Home>Topics>>FDIC 2012: Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

FDIC 2012: Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

Fri, 20 Apr 2012|

Chicago's Pete Van Dorpe discusses the future of the fire service in his Thursday morning keynote at the FDIC 2012 General Session.

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Transcript

While those fantastic if we could give Frankie valley out here we go all the Jersey points. From going through Jersey guys are fantastic. Some awards to couldn't pick two more deserving guys and Jack and an announcement that. This morning were very fortunate to have my good friend Pete -- -- -- keynote speaker. It's an old friend I've been involved with and several fire behavior studies. Pete has been a lot of time together looking at live burns looking at wind driven -- fronts ventilation techniques and collapse times. One of the great things about hanging out with -- is that there is never a dull moment. It's one of the most intelligent engaging firefighters but I've ever had the pleasure hanging around -- I've known. He pinned or -- -- 32 year veteran and director of training for the Chicago Fire Department is a bachelor's degree in management from Southern Illinois University. He has addressed modern fire ground challenges and FDIC and other venues. In addition to his work as a -- structure for the only fire institute. He has been the lead instructor for the Chicago fire departments fire officer school and -- building construction for the fire service throughout the city colleges of Chicago. He recently participated as a subject matter expert. -- underwriters laboratory research and structural stability of engineered lumber. Under fire conditions for the -- and for the national standard -- institute technology is evaluating firefighting tactics. Under wind driven conditions. Ladies and gentlemen. It is my distinct pleasure to introduce to you. The 2012. Keynote speaker -- Pete then nor. Thank you thank you. Pleasure it really is a pleasure to be here. Like to think kind wolf fighter engineering FDIC in all the folks -- made it possible for me to come literature some time with you today. Not only did they invite me here give me this opportunity to give you a lot of good advice. Not the least of which was right at the very -- they said when you Begin your presentation make sure you don't use the whole stage move around feel free to do so. But also all Begin with a few moments at the -- All right -- get them. Copied it. -- if I start -- question. -- -- -- -- How could you live so long and be sold don't. Really articulate so -- abuse about. While -- -- grown up me and my Brothers and sisters her -- every time -- school up when we heard it from them and how could you shall wannabes. And remember about the time I turned fourteen or fifteen and I remember look at him -- -- Arnold did you know what when -- kids one that you tell me. And of course the -- I'm standing here today is testament. That I thought I didn't say it. But to this today to this day every time my school -- every time I make a mistake and it's me screwing up. -- BA no gloves I got my chief head on a minor role for the porch Poland holds -- -- -- -- -- -- -- chief and the fire but it wasn't me. But I can hear and I can see him I can actually feel him. How could human soul and -- so. I tell this story all the time tell the story when I'm -- all the time I've always want to tell with my father right there. And Francies theirs is named it. And could be heard today. And relax their personal tragedy. My dad wanted to be here if you want to be here but it -- be here because she's where he needs to be. He's not -- wants to because where -- where it needs to be his mother was in trouble as mothers lock in is in Florida she's in trouble. She needs to come home she wants to be -- call with the -- and we -- my dad is now working wants to be is where it needs to be. A giant government -- it take. And that's what I want to talk to about giants. The giants upon whose shoulders we stand. My dad was one album -- just my personal life but my professional life. My -- has been forty years on the Chicago Fire Department. Lived to tell it to. Shoulders of giants. It's a commonly used phrase. Lot of people use its. Around for a long time Kareem Abdul Jabbar titled his story about the Harlem -- is. And what they did for the national basketball league basketball players professional. Stephen Hawkins wrote a book where he compiled bothered the works of the people that came before on the scientists the man the couple others. The Einstein and Galileo ethical purposes the people that. Shaped the world that we see the world the way -- showed a tourist giants that he built his work upon. And then there's this rocker and upon the shoulders of giants and they picked that name. Beats the pants off from me I don't order Iraq and they can do with it. -- what really good with that graphic thing that they came up. It's been around a long time popular phrase I often attributed to note it's actually even older than that -- to -- is very. -- century theologian. What he wrote was we are like -- standing on the shoulders of giants we see more than may not because of our superior site. Because we are taller than they were but because they raise us up and -- their stature. Into our. I'm sure that all of us in the fire service. Would recognize the debt that we -- to those that came before