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What a quote...re: college education for firefighters

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  • #16
    I e mailed Ms Anderson as (obviously) did a few others. She indicated that New Zealand was thus far the farthest complaint she had recieved but she fully expected to get one from Antartica the way things were going! What about it people? Do we know any Firefighters in Antartica who might like to help put this lady straight?

    Jim Maclean MIfireE
    New Zealand


    • #17
      I would imagine that Ms. Anderson is lacking in good ol' common sense. I'm a firm believer in higher education for ANY occupation. Courage and brawn are wonderful qualities, but I've seen a small 120 pound woman standing on the line fighting a fire, and I've seen a 260 pound man that had to be told what to look for when sent after a tool.

      It would interesting to note what Ms. Anderson would do if her house were burning and in ran a wrestler.


      • #18
        Hamy91, awesome e-mail that you sent her.

        Jimthefireman, there was a guy posting on here a while back using the 'handle' Turbotim' that was with the Antartica fire department, who was there in the winter of 1999 and 2000. I don't know if he's going to be there this winter, normally starting around April.

        Check out

        Interesting facts and figures about Antartica FD. If his home page is still functional, he had quite a few pictures.

        [This message has been edited by iwood51 (edited 02-23-2001).]


        • #19
          Some people just don't get it, do they? I also visited their website and mailed them a letter. I also encouraged them to visit this site and see just how many of us she irked.

          Eng. Co. 9

          "In all of us there are heroes... speak to them and they will come forth."

          "In order for us to achieve all that is demanded of us, we must regard ourselves as greater than we are."


          • #20
            That website indicates a general dissatisfaction with taxes and government. I doubt any opposing view or even cold facts would do more to change her mind. She is an example of many people today that want everything but don't want to pay for it. Her ignorance is her "drug" and she just wants to have more of it. The insults to firefighters are just a way to stir up an issue.

            What we firefighters need to do is ignore responding to her and concentrate on making sure our leaders do not succumb to those tactics and support all public servants, paid and volunteer, for the job we do!

            [This message has been edited by DRA-252 (edited 02-23-2001).]


            • #21
              Being from the great state of Massachusetts and the President of my Local, I felt duty bound inform Ms. Anderson of the error of her ways........

              Needless to say Ms. Anderson is not interested in the facts, she is interested in presenting her own warped opinion with complete disregard for the real issue.

              She informed in her reply that she meant her statement as a compliment, and she had no concerns that if her house was on fire, that the jakes in her town were more than prepared to put it out.

              Since I strongly believe in the bill that is being filed, I have decided not to honor Ms. Anderson with a reply, 'cause she ain't listening anyway.

              Keep up the emails brothers, tell her exactly the way it is.....


              In Memory of those who have passed before us, may their loss not be in vain........

              [email protected]


              • #22
                Here's what I had to say to the lady...

                Attn: Barbara Anderson,
                I take great offense at remarks in the Telegram that were attributed to you, i.e. “I’m not sure what it has to do with firefighting… firefighters do their job because they have a certain amount of brawn and courage… things they probably don’t need an education for….” I am a career firefighter (15+ yrs) in Midland, TX and yes, even I have seen evidence of your statements. Without recounting a whole litany of my education and certifications, I will say that among them I am certified as a Master Firefighter, have nearly 140 college hours, an Associate Degree in Fire Science and a Texas Department of Health (TDH) paramedic license. I was eligible for licensure because of the number of college hours and courses that I possess.

                Recently, the TDH paramedic certification was revamped to become a two-year college-based program. The TDH deemed it necessary and beneficial that the previous one-year program include a number of prerequisite and complimentary classes.

                You have already received a number of emails emphasizing the importance of education in the numerous and varied fields that fire departments are now required to mitigate. I would also suggest to you, as any CEO would recognize, that educated employees make a more valuable, dedicated, disciplined and versatile workforce. It is no different in the fire service. One hundred years ago, firefighters probably were selected solely because of their stamina, brawn and courage but that is hardly the case today, no more so than a horse-drawn piece of apparatus is an appropriate response to a major conflagration.

