problem -- making the thermal protection system war. It is unknown risks. The tiles are -- And every astronaut knows that if the wrong ones are damaged the shuttle burns well. But the odds against that are pretty given especially when compared with the rewards of being an astronaut. So they're willing to change the -- In fact they fight for as a lot of muscle it. But getting the public to buy into this is going to be a lot tougher. Especially -- public that expects every risk in their lives to be mitigated to zero. It'll be interesting to see how NASA takes on this challenge. Explain to the public the doing whole things is not about engineering risks to zero. To quote -- and he said it happens. And if we want to restrict ourselves to things where it can happen. We're not going to do anything very interest. To put this in the firefighting perspective. Are focused efforts are hard work and our daily drilling will reduce firefighter injuries and deaths. Eliminating those risk is impossible. Doing brave and heroic things. Involves. Risk and every minute of every day something that never happened before is happening. We will always be putting our welfare. Other's welfare rather ahead -- are wrong. It's who we ER. And bad things will happen. Very bad things but we are firefighters. And so we accept the risk because the rewards are so great. We accept the risk because we have decided to live our values. We will celebrate the lives of those who fall because we know that every safety tool. Every piece -- -- -- training was practiced and applied every day we will celebrate their allies because we know how hard. They weren't to ensure their own safety and survival ability. We will celebrate them because they were one of us they were firefighters. We are firefighters. And our motto is simpler vigil on today. -- -- our charges our citizens. Then to ourselves. Every firefighter in this room understands there are things we cannot change. There are things we can change and we will and I know you know the difference and I know we will protect our values. Because I for one. And I think the rescue in this room -- -- with me. I'm proud of where we have -- I'm proud of what we have Don and proud of how we have gotten it done. And I will make no excuses and I will make no apologies. And I will never disrespect the values and character of the American firefighter. If we need to tighten up some individual behavior is some Norman -- -- I'm right there with you. However. From this day forward let's all remember that -- -- this. Is not and has never been a part of our culture recklessness. Is not -- has never been a part of our culture. Disrespectful. Lists is not and has never been a part of our culture. And jeopardizing your safety -- the safety of others is completely outside of our cultural values. God bless America. Godless firefighters everywhere some -- on day.

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