us. All of us that are here today. It knowledge as firefighters you struck yours is officers as leaders in the fire service -- that we -- to the giants that came before us. It was their strengths. Was their courage. Now do we have the fire ground. But in the court rules. On the picket lines. In the classrooms under training grounds. And in laboratories. That -- the fire service we are so privileged to be a part of today. True giants. There's an interesting story about that picture that's gonna come up -- virtual. And it's a picture addiction right Arnold -- familiar with it or not. But it's a picture from -- our lady of angels school fire. And the picture addiction night is the picture -- -- the first. Child being brought out of the our lady of angels school fire was an iconic picture this time it was a very famous very popular picture. And it reminds me of the giants in the fire service will come back to -- and what he did and what he meant to us. In -- almost by definition both of us who call ourselves instructors. Those of us -- teachers. Must be agents of change must be the early adopters. Right we must be the people the advocates of new when the different. New techniques new new strategies detectives. But at the same time we must never forget we must never ever forget. Those that came before us both to -- the fire service we are so privileged to be a part of people like dictionary. Okay that was a giant of a man. Will come back we'll talk at the very end about -- and legacy he left to us. Are watching to consider for a moment what it is we -- to these giants what it is we -- the people that came before us to what it is they gave us what would they ask -- -- what would they want they want why. That's what they want testimonials and would -- -- plaques on the law. I don't think so. I think -- what they would want is for us to carry on their work. I think -- want -- to build on what they did. Giants like picture right back just like -- for -- remember Bobby talking yesterday about -- -- -- -- for Higgins work. Way back in the seventies chief ball -- was doing research in the laboratory research on a fire around trying to figure out a better way a safer way. To deal with high -- fires. So we weren't hurting -- killing so many tomorrow. And what she thought -- -- would ask of us today is that we build on his work. That we take what he gave to us and we expand upon it we approve upon it we deliver it to the fire service to the firefighters. Bring the science. To the street. It -- what the giants in the fire service to door today to bring immense size to the street where all of us can take part in it all of us can make use of it's not going to be he would. There's a lot of work to do. Not the least of -- it's getting underway. Those -- kids. Those darn kids. Are useless. Who care. Not like us. They're as good as we are well one boosted -- video games all day long. The kids. We'll credited us. Every time I hear that. Every time -- -- come across somebody looking -- -- my age my generation. You wanna look at Don Arnold he's insane these darn kids today want to -- my -- out. Us. All of the what's the came up in the fifties in the sixties. That generation -- never trust anybody over thirty. Hope I die before it rolled I wanna be your -- -- man. Sex drugs and racquetball all my body needs. We -- the generation at first called the man to man. We -- and that the one trigger so look what we certainly brought up to one artful. And yet. We're gonna look on -- -- -- kids today and say they're not there. -- We get all upset because they ask why that's -- -- is to ask why it is our GAAP to provide the answer. We all debt to them. You and I -- to. What would the giants came before us ask of us what would the giants who came before us want us to do. It wants to do for the next generation. What they did for us right to carry the torch the pass on -- knowledge. To bring the next generation of firefighters and make them ready to do what they need to do. You'll -- Dick Shiites to people like them. You know. Still it's not going to be easy. -- -- -- -- -- You are still putter and leisure and even I -- But that doesn't change that doesn't change the mission that doesn't change what we need to do. I -- worst day when you don't know how to communicate to these kids when you don't know how to -- -- when you don't understand where they're coming from when you can't figure out why do you put all that hardware in your head. Remember this remember why they are here remember what brought them to the table. Why are they in the fire service there in the fire service because they want to be. They want to be me. They want to beat us. They want to be part of this thing that is bigger than they are. Might wanna be part of this -- the Brothers they wanted to goal we know they wanna do what we do they wanna see what we see. They want a rise out there wanna write to that fire and had been blazing red cherry hit -- Al -- lancet hands and jump off to make all the right the world again. That's what they want. And it's up to us to show them how to do this. We can't do that there are examples all around us there -- examples like -- and right. There -- examples like. Tom Brady. These guys giants in the fire service giants in my fire -- giants in my backyard. The -- let us -- they word that almost exclusively man the man that built a fire services we know it today. The giants -- our fire service our