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Wanna work with a deaf firefighter?

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  • #16
    A handicapped firefighter who knows his limitations on a fireground is far safer than a perfectly formed firefighter who doesn't know his limitations.

    --------------------
    On the pager issue, 1) He's in PG County and they almost always respond only from the station, so no need for the pager. 2) There is much better technology out there -- Alpha-Numeric pagers, and within 15 years almost all the fire service will replace their voice pager systems with them. I'll eat my New Yorker if Motorola ever develops a new voice pager to replace the Minitor III line. I honestly believe it's the final generation of voice pagers, and I doubt you'll ever see another major manufacturer other than one serving fringe markets.

    Comment


    • #17
      I have to agree that there are jobs besides actual firefighting that a deaf member can do. Like eCappy Said...The Guy could Raise Ladders, Roll Hose, Coil and Re-Stock Ropes -- Clean Equipment, Set up Lighting and Yes Perform CPR. The list could go on and on and on. Actual Firefighting/Search and Rescue ?...I would have to say no but The Fire Service could benifit from this person especially when someone who knows sign language is needed...Sounds like PG County is in for One Hell of a Suit If this Guy Wins --- HE DESERVES A CHANCE AND I THINK PG COUNTY SHOULD GIVE IT TO HIM.

      Comment


      • #18
        While I'm not fond of this ADA mess, the issue the judge will deal with is reasonable accomodation. Can the person peform some or all of the duties with a reasonable accomdation. In this case the answer is clearly yes.

        And we're not told here about how well his hearing is with hearing aids, which are a reasonable accomodation.

        Pagers - alpha pagers vibrate and xmit text, he'd know what and where the call is.

        He may not be an inside guy, but the list of things he can do and reasonable accomodations is long.

        Under existing ADA laws, and if the court looks at vfds like a regular business, he wins.

        Comment


        • #19
          HELLO WE HAVE A DEAF FIREFIGHTER AND HE ALSO AS ABOUT 300 HOURS OF TRAINING AND HE KICKS DOWN DOORS AND FEELS THE HEAT JUST LIKE ME AND YOU DO. YES THERE IS A PROBLEM WITH HIM HEARING US BUT BRING A FLASH LITE AND SHINE IT AT HIM AND HE LOOKS AT YOU AND THEN SHOW HIM WHAT YOU WANT DONE AND HE WILL DO IT.BUT IF THE HOUSE IS ROCKING HE DOSE NOT GO IN BUT LET ME TELL YOU THE KID FEELS ALOT OF HEAT. WE ARE A BUSY COMPANY ABOUT 450 CALLS A YEAR AND HE MAKE 300 OF THEM. I THINK HE SHOULD BEABLE TO FIGHT FIRE PUT YOUR SELF IN HIS SHOE.

          ------------------
          ASST.CHIEF DAVID BASALA

          Comment


          • #20
            What happens when a medic accidentaly drops a needle and says "watch out, sharp on the floor"...or says "clear!" when he goes to defib?? How about when the radios are not working well and the only signal to pull out of the building is the air horn blasts? How about in the dark cellar when the officer tells him to pull in more line?? Can anyone here remember what its like inside a burning structure?? I am not being insensitive to this individual, but your sense of hearing is so critical I cannot imagine doing this job in a safe manner without it.

            ------------------

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            • #21
              I am very much aware that people with imparements begin to use their other senses much more accuratly than we ever can. I also know that in a fire, sometimes hearing is all you have.

              We have all been in that fire where you just couldn't see your hand unless it was flat on your facepiece. So imagine for a moment that you are doing a primary search with your deaf partner and you enter a room to search it. You fall down a hole, and have no way to contact your partner.

              Another situation.. lets say there is a downed firefighter inside a building. We all know that an activated pass device cuts minutes off finding a downed brother, minutes that could save that firefighters life.

              In my opinion, verbal communication is just too important in our business.


              ------------------
              FF. Mike Burnes
              Whitehall Fire Division

              Comment


              • #22
                I feel fortunate to have served on fire departments that allowed and encouraged people with physical and mental challenges to become active members.

