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May12, 2003 
Hearing Voices 
Chief Billy Goldfeder
If you are from the Southern Central or the Mid-West States, you know the weather has been horrible. According to my Mom, "Mrs. G", the weather problems have gotten much worse since "they starting sending all those rockets into space...it messed the atmosphere up"...Her point was well taken as just last week the crew landed back onto earth from another space flight-and then the tornadoes kicked in. We all have our opinions.
Now don't think "Mrs.G" just sits around as a bored Senior Citizen all day...no way. "Mrs.G" is an active Senior Citizen in Palm Beach County, Florida who swims each and every day (18 full laps a day-no kidd'n...her only issue is that the "old" people keep the pool water way too warm), gets involved with committees in her Condo Association (but gets annoyed at the old, cranky people who just wanna complain about anything while sitting around eating bagels), is completely independent and is on the Internet daily-with the primary purpose of communicating with her 3 grandkids. My 3 kids are the primary focus of her life and she feels very sorry for them..."Mrs G" is significantly worried about them being around me too often-so she provides them with some contact from the "real" world by phone and the www. 

Anyway..."Mrs G" usually "calls 'em as she see's them" weather it be NASA screw'n up the weather, sports (she is an expert) or believe it or not-the fire service. She is one to SPEAK UP on issues she believes in, on the important stuff that effects her-and others-and isn't afraid to ruffle a few feathers....and she doesn't go away until "it" gets take care of...whatever her issue is. Just ask the folks in her Condo Association how she feels about the pool water being too warm. "Mrs. G" is simply not going anywhere and won't give up until the pool water is cooled off....warm water is NOT refreshing or healthy. It is just that simple.

So many folks in our business say they are gonna speak up...but then check their "manual for political correctness" to see who on that checklist they might offend....or, are worried how it could effect them and their personal agendas....and then not much gets said. You know who they are-they yell and scream while at the firehouse but when it comes to speaking up...they become "heroically" silent. Every once in a while, we just have to speak up if you really and honestly believe in something and to hell with the outcome. Yeah-I know ya can't "spout off" on everything...but some stuff is important and worth the risk. And sometimes, when we do go out of our way to support an issue-those involved may come back to help you. Then again, sometimes they won't...so you speak up and take action on stuff w/o ever expecting a payback...ya do it cause deep down in your heart-you know it's right.

Recently-the "FIRE SERVICE" spoke up "loud and clear" to the Federal Government regarding their plans to royally screw up the FIRE ACT GRANT, the FIRE Administration and The NATIONAL FIRE ACADEMY classes. That's good-we needed to. They had us over the BARREL and them damned cross eyed "DELIVERANCE" banjo play'n boys were warming up. WHY WAS IT STOPPED? WE SPOKE UP....some together, some individually as well as through our numerous Associations-at all worked.

And although we claimed it as a "Major Victory" we have to watch them to make sure they don't start warming up again...because they will. Actually, those who "lost" the wanted changes and cuts are planning a new strategy right now...we promise. WHEN you see your Federally elected officials in the coming months at your FD and Community events, fire conventions etc...REMIND them how ya feel.

NOW...another group of your friends are in trouble and they need help. This group is one we all reached out to before and they would do the same for us. Who? FDNY. As you have probably read, New York City Mayor Michael Doomsberg is attempting to slice and dismantle the FDNY. Now, I don't really care if you think it's his fault, Rudy Giuliani's fault or whatever-the fact of the matter is that NYC was attacked, the only reason so many LIVED is because of FDNY...and it just seems that the LAST thing that would be cut would be the FD "operations" side. Sound familiar? Yeah-the brain surgeons running your town sometimes think the same way...after all, all we do is "sit around all day"....

We wrote a piece a year and a half ago called "Train To Honor Their Memory" and we said that the BEST way to honor firefighters who were killed in the line of duty is to TRAIN in their memory....simply put-training minimizes risk. Yep-buy the t-shirts, display the flags, attach the stickers...and ALSO train. With everyday being a training day.

HERE IS A 2nd way to show support: The FDNY needs your help again...check out:
WWW.NOFIRECUTS.COM and be sure to review the "reality" page reporting on the City Council hearings on the "Blue Ribbon Commission." Take some time to read the site and send an e-mail etc. Understand that numerous large corporations have offered to "sponsor" FDNY companies and projects-and the Mayor has said no. Why is this such a big issue?

#1-It could be your FD next. 
#2-Well-same as the USFA, the ACADEMY and OUR Fire Act Grants...we continue to be targets.

Of course, it doesn't effect everyone all the time, but we need to kick and scream as loud as a new intern in Bill Clinton's office...when we think something just ain't right for the FIRE SERVICE. Without a doubt-the "squeaky wheel" system is the only thing that seems to work when we are over the barrel. Or at least we need to keep this up until "The Fire Service Speaks As One Voice".......Actually, sometimes we are not so sure that "one voice for the fire service" IS the right answer...."one"  voice can result in limited information, limited opportunities, limited communication and narrowed opinions. So, until that gets figured out, when ya go to your summertime Fire Conventions, Conferences and related fire activities-REMIND the politicians WHAT is important to you. Just like warm pool water and the space program mess'n up the weather, the more voices they hear-the better.

Make sure they hear YOUR Voice..speak up, loud and clear.