Fire Yenta 6/20/03

By Diane Feldman, Managing Editor

Don’t forget to fill out the comment card
An urban department was finally getting its first female firefighter. To make sure its firefighters were properly trained in their responsibilities, the department hired an outside instructor to give a three-hour course on how to avoid sexual harassment. He covered what was and was not appropriate to say and other related topics on fire station decorum and political correctness. At the end of the course, he asked the firefighters to fill out an evaluation form telling what they thought of the instructor and the course. One student wrote anonymously, “Nice ass.”

Did you turn it on?
From Firefighter Chip Killian in Illinois: The medics at the fire station had been preparing the evening’s meal all morning and began to place the items in the crock pot to cook for the remainder of the day when the tones went off. As the medics pushed out of the door, they asked one of the firefighters to turn the crock pot on and let things simmer until their return. Just before the dinner hour, one of the medics checked the stew and realized that it was still ice cold. They asked the firefighter, “Why didn’t you turn the crock pot on like we told you?” He replied, “I DID–but you didn’t tell me to plug it in!”

The same firefighter was promoted to lieutenant. One day at a garage fire, after extinguishment was complete, the homeowner wondered aloud how the fire could have started. The lieutenant replied that often times ducks are known to pick up cigarette butts and carry them for miles before using them as nesting material.

The same lieutenant, some years later, was well known to have collected every fire-related gadget and gee-whiz tool on the market. His normally heavy, bulky bunker coat was at least twice as heavy with the addition of his ancillary gear. One afternoon, as the company prepared for training, the members of his crew filled gallon-size sealable plastic bags with nuts and bolts (so they could be easily removed in case of a real call) and placed them in his bunker coat pockets. The coat was so heavy that they could barely lift it. He continued the remainder of the drills with all of the extra weight and never noticed until one of the crew members pointed it out. This same guy also bought a flashlight for his helmet and placed wheel weights on the opposite side of the helmet so it would be “balanced.”

Quote of the week
From Bobby Halton, deputy chief, Albuquerque (NM) Fire Department: “If you live by low bid, you’re getting what you paid for.”

First Annual Yentathon a rousing success
We got one, I repeat, ONE response to the First Annual Yentathon. Thanks to all those who participated!

If you have a tidbit for the Fire Yenta, e-mail

Diane Feldman is a 14-year veteran of Fire Engineering; she has spent the past 13 years as managing editor. She has a B.A. in English/communications. Previously she was an editor at the American Management Association in New York City.

Past Yentas

Click here for Fire Yenta–2002

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