Tactical Safety: Don’t You Just Hate Traditions

By Ray McCormack

We hear a lot of blame being placed on fire service traditions. Get rid of the traditions and everything will be better!

Some don’t even have to be traditions in the true sense; they can just be statements, such as “Firefighting is a dangerous profession.” This one is bad to some because if you think it is dangerous it will be. I wonder what fires they are attending?

Another tradition of having large, well-attended firefighter funerals and referring to all firefighters as heroes is bad. Some believe not all firefighters are heroes and their death should reflect that and young firefighters may see glory in death and take unnecessary risk.  Have the courage to tell their families they were not heroes.

And that pesky tradition of saving lives and property–some think that needs the boot, too. How has that one stayed around so long? Oh that’s right, that’s at the core of what firefighters do, but you know, to some the core is rotten.

If you run a department and this is how you feel, don’t lie to the public; tell them you no longer provide life- or property-saving services. It will make your department’s renaming or dismantling that much easier.

Keep Fire in Your Life

Ray McCormack: Tactical Safety for FirefightersRAY McCORMACK is a 30-year veteran and a lieutenant with FDNY. He is the publisher and editor of Urban Firefighter Magazine. He delivered the keynote address at FDIC in 2009 and he is on the Editorial Board of Fire Engineering Magazine. For more on Urban Firefighter, visit http://www.fireengineering.com/urbanfirefighter.html.




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