                It's true that the officers had to remember that these members each had a list of "can-do" and "can't-do" and at NO time could any assignments be given to them where their safety or the safety of others could be compromised .... but isn't that almost the way it is with so many of our "normal" firefighters; you know, the ones afraid of height, or much too overweight and out-of-shape to perform, or too undisciplined to stop freelancing and follow simple orders, or those that can't accept the fact that someone other than themselves were elected as officers or as chief?

                Based solely on my experiences I'd prefer having a deaf firefighter performing in his or her limited role at a fire scene than any of the type I've descibed above.

                Comment


                • #23
                  I can't believe anyone would even consider supporting this idea, at least not anyone who actually does this job.

                  Fortunately, the NFPA has a standard, NFPA 1582, "Standard on Medical Requirements for Firefighters". The NFPA's requirements list diagnoses that immediately disqualify individuals from being firefighters and diagnoses that require evaluation of the individual on a case-by-case basis. It is chock full of references to hearing loss as disqualifying, because of inability to perform specific essential tasks including:

                  3-2x Rely on sense of sight, hearing, smell, and touch to help determine the nature of the emergency; maintain personal safety; and make critical decisions in a confused, chaotic, and potentially life-threatening environment throughout the duration of the operation.
                  3-2ab Ability to verbally communicate effectively under noisy circumstances with a potential for voice obstruction by personal protective equipment.
                  3-2ac Ability to distinguish low intensity voice sounds from background noise in order to respond to imminently hazardous situations.

                  Of course, the irony in all this is that if they let this deaf guy on the dept. in any emergency response role, they could be sued by the union for endangering the members lives and not following "recognized industry standards". Anyone want to be a fire chief?

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    To lady_in_turnouts:

                    While I empathize with your positive outlook I believe that I can say with some conviction and experience that, given the current technology readily available to the fire service today, there is no way we are ready for a deaf firefighter.

                    There is simply no reasonable accomodation possible to place a deaf firefighter on the fireground without placing the public, the firefighter, and every other responder on the fireground at risk.

                    I sincerely hope that the future will bring a means to allow your son to become a firefighter, but if he were to apply today I would have to strenuously object on grounds of safety.

                    mac


                    ------------------
                    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                    8 years fire captain
                    20 years fire service
                    BS Fire Science
                    FO-II,FSI-II,SO,HMT,PSE
                    Past Volunteer

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      To all of you that are Flat Out saying NO to this Guy I don't think you are seeing the bigger picture. -- Maybe I'm Wrong But....

                      He is Not going after a Paid Position with in the County from what I've Read so I can't Understand what Involvement a Union would have in this. He is not/Should not be doing any kind of Interior Work ~ Some of you are making him out to be this Smoke eating, Flame Stopping, Rescue Hero. In the back of Our Minds we know it will never happen and I think this guy knows he won't be an interior man. He may not even be able to attend recruit school in PG County because of the hearing loss. But I find nothing wrong with him being classified as "Support Personnel" --- Also it has been finally mentioned {I was waiting to see how long it would take for somebody to pick-up on this one NICE JOB mongofire_99 } With the help of a hearing aid or aides will this guy be able to hear ? Is this guy 100% Deaf or Partially Deaf? But as usual with alot of these posts We read We see one thing wrong with a guy and we're Quick to Point out all the Bad Points of a situation with-out thinking it through --- This guy has a hearing disability yes...But he has a Heart for this Job bigger than Most....Just the Fact that he wants to try is more than most people in his condition would dream of. But I guess We'll never know unless PGFD gives him the chance --- Department should give him a chance -- Work with him and see what he could be capable of and what he could not be capable of before they give him gear and put him on the street

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Most volunteer fire companies around the country provide reasonable accomodations day in, day out.

                        We have firefighters who won't go inside since they get claustrophobic in air packs. We have firefighters who only drive the ambulance, and can't lift patients due to back injuries at work years ago.
                        We have other firefighters who only drive apparatus & act as pump operators, and support us with maintenance & welding, but after several heart operations they're not going to be throwing ladders or picking up hose.

                        Heck, we even have a Company Physician who will specify the medical restrictions on a member.

