Commentary

…We Are Always There

Firefighters and a tower ladder at a fire in NYC
Photo by FirstOnScenePhotos (www.firstonscenephotos.com)

Chief Kanterman’s Journal Entry 60

Dear Brothers and Sisters-

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a commentary. While I’m home recovering from yet one more spine surgery (I missed FDIC International 2019 because of the same), it’s unfortunate that the TV has been on more than off. Political commercials abound along with insurance & cell phone companies, pharmaceuticals and fast food, there is no shortage of repetition and lunacy on the old idiot box. (By the way, psoriasis is taking down the country.) I’ve managed to do some writing and some work from home developing training programs for the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, since the virus kicked in. (Please visit www.fireherolearningnetwork.com.) I’ve tried to stay as busy as I can under the circumstances.

Back to the TV. While most folks don’t pay real attention when the news is on, I look for certain things or actually they find me. Any story on a fire, rescue, or related issue immediately grabs my attention. In effect, we are always there. Cases in point:

  1. Fires, whether structure, vehicle, wildland, or any others…apparatus appear on the screen
  2. Civil unrest, rioting and protests…apparatus appear on the screen.
  3. Shootings, stabbings, and major EMS events…apparatus appear on the screen.
  4. The president walks out of the White House to Marine 1…apparatus appear on the screen.
  5. Flooding, storms, and severe weather…apparatus appear on the screen.
  6. Hazardous materials incidents…apparatus appear on the screen.
  7. The COVID-19 crisis…apparatus appear on the screen.
  8. Motor vehicle accidents and highway pile-ups…apparatus appear on the screen.

There’s probably many more I didn’t list but you can fill them in. A few years ago, Fire Engineering’s Editor-in-Chief Bobby Halton stood on the stage at FDIC and talked about the fact that over time, citizens, fellow firefighters and others have said to us in their desperate time of need, “I knew you’d come.” It reminded me that in the 1960s and ’70s in New York City, people pulled the box on the corner for everything, knowing we’d show up no matter what. Many times, FDNY personnel found people clinging to the box pedestal with a gunshot would or a knife sticking out of their side. No fire in sight, but they knew the fire department would come for them.

Start paying attention to the news. It will boost your pride as an American firefighter to see that, in fact, we are always there.

Be well, stay well, be safe. Hope to see everyone in Indianapolis in April 2021!

Ronnie K