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The staff of WithTheCommand.com is comprised of a cadre of professionals.....career fire officers, volunteer firefighters and officers, professionals in the private sector. We write articles, provide breaking news reports and even articles on training and other interesting subjects.

We try to provide up to date, factual information and reports that make our visitors come back to the web site several times a day to see “what’s up…” We like to provide “good news” when happens and provide accurate information  when “bad news happens”.

All too often we see many of the same common dominators in these stories and reports.  A firefighters get killed, we post condolences, we provide information about the incident, cover the funeral and then quickly forget until the next firefighter dies and then we start all over again.

It becomes disheartening, and Glen Frey put it, putting out the “dirty laundry”…. referring to his mid 80’s song about how the media thrives on bad news. Unfortunately, we’ve all become callous to the fact that firefighters die are seriously injured day in and day out. As many have said, “it’s a dangerous job….”

We are deeply saddened when we look at brothers dying, in training or actual incidents only to say, “it’s too bad, did you hear about the two guys who were killed in whatever town?” 

Over the past few weeks we have read about training incidents that went array resulting in fire deaths and injuries. A rookie dropped dead getting conditioned to be a firefighter so he could take the “real heat…” And, while many of you were preparing to celebrate the Fourth of July, firefighters in  New Jersey were dealing with the reality that three of their brothers would not be coming home alive.

To use the quotes of Fire Chief Alan Brunicini,  “Risk a lot to save a lot, risk a little to save  a little,  and risk nothing to save nothing….” has to become the rule that we follow. 

Think how often we have risked the lives of our firefighters trying to save a building that was not worth saving before the fire let alone when it was well involved. What about the time that we committed valuable human resources on a primary search in a building that was so hot that the firefighters going in to make a “rescue” are getting burned? Do you think that we are really going to make a rescue? Who is kidding whom?

From a fire chief’s perspective, you must be able to defend your actions and the actions of your people. You have a difficult job doing under optimum conditions. But how do you do it when things go south on the fireground?

We think that you have to be realistic. We are not supermen or women. We have a tough job to do and for the most part we perform exceptionally well under adverse conditions. That problem lies in the fact that you have to be able to justify whatever you do and in some cases, what you don’t do.

Place yourself in front of twelve jurors or maybe  a grand jury investigation. You will be called upon to justify what you and or your personnel did or did not do at an emergency. 

You will be held to the highest standard, especially when lawyers start throwing around facts and figures. If you are feeling uncomfortable, that is understandable. After all, you maybe doing this job with no pay as a volunteer or even as a career fire officer and you never thought you’d have to defend you actions or inactions.

As we see it…. Not mentioning any one particular firefighter death incident, justifying why things happened and what could have been done differently will be difficult. But it will not be as difficult as having lost a father, brother, sister, mother in the line of duty.