What would you be willing to do to prevent a line of duty death? I have grown a bit weary about all of the talk about safety and what we should change to make our job safer. I have grown a bit tired from folks in very large departments mocking the way small departments are forced to fight fires because of lack of personnel and/or resources.
Ask yourself some questions about what can you do to make a difference.
Would you be willing…
* To be criticized for ordering a tactical withdrawal from a structural fire? This criticism might be from your own personnel, your peers, or mutual aid neighbors.
* To enforce your department’s rules and regulations, and SOPs, and be called all sorts if names, and being told you forgot where you came from?
* Admit you have made errors and increase your personal training effort to make sure it doesn’t happen again?
* Make an appointment with a physician to be poked, prodded and tested to prevent your own LODD?
* To begin and maintain a physical training program to be sure you are fit for duty!
* To correct the most senior man on the job or the newest rookie on a safety violation? And endure the departmental “shunning” because “Who the heck do you think you are anyway?”
* To have an uncomfortable conversation with a brother or sister who is under severe personal, or critical incident stress? …or is that not “your job”
* To always wear your all your gear correctly and always wear your SCBA even when it “looks like” you don’t need it?
* Are you willing to give up some personal time to teach or mentor another firefighter in need, regardless of what they need?
These are some of the things you must be willing to do if you want to be proactive. We have all seen photos of firefighter funerals where thousands of firefighters gather to pay tribute and we should. But at these same funerals we have seen photos of young widows who are so overcome with grief that they are inconsolable. We have seen photos of the children left behind, clutching a flag, a badge, or some momento of a father or mother who is no gone.
What would you be willing to do to prevent that photo from ever having to be taken again?
If you are really strong enough and have the courage, do something to make a difference.