Sunday, May 3, 2009

Debate Over Extinguishment Culture Doesn't Sit Well With "Safety Minded"

“Ah, this is obviously some strange usage of the word 'safe' that I wasn't previously aware of” -- British Author Douglas Adams

It is with considerable humor one reads the responses of people who are upset over the debate about extinguishment and safety. One may well go away from reading the responses thinking, "Aren't these people all firefighters?"

It's very healthy for the fire service to think about the issue of safety in relation to doing ones duty. It has been said time and again that safety would have prevented a mission to the moon. So while safety is vital it can't be allowed to impede firefighters carrying out their duties.

On the other hand during the course of those duties firefighters trained properly will have the best chance of doing difficult tasks in a safer manner if training focuses on safety! In short, a firefighter must go in to extinguish a fire. Equip the firefighter with all of the tools necessary to survive but understand fire is dynamic requiring the bravest to go places no one else will go.

It's not a rejection of safety. It's an understanding of the profession.
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  1. From my perspective, I do not believe Lt McCormack is saying Lt. McCormack we should operate in an unsafe manner, but that we have to understand the inherent risks of the job

  2. The larger issue that everyone is going around here is the word "Safety". Instead of hiding behind it or throwing it aside, we should work to define it. Surely everyone will have their own personal safety zone and what they feel comfortable with.

    We should also define "careless" and "reckless" as well, as that would move the discussion along. I think that we are using words in the discussion without common definitions, so it it very difficult to have a conversation period. Once there is a common understanding of words, it will be easier to find the middle of the road and make a recommendation.


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