                To extrapolate your remarks, why would a surgeon need to know any more anatomy than that of an accomplished hunter? Why should an auto mechanic exhibit anything besides a certain dexterity with hand tools? What else but imagination and a proclivity for neat and precise drawings is required of an engineer or architect? In your view, scientists would need no more than a desire to be alchemists.

                I will accept your premise that we are burdened with taxes, whether in Massachusetts or Texas. Unfortunately, that is the government we have made for ourselves and that continues to perpetuate itself. I know only too well their influence on my salary, which is in effect, held hostage by the very taxes we all pay.

                However, we are promoting the professionalism of the fire service with education, above and beyond that which may be required to perform the basic “brawn” of our job, at least as you would define it. We are at times: managers and supervisors, neighborhood priests and psychologists, chemical and medical detectives, building engineers and repairmen, politicians and reporters, budgetary planners and purchasers, law enforcement officers and expert witnesses, code enforcers and inspectors, risk management and safety actuaries, apparatus designers and specification artists, fire prevention educators and tourguides, thermodynamic scientists and hydraulic engineers, PTSD sufferers and critical incident debriefers, husbands and wives, parents, brothers and sisters. Your remarks exhibit an unseemly lack of education on your part and are a deplorable insult to the integrity of the women and men who would risk their lives to save yours.

                Watch yer topknots,


                • #23
                  BTW... Hamy91... that WAS an excellent email. Bit more reserved than mine... still just as true.


                  • #24
                    Ms. ANderson has not replied to my e-mail and I do not think that she is going to.


                    FIrefighters are the chosen people.

                    My views do not reflect that of my department or the United States Air Force


                    • #25
                      Don't feel bad Hamy91, she may not have replied, but her group is recycling it! I received this email with a copy of your email attached:

                      Hi Mike:

                      Following your letter (below), is a letter from a firefighter who knows how to try winning friends and support. You might take a lesson from that twenty-two year old gentleman. It could further your position instead of alienating your audience. Just a positive suggestion.

                      By the way, how much did you pay in Massachusetts state taxes as your entrance fee into this debate? (When you're subject to taxation you then get representation.) Does Colorado provide its own version of our "Quinn" law to your state's police officers and firefighters?

                      Best of luck.

                      Chip Ford --
                      Director of Operations
                      Citizens for Limited Taxation

                      And my reply:


                      I do not need you as a friend and the last time I checked did not need your support. If Ms. Anderson had done her research in the first place I would never have had any reason to know who your little group of Massachusetts tax reform crusaders were and I would not have had any reason to correspond with you at all. Unlike most professions, firefighters, as a general rule, still take great pride in the performance of their duties and have a tendency to band together as a brotherhood. When one makes disparaging remarks about me and my brothers, I take offense. I do not have to be a citizen of any particular state to comment, because in the United States we still have a little thing called free speech which allows me to comment upon ignorance when I observe it, ESPECIALLY when that ignorance is on public display. If you do not want the blabbering of your cohorts commented upon, you should advise them to refrain from making an *** of themselves in front of representatives of the media. I am not soliciting your representation and was not entering into the debate over how your tax dollars are spent. My comments were directed to the weak attempt to justify your position against the spending by portraying today's firefighter as an oaf who has no need for higher education. The next time your organization wishes to make a statement against a particular spending proposal, I suggest you either select a representative who is or will become informed on the matter at hand or make no statement at all. Just a positive suggestion.

                      Mike Branum
                      Over-educated Firefighter
                      Castle Rock, CO


                      • #26
                        what can i say....common sense is hard to find now adays. here's a perfect example. think she'd reconsider her thoughts if she saw what we really did at a call and what is involved back inhouse?

                        stay safe everyone!!!
                        Robert A. Klinger, Jr.


                        • #27
                          Let's see if you'll demonstrate your belief in freedom of
                          speech ... for all. Or is this a closed shop?

                          ***Chip, if your uncle was a firefighter, you should know better than to challenge a firefighter to demonstrate his intestinal fortitude.***

                          Forwarded from Barbara Anderson

                          Hi guys

                          Maybe one of you would like to post this in your discussion group; I'm
                          running out of time to respond to you individually, though it's been
                          interesting and fun. Also miss those of you who read the original posting
                          but didn't follow through -- probably some of you realized that a quote
                          taken out of context isn't a good representation of a position on an issue.

