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Smoke and Mirrors: Stop calling firefighters "heroes."

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  • #46
    WEB TEAM!!!

    The WEB TEAM needs to take out the trash, and get the smart *** out of here.


    • #47
      The web team has been notified

      The WEB TEAM has been notified.


      • #48
        The Webteam is not going to ban someone for posting their opinions in a civil manner. Get over yourself.
        Member IACOJ


        • #49
          Douglas Gantenbein + William Langewiesche = COWARDS

          Author description: Douglas Gantenbein has written for The Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times Magazine, Sports Illustrated, Popular Science, and Backpacker. Author of the Outside magazine column "The Gear Guy," he teaches at the University of Washington and is a member of Seattle Mountain Rescue, the oldest and largest volunteer wilderness rescue organization in the United States.

          Like I said earlier;I do agree with him with this comment. "But let's save the encomiums for when they are truly deserved, not when they just show up to do their job."

          But I also believe in this comment... "A man's greatest act of bravery is becoming a Fireman. Everything else is in the Line of Duty."

          Chief Croker, FDNY 1906

          BOYCOTT The Atlantic Monthly
          Last edited by E40FDNYL35; 11-03-2003, 04:48 PM.
          NEVER FORGET 9-11-01
          CAPT. Frank Callahan Ladder 35 *
          LT. John Ginley Engine 40
          FF. Bruce Gary Engine 40
          FF. Jimmy Giberson Ladder 35
          FF. Michael Otten Ladder 35 *
          FF. Steve Mercado Engine 40 *
          FF. Kevin Bracken Engine 40 *
          FF. Vincent Morello Ladder 35
          FF. Michael Roberts Ladder 35 *
          FF. Michael Lynch Engine 40
          FF. Michael Dauria Engine 40

          Charleston 9
          "If my job was easy a cop would be doing it."
          *******************CLICK HERE*****************


          • #50
            Originally posted by ThNozzleman
            The Webteam is not going to ban someone for posting their opinions in a civil manner. Get over yourself.
            I knew one day we could agree on something.

            It's time that some people realize that fire fighters are not a protected class of people. Not everyone likes us.


            • #51
              Personally, I do not agree with Mr. Douglas Gantenbein, and his views on our profession!

              But, I only one thing to say, this is America, and he has the freedom of speech. This freedom was given to Mr. Gantenbien by our war heroes years ago. I am sure, by his standers, these men and women that lost their lives to for him, were not heroes either. As the military have many of the same traditions as the fire service.

              Firefighters are Americans, we have rights too, and we have the right not to purchase Sports Illustrated or MSN or any other publications the Mr. Gantenbein writes for. Maybe the editors will consider the drop in sales, when they edit Mr. Gatenbein articles before allowing such crap to be published.

              As the millions of firefighters may take this time to exercise, Exercise our right not to buy or support, any corporations that Mr. Gatenbien is affiliated with.

              Mark Conn
              South Florida
              (Not a hero since 1978)


              • #52
                Look what happens when you let someone play with the home labotomy kit once too often

                This individual is as uninformed as he is brash...first he flames firefighters in Slate now he wanders in here trying to justify his twisted belief and all because hes mad that some guys from his area infringed on what he considered his turf (that being mountain rescue).
                I dont post here often BUT after reading his rants in Slate and then reading his odacious post in here I felt compelled to remark simply by virtue of the fact that Im a member here and he shouldnt be.
                The shame of it is he is hiding under the cloak of freedom of speech and using it to blasphemy people whom he has never met, or worked with. The man is obviously smart enuf to be a hazzard to himself and others, and I for one and thankful I dont live anywhere near him, if I did I would move.


                • #53
                  How I see it.....

                  A response to Mr. Douglas Gantenbein:

                  Let’s take step back, breathe deeply a few times, and look at this article objectively (if we can). First of all, I’m sure all of our initial reactions were pretty much the same. Something along the lines of “Why, you mutt, I oughta….”. Secondly, remember that in these forums, or the firehouse, or with our families, we are preaching to the choir (that means that we are attempting to persuade those who already agree with us). Thirdly, in over 30 years as a firefighter I have seen Mr. Gantenbein’s point of view expressed every once in a while, so it’s nothing new. Sometimes the letter is from a wanna-be that was rejected by or dismissed from his local volunteer fire department and seeks to “get back at them”. Sometimes it comes from a guy who has tried and tried in vain to get on his local paid department, and lashes out in his frustration. More typically it is from some poorly-informed civilian with a lot of time, a little paper, and no clue. He has an axe to grind, and we are a target of convenience.