greatest generation. You're familiar with that phrase right the greatest generation Tom Brokaw wrote that book greatest generation he was talking about the generation that rule -- during the depression. One out fought World War II came back and -- the strongest freest economy the world has ever -- We have our own greatest generation and it's done right there. Is that generation of firefighters. That came up in the sixties and seventies that really did go to three and four fires every day of their lives. They did it with what they did it with next to nothing. And they fought and they bled. For us for their communities. Who was not just a job to them was not just a career it was an -- location. That's their lesson that's what they gave us. It's an Arab location. What do we all of them. How do we meet that obligation how do we -- that solemn obligation we have to these men and women. It's really pretty simple we have to become giants ourselves. Maybe not that big. -- giants nonetheless. Right. We had to become giants ourselves we had to be like Jerry -- Who teaches a group -- -- high school student to -- high school could that firefighter -- that's right we have to be people like. Like Shea -- coming up here. You like -- -- who volunteers his time -- in his truck there a deal like fire service institute saw his firefighters. Can come to class for nothing. He doesn't get paid he gets credit that he can send as firefighters to class. -- we have to be giants like the giants who come here to see today. People want a large stage. People that have the knowledge and the ability to spread the word we have to be stewards of the game. More than anything else what that generation that came to force wanted us to do was to master -- -- -- become students of the game. That is our solemn obligation. To do not just that but then the pass it along to the next generation of firefighters. I don't awful ready to do there you. I know that that's a big part of the reason why -- -- There are examples all around us are examples on the national stage there are the Norman's. The salt because the Babson is the Tracy's. This -- -- -- -- The halls and Dalton's. The people who we know that we -- to see you come here to learn from -- living examples. You like them do is they do. Bad call when you come back home -- have examples yourself up people like Bobby McKee. People like she split. People like Kevin president. Guys I work with back -- guys who in their spare time guys who could. Really cook. Hundreds even thousands of dollars every day instructing other Firefox they have that kind of experienced that kind of -- that kind of knowledge and yet they work for slave wages for the Illinois -- services to two. -- laborers wages for Lester what a laborer makes that's what they work for because that is where they are needed. There's people like red grapes -- great as a local there'll -- -- on line. Brett has a small fire training company. -- -- right. There is easier. -- -- -- training company -- trying to make a -- If you made a -- got Brett I don't think so probably not. But he continues a -- does right because not everybody has the time in a treasure to come here sort -- -- mission -- -- to bring this. To rural Illinois to suburban Illinois. And he spends its time doing that. There -- -- local heroes like Vicki Schmidt. -- -- Has a full time job. Vicki Schmidt. Volunteers at a local fire department. Vicki Schmidt owns and operates -- horse farm. Big issue it is a part time instructor for the main state fire services. -- spare time. -- bouncers -- time on -- -- fire commission where she's an advocate for the adoption. And the preservation. Of Maine's first state fire well. Where she's an advocate for the rural firefighters a man who like to -- firefighters and most of this country are often left behind him forgot. Are all kinds of local heroes that we will come back to -- we leave here today. That are examples to Austin will teach us that will show us who it is and what it is we need to be. People like Chris has Brooke. Chris has -- not even a firefighter though he knows how to behave like one on occasion. If wasn't for people like Chris has book we wouldn't be where we're at today the research is being done and underwriters laboratories is largely due to people like Chris has -- Or making that funding possible making that research possible. People like father Tom -- rabbi Moshe wolf not firefighters -- giants in the fire service because they are everywhere. When you come to Chicago when you see the -- Chicago Fire Department you see one of these two men. And they have full time ministries this is what they do in their spare time. In all our tragedies all our tryouts of all our extra alarm fires in our routine day to day operations you turnaround -- these men will be there for you. For us. The best of all examples of this service leadership. That we need in the fire service. There are people -- -- knowing you'll never see. Giants in the fire service that you don't even though they're managing outside today you'll never see it and you'll never know. But if it wasn't for them the little miniscule amount that a federal budget that comes our way and provides the research. And equipment. In a -- -- support that we so desperately need not be possible. People like Katherine Paterson manuals and -- -- blog Dave Evans people who work here -- -- the firefighters grant programs and programs like that. Without