                        It comes down to flexibility in job descriptions. Career departments are much less flexible, because the employees are limited in number by finance and are expected to fill all roles. Volunteer departments can enjoy this flexibility -- it's a minimal extra cost for an extra pair of hands, even if those hands can't do everything on a fireground, they can free someone who can.
                        --------
                        As for sharps, you better dang well pick up a sharp you just dropped, because that is an emminent hazard to you and others. And not visually verifying everyone is "clear" is inviting disaster, whether or not your co-workers can hear. Interior firefighting *might* be more dangerous, but by the point of salvage & overhaul there probably isn't any extra hazard.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          There is simply no reasonable accomodation possible to place a deaf firefighter on the fireground without placing the public, the firefighter, and every other responder on the fireground at risk.

                          A federal judge ruled last month that some nitwit that had a 'mental condition' that kept her from leaving her home until her hair and outfit were absolutley perfect to her own standards was awarded an ADA settlement against the hospital that fired her for failing to show up to work on time.

                          The hospitals self imposed unreasonable accomodations to try and work this out with this gal included allowing her to show up for work within 24 hours of the time she was supposed to be there and scheduled her next days work off the time she actaully showed up. That means if she had to be at work Monday at 0800, she didn't have to show up until Tuesday at 0800.

                          Dunlap is right, we're not seeing the big picture and we're not getting the whole story.

                          We got old guys that can't go in, but they can pump. We got weaklings that can't drag a 150' of 1.75" when it has water in it, much less Bubba when she falls out on the 2nd floor and we're short handed. We got young guys that are afraid of their own shadow and won't go in, but they can fill an air bottle, throw ladders, stage equipment and all the other BS of this business we call firefighting. And you know what, there's plenty for them to do on the fire ground regardless.

                          If this guy walked up to my VFD, just like any rook, I'd put him through the paces to see what he could do and base what he does in the VFD after that.

                          Keep a 98# gal (no offense) off your department because she can't 'safely'do the job or drag Bubba out of the @#$% storm when the fit hits the shan and see what happens next (you'll notice her pupils will turn to $ signs). There is absolutely no difference here (except our egos like to have the young women around). If you think I'm wrong, keep the next gal off because having her around is detrimental to firefighter safety.

                          Dang Dalmation90, you made most of my points...

                          [This message has been edited by mongofire_99 (edited 04-14-2001).]

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            The simple question posed by this forum is "Wanna work with a deaf firefighter?"

                            All political correctness, all ADA court decisions, all other bullsh*t aside, the simple answer to a simple question is, "Of course not."

                            I have to rely on my partner, even, God forbid, for my very survival one day. It's not fair to ask me to settle for someone without all of the skills and senses necessary to perform the tasks required of an interior firefighting team.

                            NO, in a nutshell.

                            ------------------
                            J. Black

                            The opinions expressed are mine and mine alone and may not reflect those of any organization with which I am associated.

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              I have worked with two deaf volunteer firefighters. I can honestly and sincerely say that there was never a problem. They were always restricted from interior operations, they accepted their limited roles, and they made themselves useful at many other fireground activities.

                              I also have worked with two volunteer firefighters that were amputees (one lost his whole leg, the other lost the lower leg). Another firefighter had Tourettes, two had epilepsy, one was a bad stutterer, and another had an attention deficit disorder. In all honesty I can not recall any significant problems.

                              It was always ALWAYS the egotistical know everything healthy expert firefighters (that usually just switch feet each time they open their mouths) that caused ALL the problems.

                              If this deaf person in question turns out to be half, just half, as good as the deaf firefighters I knew he'll be GREAT!

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Let me just ask you folks that say there's plenty for him to do safely on the fireground without being an inside guy:

                                Q) What happens the first time he doesn't hear a back-up alarm on an engine?

                                A) PG county pays off his life insurance and now they have a reason to turn down the next deaf guy.

                                I think it's admirable that he wants to be a firefighter but, he's more of a liability than an asset in any position on the fireground. Let's be serious here folks, there are certain positions, in and out of the fire service, that cannot be held by disabled people without putting themselves and others in jeopardy. It's not a matter of insensitivity, it's a matter of scene safety. Besides, who's fault is it going to be if (or should I say when) he gets hurt? Most likely it will be the poor guy that he was working with. Nobody should have to baby-sit someone, especially another firefighter, on ANY emergency scene just to prevent them from getting hurt.

                                To answer the actual question asked in the post... NO, I would not want to work with a deaf firefighter.

                                Comment

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