                  I present for your consideration a discussion of this article, in an attempt to put it in perspective. I tried hard (although not altogether successfully) to prevent this from being an angry rant. Such replies are neither helpful nor professional. Please don’t bother sending this guy hate mail. Those who get it, get it. Those who don’t throw stones at those who do. Please bear in mind that Mr. Gantenbein’s article doesn’t entirely malign firefighters – his main point is that we shouldn’t be called heroes, because a lot of the time (in his myopic view) we aren’t doing much, if anything. Let’s get into it, shall we?

                  First, and most importantly, Mr.Gantenbein, you had every right to write the article. You are entitled to your opinions, as are we all. I do regret that someone chose to publish it without equal space for a dissenting viewpoint, but I’m quite sure that you would probably point out that your article is in fact the dissenting viewpoint to the commonly-held belief that firefighters are indeed heroes. May it ever be so. In any case, your assertion that it is a “cush job” with the “best work schedule in the United States” set the tone fairly early - your article is long on opinion and short on fact. In my 30+ years as a firefighter I have seen my work schedule go from 64 hours per week to 48. Even though there is a New York State mandated 40-hour work week for professional firefighters, we still work 48 and get paid the difference in Night Differential Pay. Other paid firefighters around the country work more hours than that, and volunteer firefighters don’t even get the benefit of a work schedule. So, even though the accepted 9-to-5, Monday-through-Friday work week is 40 hours, I work more than that. This also, Mr. Gantenbein, includes weekends and holidays. How many hours per week do you work, Douglas? And how many of your kid’s Christmases have you missed? I’ve missed quite a few.

                  As far as your view that “a few big-city fire stations may have 4, 5 or 6 calls or more during a shift, and the rest are not nearly that busy” . . . boy, you need to get around more. Yes, there are some quieter stations, but you have missed the entire premise of paid fire protection. You see, Douglas, we have to be here 24-7 because we don’t know when your emergency will be, or where. If you could schedule them for us, it would make things a lot easier. Nice spring afternoons would be nice, if it isn’t too much trouble.

                  I also take issue with your thinking that giving tours to school kids (we call it “fire prevention education”) and washing the fire engines (we call it “equipment maintenance”, and it involves a lot more than a just keeping things clean) are not really part of what we should be doing. I guess that building inspections are out, too. Likewise patrolling public assembly events – after all, that isn’t putting hose in the road. You make it sound like we should be out there fighting major blazes all day, every day. Well, I’m sorry to have to be the one to tell you this, but the future of the fire service lies much more in fire prevention than in fire suppression. The vast majority of fire deaths in the United States are dead when the alarm sounds at the fire station. It’s our job to save them, too, and that’s what fire prevention is all about. Your comments about firefighters “doing ambulance work, doing search-and-rescue work, anything but Job #1” are truly incredible. Those are our duties too, Douglas, and believe it or not you are Job #1, whether you are on fire, trapped in a car wreck, or having a heart attack.

                  Your comments about many firefighters moonlighting at other jobs is certainly true. I put three sons through college, and you can’t do that on what we pay our firefighters. It’s called providing for your family, and believe me, most of us don’t work those second (and third) jobs because we like it. We are already away from our families more than the average worker. Guess you missed that. OK, what’s next?

                  Oh yes . . . “firefighting isn’t that dangerous”. Ride along with me in my first alarm district some summer night, Douglas. It’ll change your mind for you. By the way, exactly how many letter-writers died in the line of duty last year? Mr. Gantenbein, rather than allow you to dishonor the memory of so many men and women who are better than yourself, you’ll just have to shut up on this point. I’ve lost too many friends to be able to respond to you objectively on this issue and I make no apology for that.

                  As far as being ‘adrenaline junkies”, yes, I’ve seen some of that. Most of them are young and haven’t seen enough yet. Believe me, even big fires aren’t that thrilling after the first few hundred. Your point about our “excellent propaganda skills” is also confusing. No firefighter I know (or have ever known) is into tooting his own horn. We don’t do that. We hate that. I’m also sorry you found a firefighter’s funeral “agony” to sit through. Rest assured it was agony for us too, but for very different reasons. You see, our funeral rituals are for us, not for you. They mean something to us. We have earned the right to have them. You have not earned the right to criticize them. Next time, stay home. We don’t want you there.

