Get an Opinion
By Ray McCormack
Getting an opinion from a firefighter is not usually something you have to request, they are generally handed out like candy on Halloween by the full. What do firefighters have to say on grant money, cutbacks, and the future of fire attack, just to name a few? Many will say something on cutbacks; some might say something about grant money, but many are silent on the future of fire attack. Why is our range of pertinent subjects so vague when we have abundant media available to us, as well as an instant knowledge extension? This may hurt a few of you out there, but you don't have a solid opinion because you don't care enough to bother. Cutbacks hurt us in many ways: from service arrival delays to accomplishment barriers and a loss of livelihood for some. Our profession is more than just a job, and to lose that center in your life is very difficult and painful. We can share that opinion and for most of us any depth beyond the surface will suffice; however when we want to do more than hope and dream, an education in government and economic factors are the lessons we need to brush up on. So why don't we do more? We have the time, we have collective thought opportunities; we have media access, but we are lacking one basic – and that is we don't care enough! Looking for leadership is just another example of waiting on the sidelines and being told what to do. Forget leadership and act. Doing something on our own and owning it is leadership. You don't have to ‘knight’ someone special, knight yourself and then do the work. Grant money is a wonderful thing, and the fire service should get its piece of the pie so that we can test theories, tools and products. Do you know who gets the biggest dollar grants and how much they receive? And have you ever seen the results of all this Federal largess? Most of us have not and why is that, what excuse sounds the most plausible? Go and look up the Fire Prevention and Safety Grant program (it's under FEMA) and see for yourself. It's not that any monies have been misappropriated, it is about educating yourself; information that the well rounded opinionated firefighter should possess. You might be surprised at how the money is dispersed. Thirty six million so far this year, ($36,000,000) just to associations and colleges – not fire departments! The future of fire attack is another interesting topic that many in the fire service have no real clue about. Things will change on the fireground, and if we look around, many places do it differently from the way you do it already. You must look beyond tools and technology and examine trends that are being pushed forward and by whom. You must also understand the impact of independent testing events and how event outcomes morph into new operational guidelines often without proper vetting. A new future on the fireground is up to you to develop or you can just pick a prepackaged option from the shelf it is up to you. Dig deep. It is certainly worth your time and effort to see how the playing field is set up, who plays, and what the score is on many fronts. If you do or do not like what you see, then that is a reward for personal research. An opinion that is based on knowledge allows you to decide what is good or bad for yourself and anytime we are thinking things through our tactical safety will benefit. Next Tactical Safety - Never Mind My Air Supply, How Much Gas is Left?