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What does "Risk a lot" mean?

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  • What does "Risk a lot" mean?

    I know this is a bit long so if your to busy too read it, no problem just skip on by .

    I will go back in time a little bit to when I was a new firefighter. I was single and didn’t have any kids so I was definitely ready to risk my life to save a life. It was a no brainer for me, if I get a call for a working house fire with a known rescue go ahead and punch my ticket because I am going in. I don’t look at the ticket to see if it’s only one way. If your single without children right now then chances are you feel the same way and if you started your career the same as me, single without children than you also most likely felt the same way I did at the time. I held on to this philosophy for many years and I don’t know this for sure but I would think the majority of firefighters out there Family or not would agree with me (not all but the majority).

    So now let’s fast forward a bit to a time when I now have a family of my own. My mind set has changed, but it should change right? I now have to ensure that my family is taken care of, I want to see my child grow and experience life, I want to teach her to read, then teach her to drive and I want to walk her down the aisle. So I still risk my life every shift but now the “calculated manner” means a whole lot more than it did before. If I get a call for a working house fire with a person trapped I will still punch the ticket but now I take a good look at it and make sure it’s a round trip. Isn’t that what I am supposed to do? When you read my tactics as a single firefighter did you think to yourself “freelancer” or “Johnny save the world”? You probably thought “there shouldn’t be a firefighter on any truck that’s going to risk his life in such a reckless manner”. Well don’t be so quick to judge me.

    I am going to use the tragic columbine shooting to try and put this into perspective. The first shots were fired by the two suspects at 1120 and within the first five minutes there were multiple officers on scene and following their protocol they didn’t go in after those two. Instead they set up a perimeter and waited for the swat team to make the entry, mean while they had to stand outside and listen to countless gun shots and horrible screams coming from the inside the building where helpless students were being killed. They don’t make an entry because it would probably be a one way ticket. Let me ask you this, if you were outside and your child was inside would you go in? I bet of those that are reading this it’s a 100% yes vote. How many kids would have been saved that day? We will never know the answer to that question but I do know that a large majority of Police departments have changed their operating procedures so that the initial officers will make the entry and will try to eliminate the threat as early as possible. They have the tools, they have the training and they made a decision to accept a job that could put them in that exact situation, I don’t want to see an officer die but I am thankful that they changed their practices.

    Well we also have tools, the training, and we made that same decision to accept a job that will put us in harm’s way. I have been in some fires that “Calculated manner” and “saving a life” where as far away from each other as the north and South Pole. It’s easy to go in and work your way down a smoky hallway and when conditions start to deteriorate a little you sound the emergency traffic and switch to defensive operations, you didn’t complete the primary but it’s considered a successful fire because you and your crew made it out alive. I am talking about a real “Risk”. When you haven’t finished the primary search and everything is telling you to get out soon but you continue to push forward and clear that last room before bailing out the window that you’ve truly “risked your life”.

    So here is the point of this letter. Should my philosophy still be; “I have a family and I shouldn’t take the risk so I be there for them”? That isn’t fair to the person who is trapped. They are dying and the only thing they can pin any amount of hope on is “the firefighters are coming, they are brave and they will risk it all to save me”. They are fully expecting to be rescued and they certainly deserve to be. I don’t feel its right that I have placed my own family above theirs/yours? I took an oath and I provide for my family because of that oath. If I intend to honor it I must ensure that my family will be taken care of and I must make my spouse aware of my intentions. I will no longer place my family above theirs/yours, but if you took the same oath then can you make me the same promise? Like most of us, I don’t work at the fire station that would respond to my house in the event of an emergency. If my house catches on fire I pray that the responding Engine Company will put everything on the line and get my family out. I am not some want to be super hero and I am not asking all firefighters to run into burning buildings with total disregard to their own safety. I am only asking that you truly hold to the risk management profile and truly “RISK A LOT” to save a life in a calculated manner. Am I wrong to think this way?
    Last edited by joeff1974; 08-02-2010, 03:45 AM.