                  Yes, you are correct we are a special interest group. What you fail to grasp is that our “special interest” is your sorry ***. I regret very much that you feel it necessary to label some of us as greedy, lazy, racist, sexist homophobes. Some of us may be some of those things . . . we are people, too. But, call us what you will, we will continue to be there for you whenever and wherever you need us. We will do whatever is necessary to ensure your safety, even at the risk of our own. That’s what we do.

                  In closing, I will not be defined by the misguided ramblings of an ignorant non-combatant. You don’t have the slightest idea what we do, or why, and your opinion doesn’t matter to me at all. Do I consider myself a hero? No, I don’t think that way. I know a lot of heroes, though. As we clear the doors and hit the siren, I’m surrounded by them. It’s a genuine privilege to know them. Too bad you never will. We are firefighters, and we watch out for each other . . . and for you, Mr. Douglas Gantenbein.

                  What’s that? . . . . . . Oh, you’re welcome.

                  Captain David B. Reeves
                  Truck Company 3
                  Syracuse Fire Department
                  Syracuse, NY

                  " Syracuse - An ISO Class 1 Fire Department"
                  "SYRACUSE - An ISO Class One Fire Department"


                  • #54
                    I knew one day we could agree on something.
                    So, THAT'S what all the earth-shaking was about!
                    Member IACOJ


                    • #55
                      MUTT ! MUTT! MUTT ! MUTT! Where is the Dog Catcher when you need one?
                      AKA: Mr. Whoo-Whoo

                      IAFF Local 3900

                      IACOJ-The Crusty Glow Worm

                      ENGINE 302 - The Fire Rats

                      F.A.N.T.A.M FOOLS FTM-PTB


                      • #56

                        Captain Reeves,

                        I think your letter pretty near sums it up for us all, Paid and Volunteer. Some people will just never understand.

                        Stay Safe,



                        • #57
                          Try to keep everything in perspective. "Those who can, Do and become firefighters. Those who can't, become writers!" Just keep in mind we have earned a good name and don't have to prove anything to anyone.
                          E. Dean Holland
                          Retired Fire Chief


                          • #58

                            I understand what you are saying 100%. This guy has hit some issues that the industry has problems with.
                            The part that fry's me is this is exactly the kind of media that city planners use to decide budgets for their Depts.
                            Maybe he should ride in a house that sends out two man engine companies for a few weeks. I mean in between games of checkers. I am having a hard time typing this with my bags of money beside me. Maybe he should find out the reason we need second jobs on our off days.
                            In his mindset I guess I should only get paid by the call.

                            A four month wonder goes out and hears some story's, sees a flame or two, and he is an treated as an expert. The point he really misses is that the media are the ones that have pounded the "Hero" name on us. It doesn't sell newspapers or books to just say Firefighters.

                            He is right that the industry needs help on some issues, but If he is trying to help by making us look like a bunch of lazy, overpaid, thrill junkies. Thanks for nothing. When they cut our budgets, and manpower again, let him call the pizza delivery guy instead of 911.


                            • #59
                              Originally posted by Mongoose772

                              Please accept my apology about the inference to "jolly whackers". My intent was not to ridicule volunteers, and certainly that irreverant term doesn't apply to most volunteer firefighters.
                              Mongoose, apology accepted and please accept mine for having a hair trigger on these issues.

                              Stay safe Brother


                              • #60
                                I did not join the fire service to be told I have an easy, cushy job and be called a hero, it is just the opposite.

                                When I joined the Yarmouth Volunteer FD in Nova Scotia 28 years ago I was getting $10 a year honorarium. Now I am getting around $200 a year before taxes. I did not join for the money as it doesn't cover the gas or dry cleaning.

                                I did not join to be told it's cushy and easy work. Believe me it's not.

                                When you leave your house and warm bed on a snowy night you don't know when you are coming home.

                                I think that writer should wake up smell the roses and work a 24 hour shift with some of the men he is insulting.

                                Our motto is to serve, defend and protect life and property no matter how easy or hard the work is.


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