                          First, for some of you from Massachusetts: I know you're still mad about
                          Proposition 2 1/2, sorry you aren't still paying the highest property taxes
                          in the nation. Get over it.

                          To those from other states and countries: that was twenty years ago, and
                          some of the guys are still sulking cause they lost the ballot campaign.
                          the long run, it was good for our economy, the state finally started sharing
                          revenue with the cities and town, and fire departments get their fair share.
                          Most of the cuts came from what passes for education in this state. And
                          firefighter who was around then has saved enough tax dollars from it to
                          for a college degree if he wants one.

                          Actually, I didn't have a position on either the original police bill, which
                          was before my time, or the proposal to extend it to firefighters, though
                          latter popped up right after the expose on the abuses of it by some police
                          officers. Got a call from the media and my full response was that first,
                          police version would have to be tightened up with oversight and
                          accountability, then I questioned the need for it with firefighters. It's
                          fault that I said "education" instead of "college education" in the part
                          that was quoted.

                          Never occurred to me that firefighters aren't educated, aren't smart, and
                          aren't trained adequately. The part about "brawn and courage" was, I
                          thought, a compliment; something that isn't required in a lot of other jobs.
                          Always thought of police and firefighting work as a good job with pretty
                          good pay and benefits (except where it's volunteer: are there any
                          firefighters from Reading PA out there? are you still volunteers except
                          the drivers? Is firefighting still privatized in Scottsdale AZ?) and an
                          unquestioned importance that doesn't require a college education.

                          If you all keep insisting that it should, then fine -- but are you sure
                          want to give the impression you're sending, that Massachusetts fire
                          departments aren't up to speed (and fire departments everywhere else aren't
                          either unless they have a version of this police education bill, which most
                          states don't have)? I've never heard any fire chief say that his men weren't
                          educated enough for the job -- and as I said to the reporter, the problem
                          firefighters will have getting this law is that they are perceived as
                          professional and competent without it, so what's broken that we have to

                          And yes, some of you have had to pay for your own advanced education, with
                          which you can get promotions -- just like most of the rest of the workforce.
                          But I still assume that those firefighters who don't take courses beyond
                          what they get at the academy and what their towns pay for after employment
                          are still entirely capable of doing their job. If I'm wrong about that,
                          is a *very* big story...

                          Barbara Anderson
                          Citizens for Limited Taxation
                          Massachusetts, USA


                          • #28
                            An uneducated moron this person is, She's truly one who does not want to understand what the fire service is all about, It is more than just fighting fire, Out here in California most FD's would like you to have some sort of college degree, Reading that laies remaks angerd me, I can never truly understand people who seem not to appreciate the job we do, I'm curious to those who have written this lady, If you could post what she has replied I would me more than intrested in hearing her replys, , If Firefighters are such a large group pf "uneducated" people, Than lets look at some of there credentials, You'd be pretty surprised


                            • #29

                              I received the same reply to my e-mail that you evidently did. I will admit that the purpose of my e-mail to the lady was not to educate her but to insult her.


                              • #30
                                I actually bantered back and forth with some guy named Chip. I am trying to keep in mind several things:

                                1) They're civilians. If you think about all the stupid things you've seen civilians do, this really isn't much of a reach. The other day on a rescue training I had a lady ask me "If this were a real emergency, you guys would be doing this a lot quicker, right?" I told her that if this were a real emergency, we wouldn't have thrown the victim in the hole.

                                2) The media was involved. Read some of the posts about the Philly river rescue incident. Next to attorneys, the media are probably some of the most gutless weinies out there in civie land.

                                3) These people are as passionate about their politics as we are about fighting fire. Dumb as a box of rocks or not, they ARE bold enough to stand up for what they believe in. In the last email Chip sent me, he told me that the reporters will often come to them for the dissenting opinion. They listen for 30, 45 minutes, then take one sentence, twist it to fit their story, and toss out the rest.

                                I guess the real villain here is the reporter who took the quote out of context.


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