Firefight'n With Porky!
||Chief Billy Goldfeder
I was doing everything I could to not
write today. You would have appreciated that. Today started with
our LSFD crews responding to a cardiac arrest of a Mom (early 50's)
while Dad and the teenage kids watched. The 7 FF/Paramedics due on the
run did everything to save a life...I always hate "that scene" of
the family watching, crying and kinda knowing what may or probably won't
Then, I got home and did the lawn. Yeah-I
know-I have teenagers who should do that...well, it's gonna rain
later and usually "Young G" takes care of the lawn duties....I figured
I would help'm out.
I then came in to get ready to head to
Harrisburg, PA for Fire Expo...(stop by the WithTheCommand.Com booth -maybe
we;ll seeya there).....with a stop in Emigsville, York County, PA for a
FF "Close Calls/Tragic Events" class Thursday evening.
Of course, at this point, it had been wayyy
TOO LONG since I have been "on line" so I better check that too....
As I read through several articles, some stood out including one on a midwest
FD that is laying off firefighters, another one about a volunteer FD that
STILL has to do fund drive (BEGGING) in order to function and of course,
the "last ditch efforts" of our Brothers and Sisters in FDNY trying to
keep firehouses open.
I then read through some articles about
GOVERNMENT WASTE. I have been thinking a lot about that recently and have
been trying to put some words down...the articles helped.
To me, it is all a matter of priorities
and we've got some screwed up priorities in our Country. Don't get
me wrong, I LOVE AMERICA as much as anyone else and I practice what I preach...but
sometimes "stupid crap" just pisses me off.
In our Country, THE FIRE SERVICE, as a
friend of mind said perfectly, has become the proverbial stepchild crawling
around on our hands and knees begg'n & fight'n for any remaining bread
crumbs that may have inadvertently fallen to the floor. And that may be
OK, if everyone else needing funding is being treated equally. That's the
problem, it ain't equal. And not just a little...but then, you probably
know that by looking around at your own community. Maybe not-maybe, like
at the FD I work at, you are treated pretty
well and the Community appreciates you.
But there are so many FD's where the LEADERSHIP (elected and appointed)
as well as the FD themselves have failed to properly market and demonstrate
WHY the public needs to fund them...so that when that same PUBLIC needs
us, we are there quickly, professionally, well trained and adequately staffed.
Relax, this story isn't going to last much
longer...I've got stuff to do. But, as a followup to what we wrote previously
(you know, the part about THIS SUMMER, when your Federally Elected politicians
are showing up at your events, slapp'n you on the back, saying "our firefighters
are our heroes," kissing your asses etc) make sure THEY ARE taking care
of you. Talk To Them
and Ask Them.
AND FOR THAT: We have some suggestions.
# 1-Thank them for what they have done
for you. By doing that, the politician will start to listen. Basic communications
skills, start by being NICE...even if they do nothing for you....they are
now listening so move quick.
# 2-Ask them what their commitment will
be to YOUR LOCAL FD to insure you will get what is needed. AND be prepared
to clearly justify WHY you need it. In most cases, you will have no trouble
# 3-Ask them if they will CONTINUE to vote
for and support FEDERAL FIRE ROGRAMS? Programs managed and lead by FIRE
(USFA) people, in the Department of Homeland Security. Ask your federally
elected politician WHAT THEY PERSONALLY DID when our funding was threatened
this year? That includes: The National Fire Academy Funding, The FIRE ACT
Grant continuing in the exact manner to which it has been operated (generally
fair, seemingly honest and by FIRE people) and that the DHS MAINTAIN a
VERY CLEAR FIRE presence and LEADERSHIP role....one we don't have to "look
for" to find.
# 4-After you feel that they actually MAY
do what you have discussed with them, as described above...ASK WHY WE HAVE
TO FIGHT SO DAMN HARD? They will then respond with something about "many
programs" and lot's of "mouths to feed" and although "firefighters are
a high priority to me" we have to look at other programs as well.
