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
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.
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.