Sit down shut up, buckle
in and hold on!
Chief Billy Goldfeder
||WE FROZE IN
DISBELIEF. As the apparatus sped by, we saw a firefighter standing up-facing
forward (open jump seat rig), hanging over the sides and looking over the
roof, no gear, no helmet...enjoy'n the ride. Yee haa. We felt like we had
gone "back in time"....
Before we go any further, it looks like
the Fire Service has been able to hold onto it's FIRE ACT GRANT 2003 funding
for now. On the other hand, if you don't think some of YOUR "Federally
Funded Friends" aren't STILL after that money like a Jenny Craig dropout
attacking the Happy China Village Restaurant's All-You-Can-Eat $6.95 Buffet......then
ya need to wake up. Stay on your reps from Congress and Senate, make sure
that your FIRE related Associations are ALL OVER THIS and get them to commit
to our continued funding and FIRE visibility at the FEDERAL level-loud
We were driving back from Atlanta a few
weeks ago and stopped in Chattanooga, Tennessee for lunch. As we got out
of the car, we heard our LOVE CALL. The sound of a Federal Q2B siren with
a wonderfully abusive over use of their Grover Stuttertone Air Horns that
were "calling us" as they rolled down the block. So, like we are REQUIRED
to do, we stopped and watched the apparatus go speeding by.
THEN WE FROZE IN DISBELIEF. As the apparatus
sped by, we saw a firefighter standing up-facing forward (open jump seat
rig), hanging over the sides and looking over the roof, no gear, no helmet...enjoy'n
the ride. Yee haa. We felt like we had gone "back in time"....
This is the kind of stuff that makes us
nuts. Unless newspapers, television, fire magazines and Internet haven't
yet made it to that area of the country, something is wrong. Now, don't
get us wrong...-for years we did the same thing.... But then one day, some
slick attorney in BOSTON took a law suit in which a firefighter was seriously
injured and disabled because he fell out of the apparatus, riding in the
same manner. That law suit put an apparatus manufacturer out of business.
Yeah-they got blamed.
And then, much like everything else that
occurs in our business, the lawsuit (vs. common sense) created the need
for change. And so, after nearly 100 years of firefighters falling off
apparatus, we figured we probably oughta tell'm (thru an NFPA standard)
to sit down and put on a seat belt. OK, OK...I know, as a friend recently
said "Garbage collectors "get" to ride on the outside and aren't belted
in"...yeah-they are driving at 3 mph. We drive a lil' faster....and are
allegedly a lil' smarter.
RECENTLY a firefighter in San Francisco
was killed when she fell out of her apparatus. Now, the article we read
stated "out of respect for the family, the actual cause of her death will
not be made public"....We may be missing something but it doesn't take
genius to figure out that she PROBABLY didn't have her seat belt on while
riding in a side-open cab rig....and she fell out..
Predictable? Preventable? Without
a doubt. A tragic loss of a much beloved veteran seasoned firefighter.
As we were absolutely saddened by her loss, as we are anytime one of our
Sisters or Brothers lose their life-we get even sadder when it is pretty
avoidable. We get even more annoyed when a FD doesn't go out of their way
to share the information in order for others to "get it"....
Who knows...maybe our "In The Wind Brother"
in Chattanooga might have read the article and sat down to think about
it for a while. Even better, maybe the Chattanooga and the SF "officers"
riding in the front seat would consider making sure that their crew is
safe....even before arriving.
What's one of the best assurances that
"everyone goes home" ?
ANSWER: A good, disciplined and
trained Company Officer..