GENERALLY-when you hear that, you say thanks,
walk away and DOUBT that ANYTHING will change. We have all been there....but
I dug up the following facts that may get
their attention....we found that Federal Government "Pork-barrel" spending
for fiscal 2003 reached a record $22.5 billion, a 12% increase over last
year! $22.5 BILLION...and there are STILL FD's begging for air packs and
What counts as "pork" is open to debate--since
one persons "pork" is another persons "crucial government service."
"Pork"...Government waste that usually
includes projects that aren't competitively awarded, not subject to congressional
hearings, they serve only a local or special interest, etc....NOTHING that
would ever happen in YOUR community. Much of this Federal spending takes
place in the districts or states of those "powerful" members of congressional
appropriations committees,.of course it does! The same "powerful" elected
officials you'll see this summer.
So the next time you respond to a FIRE
or EMS run with less than adequate staffing, have no funding for training,
have to "beg" for operational funding and $$ for all of the others tasks
we take on in order to serve the public....keep this stuff in mind...and
USE THIS as a questionnaire for YOUR FEDERALLY ELECTED OFFICIALS. Take
a minute to ask them WHY they awarded $210,000 for hoop barns in Iowa,
$200,000 for the "National" Peanut Festival Fairgrounds in Alabama, $250,000
for the Vermont World Trade Center (THE WHAT???), $250,000 for the National
Preschool Anger Management Project (Where DO WE sign up?), $500,000 for
catfish health in Mississippi (I had a FF working with me a few years ago
nicknamed "Catfish"...I'll bet HE would appreciate this), $600,000 for
an oral history of the Nevada Test Site (from what I hear-there is a lot
of ORAL history in Nevada...and it's all legal!), $1 million for
the Alaska Native Justice Center...to name a few.
Some may say "in the big picture-this is
not a lot of money"...We say: Tell that to the FD's that still beg, borrow
and steal to get by....at a time when, in the constant words of EVERY Federally
Elected Official: "Americas' First Responders and Homeland Security is
our top priority." Is some of the above "pork stuff" important?---I don't
know-it "might" be....AS LONG AS PUBLIC SAFETY is at an appropriate level
and THOSE WHO PROVIDE it have the tools, training and staffing needed to
safety do the job.
And for those who do it for a living: A
salary that allows you to live without working multiple jobs. And for those
who volunteer: Funding so you don't have to beg.
Alright..I'm winding down. Sorry...this
crap makes me nuts..and probably does you to. So I figured maybe you could
use a little ammo as shown above. As a parting contribution, below is the
Pig Book of 'Oinkers' for 2003...from the Citizens Against Government Waste.
Maybe even cut'n paste this story, sign it as yours and send a letter.
Whatever it takes....just do something.
Take Care...abadah, abadah, abadah...uh...th-th-tha-thats
Check this out.....
The Halls of Shame Award for $750,000
for the Baseball Hall of Fame; $350,000
for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; and
$90,000 for the National Cowgirl
Museum and Hall of Fame.
The Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut Award
to Rep. Terry Everett (R-Ala.) for $202,500 for the National Peanut
Festival Fairgrounds in Dothan, Ala.
The Fiscal Unfitness Award for $6.8 million
in YMCA and YWCA funding.
The Taxpayers Get Tanked Award for $3
million for the Department of Defense's Tanker Lease Pilot Program.
The Don't Step in It Award for $4 million
for the International Fertilizer Development Center.
The Gold Rush Award to Senator Ted Stevens
(R-Alaska) for his $393 million in pork in Alaska.
The French Fried Pork Award or $180,000
each to the Franco-American Heritage Center and the Forum Francophone
Des Affaires in Maine.
The Sound of Pork Award for $800,000 for
the GRAMMY Foundation and $90,000 for the American Film Institute.
The Early Byrd Gets the Pork Award to Senator
Robert Byrd (D-W. Va.) for his $298 million in pork for West Virginia.
The Fiscally Un-Bearable Award to Senator
Conrad Burns (R-Mont.) for a $1 million DNA study of bears.
The Deficit in My Diaper Award for the
$250,000 to implement the National Preschool Anger Management Project.
The Our Money Lies Over the Ocean Award
to Senator Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) for his $353 million in pork
The Taxpayers Get Shellacked Award for
$9.5 million in various wood research.
Sources:www.governmentguide.com and www.Forbes.com