Are we headed in the right direction?

Are we headed in the right direction?

Kent E. Farris

Firefighter

Joliet, Illinois

I keep hearing this thing we all call safety and firefighter deaths. It would be nice if we could work in a hazard-free environment and if no one were killed or injured. But we all know that this will never be the case because of the nature of the beast. I fully agree that we need to curb this as much as possible. But there comes a time when the pendulum can swing too far in the other direction, if it were going in the right direction.

Ten years ago, 100 firefighters were killed a year. Today, the statistics still read 100 firefighters are killed a year. What has changed? If the number of fires is down 40 percent, why aren`t firefighter deaths down 40 percent?

Are we heading in the right direction? I also would like to see a zero firefighter death and injury report, but we all know that is impossible. Firefighters are being killed in a different manner than they were 10 years ago because of our progression. We were created with certain sensory-driven survival instincts. We have taken out all of the senses with our progression to total encapsulation. Maybe we need to take a few steps back and teach firefighters how to do the job for which they were designed.

We need to take our job seriously, not ourselves. A firefighter should not be out to make a name for himself. We should be striving to make this job what it once was–a proud profession in which we could say we were part of a team, not just, “Look what I did!”

We also need to take back our profession from the fiscally driven special-interest groups. People who have never donned a piece of fire gear and responded to a call are telling us how to do our job ….

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