that we could not survive. -- -- the shining example of the giants in the fire service today that we need to emulate the apartment. I'm not so sure but you. And why you come here what is it you come here for but I goal line here this is mine Mac this is -- pilgrimage. It's not just the classes it's not just the parties on the street. Tonight we drink where's George. Ahead of -- at my best behavior all week I talked Tuesday I thought Wednesday on doing this today tonight we drink. -- What I come here for more than -- Anything else is toward immerse myself. In the culture of the -- service. Right to surround myself with the to bathe in it. And I take that home with me that's the energy and that's the -- That's the collective fire service that is the culture of the fire service. Rising me up. Carry -- on -- shoulder. So that I can be what I can be I can see what I can see and I can do what I could do. When the last these -- wanna leave you with this this discussion about culture and there's always a lot of talk there has been some type them on the job. Talk about the culture the -- service in the need to change the culture the fires service. Let me tell you let me be clear -- -- be brutally honest I have no issue whatsoever with anybody. Who is talking about changing the culture of the fire service because I know all my -- it's all I know. That they're trying to do the right thing. They want to make needed necessary changes that have to be made for our own well being. So I have no issue with that. Ought to. Here's the book. I'm a little worried that the phrase changing the culture in the fire service has within it its seeds of its own defeat. For a couple of reasons. First off I don't think to really change a culture. A culture is what changes you. It was a culture that shared set of attitudes values goals practices that characterizes an organization. We really change that -- is that something that changes us. I believe it's something that changes -- -- that's what happened to me I did not come to the fire service even as a firefighter anybody can teach anybody to be a firefighter. The firefighting skills right they can't that teach you to be. A firefighter that's what the culture of the fire service does it teaches us to be one. But he not -- and struck the right Mac computers and officers and -- leader of the culture of the fire service. Shaped me and made me those things. Raise me up compared. On top of all that think about what the culture of the fire services Bobby -- speaks so eloquently about this -- yesterday and today. What is that culture the fire service what is this thing we're always talking about changing. I don't know about you but my fire service is a culture dedication. -- fire service has a culture sacrifice. To culture of duty to culture of honor. It's a cultural represented by the menu she's standing before you go to -- in the audience today is that what we wanna change. Course -- that would nobody's talking about and what are they really talk about -- talking about behavioral changes. For all these great and good things that we are and indeed we are these things. There are times. When we're a little too reckless. There are times when we disregard our safety to the point where we are no longer. Serving the people we have sworn to serve where danger not just to ourselves what the people next to us in the people were supposed to be here to help. And it's those behaviors that need to change because those behaviors are not consistent with the culture of the fire service. If we wanted to -- that culture if we want to preserve it if we want to. -- that there were gonna have to change those behaviors that -- change. That's part of living up to the expectation as part of living up to be solemn obligation. We head. To the giants to keep you force the giants that raised us up and carried us for a time. I have this really really clear recollections like it happened yesterday -- release -- will. Rooted respect or others that -- looking right at -- a kid. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- I am saw it -- I'm retired that you and your browser but -- role in this chat. Of course when Rudy was done he took me back and -- a bit -- we shall meet at a field strip a Kate -- -- And that is our -- obligation. Do those sorts of things no matter how stupid they are no matter how Long Will. What they've lived and how dominate state it is our obligation to carry that next generation of firefighters to write them up on our shoulders. So that they can see more than we can see. -- do more than we can do. And that brings me back -- -- -- Dick sight picture is everywhere in the Chicago Fire Department that picture of Dick right here holding a child. It's in my office right across from my best. I look at it every day. It's -- -- hall of -- to Chicago market. A one sided at all is our history and the other side -- the -- of every line of duty deaths in Chicago Fire Department. And at the end of -- at all rising up over your head is -- picture with this phrase underneath. These are -- works. Every day of your life from the American fire service every day that you come to work. Do this one thing. Make sure that some part of that day you devote yourself to the solemn obligation. To simply leave the job a little better the next. Thank you all very much been very good have a good shot. Might play it but.

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