  • #2
    Originally posted by joeff1974 View Post
    I know firefighters won’t read this if it’s to long so...
    ...you made it too long.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally Posted by joeff1974
      I know firefighters won’t read this if it’s to long so..
      .
      Acklan said ...
      you made it too long.
      It's far too long... and without paragraph breaks... extremely difficult to read.
      ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
      Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by DeputyChiefGonzo View Post
        Originally Posted by joeff1974
        .
        Acklan said ...


        It's far too long... and without paragraph breaks... extremely difficult to read.
        It was just one big blur for me, I didn't even read past the opening line.
        September 11th - Never Forget

        I respect firefighters and emergency workers worldwide. Thank you for what you do.

        Sheri
        IACOJ CRUSTY CONVENTION CHAIR
        Honorary Flatlander

        RAY WAS HERE FIRST

        Comment


        • #5
          joeff1974

          I can't tell if you want us to judge you, agree with you, or if you are trying to sort this out in your mind and heart.

          There's is nothing wrong with holding your kids and wife in such high honor, but we all signed on to do this important job. It has its risks.

          I can tell you this, the times that I had to try to rescue someone, I didn't have time to think about my family. I had to focus on the job. I had to always be on guard.

          On one occasion while searching a room, I was pinned in a collapse. I couldn't move. That is when I began to think about my family. I truly believed it was over for me and was making peace with my God. Within a few minutes, I heard a crew coming in. Long story short, they were able to remove me.

          I was burned and had multiple injuries. While I was in the hospital, I considered quitting. Every guy I worked with had been coming up to see me during those long days. To be honest, I doubted myself and my ability to do the job. I discussed it with my wife several times and she always said the same thing, "You're a firefighter." The amount of support that I received was amazing. The guys would not let me quit.

          One of the guys said "We did not quit on you and you will not quit on us."

          I am still a firefighter, a lot older and a lot wiser. Each of us have to decide if we can do the job. However you have to deal with it is up to you. But if your not able to focus on the job for any reason, then you need to consider asking for a new assignment.
          HAVE PLAN.............WILL TRAVEL

          Comment


          • #6
            the post isn't too long.

            i know it is hard to express issues like this on a forum and it is difficult to spell it out correctly. it is likely to do over a good beer at the local pub or over some good cigars with a good friend from work.



            ray mccormick had a great speach at fdic 2009. we will RISK EVERYTHING to save a saveable victim. if we can, we will, even at risk to us! we will not martyr ourselves but we will approach it (the rescue and fire attack) as well trained, well prepared professionals regardless of pay scale.

            as far as providing for my family, everyday i am at work i shall become better at my job, learn and practice to reduce thoses risks to myself and crew. I will lead as a company officer, train and guide as a true leader, and check my equipment as my life depends on it.... because it does. We drive more carefully, we will wear our seatbelts, and take fire ops and other situations seriously. I will be a student of building construction (and deconstruction) and fire (and smoke) behavior at everymoment possible. secondly, i have (God forbid) have set my family so that we are taken care of fiscally just in case.

            as a Marine (active from 93-97), i have thought about that too in the same way.

            I want to finish my career and retire to the mountains and sit on the porch with my wife and grandkids wittling wood while smoking a pipe.


            pm me if you want.
            Originally Posted by madden01
            "and everyone is encouraged to use Plain, Spelled Out English. I thought this was covered in NIMS training."

            Comment


            • #7
              I agree with pk,

              I'm a huge advocate of slowing down and not rushing blindly into a situation.. but maybe I read this wrong... If you are hesitating to do your job you really should find something else to do. Doing what you are doing will wind up getting one of your brothers or sisters killed because you are not focused. And I am sure that is the last thing you want...

              You able to move into an EMS only position? Or maybe a safety position?

              Comment


              • #8
                also, healthy respect for the enemy is good.

                sometimes when we are younger and/or immature we lack that.
                Originally Posted by madden01
                "and everyone is encouraged to use Plain, Spelled Out English. I thought this was covered in NIMS training."

                Comment


                • #9
                  It is a bit long and as Gonz pointed out, hard to read.

                  Regardless, it's a good question and if you have children and haven't had those thoughts, then you might be a sociopath.

                  I can remember the first time I entered a structure after my first child was born. You can bet that she was on my mind. Hell, I think of my kids even when I'm just commuting (been to many, many fatal wrecks).

                  "Risk a lot"... I think that's a term that can be applied collectively or individually, depends on your helmet color.

                  When I was Chief, it didn't matter to me if you had kids or not, I wasn't going to lose you no matter what (that was the plan, anyway).

                  As a black hat, it's much more personal... "do I push in further"... "is there someone in that back bedroom"... "is it getting too hot"... etc..etc.. Those are then balanced by, "what am *I* risking".

                  So, to answer your question, it depends on a list of circumstances. As has been said, we aren't interested in producing martyrs. However, we (the fire service collectively) generally understand that it's a risky business and that we'll do things that we don't ask of everday folk.
                  I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

                  "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

                  "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    If you are getting concerns about the job, either you need to consult your family doctor and seek help or, begin looking for a job that doesn't have these risks.

                    I have had some of those thoughts before and came out OK. Not saying some jobs I thought this may be the last alarm, but as it has always been told to me, when your time comes, no matter where or hat you are doing, it that time.
                    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

                    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      His post was too long? You people will argue for days on end with scarecrow about meaningless bulls#it, but a heartfelt question is too much for you to deal with? Never too busy to chat about which fdny superfan book is your favorite, but his question was too long? Leather helmets? Christ, I've seen you people ramble for days about it, with all of the worst firefighter "lingo" - tactical tupperware, salad bowls, and a pukingly long list of embarrasing banter, but god forbid someone bring up something they consider serious. What a bunch of self important mooks. And one fan. If it was really too long, or hard for you to understand, why not just pass it by? Why the need to put the guy down? I guess you're just too cool.

                      What's your favorite fdny book?
                      Just a typical moronic, childish, idiotic munchkin.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Whocares View Post
                        His post was too long? You people will argue for days on end with scarecrow about meaningless bulls#it, but a heartfelt question is too much for you to deal with? Never too busy to chat about which fdny superfan book is your favorite, but his question was too long? Leather helmets? Christ, I've seen you people ramble for days about it, with all of the worst firefighter "lingo" - tactical tupperware, salad bowls, and a pukingly long list of embarrasing banter, but god forbid someone bring up something they consider serious. What a bunch of self important mooks. And one fan. If it was really too long, or hard for you to understand, why not just pass it by? Why the need to put the guy down? I guess you're just too cool.

                        What's your favorite fdny book?
                        I see that the OP has broken it up to make it readable...

                        By the way.. PaladinKnight summed up my thoughts...

                        I don't have a favorite FDNY book.
                        Last edited by DeputyChiefGonzo; 08-02-2010, 11:29 PM.
                        ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
                        Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Whocares View Post
                          His post was too long? You people will argue for days on end with scarecrow about meaningless bulls#it, but a heartfelt question is too much for you to deal with? Never too busy to chat about which fdny superfan book is your favorite, but his question was too long? Leather helmets? Christ, I've seen you people ramble for days about it, with all of the worst firefighter "lingo" - tactical tupperware, salad bowls, and a pukingly long list of embarrasing banter, but god forbid someone bring up something they consider serious. What a bunch of self important mooks. And one fan. If it was really too long, or hard for you to understand, why not just pass it by? Why the need to put the guy down? I guess you're just too cool.

                          What's your favorite fdny book?
                          This post is way too long.
                          I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

                          "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

                          "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Hahaha, well played...
                            Just a typical moronic, childish, idiotic munchkin.

                            Comment

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