There is a recent story out of Florida that’s has generated a lot of discussion. According to WFTS-TV’s I-Team, two fire captains, from two different departments, are chapter presidents of two different motorcycle gangs. One is with the Pagans and the other with the Outlaws. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) defines “outlaw motorcycle gangs” (OMG) as “organizations whose members use their motorcycle clubs as conduits for criminal enterprises”. Both the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Criminal Intelligence Service Canada have designated four MCs as “outlaw motorcycle gangs”: the Hells Angels, the Pagans, the Outlaws, and the Bandidos, known as the “Big Four”.

While neither captain has been charged with a crime, one question I have (among many) is whether or not they should be working for a public department. The fact is, public employees have been terminated (or not hired) because of questionable comments on their face book page. So why would you allow someone to work for you who belongs to what the government lists as an Outlaw Motorcycle Gang (OMG)?  

According to law enforcement, there are two distinct groups within OMG’s. There is the 99 percent, who believe in following and respecting the law. Then there are the one percenters.  These 1% proudly display a patch that signifies an anti-law abiding lifestyle. Local ATF Agent Keary Hundt says when you’re a 1 percenter, “You consider yourself not subject to society’s rules and laws.” These 1 percenters are involved in “Drug trafficking, weapons trafficking, extortion, arson, bombings, you name it.” One of the fire captains named in the story proudly displays the 1% logo on his shirt and on a necklace.

Having summarized the news story which you can read at;

http://www.statter911.com/2016/05/04/can-fire-captain-leader-motorcycle-gang/ , let’s start at the beginning.

If I were any part of a government administration, I would not want an employee to belong to any group known for its criminal activity, especially ones that are named by the DOJ. A first step would be to have hiring policies that ask the question on whether or not the applicant belongs to any association or subversive group. That’s a broad question but I think it best not to get too specific. Then if a person checks the “No” box and later is found to belong to one of these groups all along, then you have cause to terminate. The city policies could also prohibit membership in these types of organizations. So if someone is “clean” when you hire them they know upfront they can’t later join one these clubs. Or, once again, there is cause to terminate.

Apparently in the organizations named in the article, these types of policies are not in place or there would not be a news story about it.

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If your organization does not have a government or department policy prohibiting this type of activity, it is probably because it has not been needed. I have heard the statement many times that “firefighters are their own worst enemy”. This seems to be the case here.

As a fire chief, should you be concerned about your employees belonging to one of these groups? Absolutely. As a chief, if my department or city did not have a policy against membership in these organizations, I would work to get them implemented. I know there will be many who ask why it is any ones business what an employee does on his/her own time. The answer I think is simple. You work for an organization who works every day to secure and retain the public trust. The public trusts us to come to their aid, to be polite, to know the job, and to respect their property. Having an employee belonging to one of these organizations, not to mention being the chapter president, just doesn’t pass the newspaper test. No matter how you write it, it will not make the department look good.

I have nothing against motorcycles or motorcycle clubs. There are certainly many clubs that are recognized by the American Motorcycle Association that a person could choose to be a member of. These clubs can be a fun organization and do a lot of community work. In my opinion if you belong to an OMG, then it just a bad thing waiting to happen. And that can’t be good for your organization. Personally, if you are a member of a 1 percenter club, why would you want to work for a public entity in the first place?

 

Just my opinion. What do you think?
Stay Safe, Everyone Goes Home!

By Tom Carlin, Miami Valley Area Firefighter

 

In regard to the last article I have wrote, I feel obligated to us all to write a second response to the first. Whilst in the first its easy to pick out problems and to table this and that as a negative cause or impact. I am sure we all can have our own list of points and issues of the negative weather you share some of mine or not. I venture to say at least one or two of my observations is shared among yours, the reader. However on a much more constructive note I wish to provide my listed issues in the previous article with solutions, remedies, improvements and or suggestions as it may be seen applicable. So lets start then.
The first issue I stated was high turn over rates due to the process, time and expense of training. Often many start the journey to never finish. Lets tackle that. Easier said than done right? Well you be the judge. I suggest that if one truly is serious about entering the fire service with career intentions, the ought to research what it really takes in regard to getting to the finish line. With that thought in mind one might consider working a bit more in their current occupation to have more money to start school. There is no shame in doing what you have to, to get where you need to be. Maybe take that extra year and an extra job or two. Next would be look into financial aid programs that some colleges offer. There are grants and student loans available. The end results are worth the struggle. Some departments will even pay for education if you meet their requirements and agree to stay with them for a time. That’s a great way to get the experience the career departments look for. I recommend doing some ride time before school find out if its really for you. Don’t ride at just one department, sample them, each is its own take on the fire service. TALK to the current firefighters about the job, many times have I seen riders come in just to be wall flowers. As a rider you must seek knowledge. Ask questions, the answers don’t fall out of the fire house ceiling into your brain. As current firefighters we should instill the appetite for the job to all who ride with us. Perhaps we ourselves could do more to give these youngsters a nudge toward making a big decision in their life. Someone or something pushed us toward this. They need help and support like we do, and perhaps even a bit more so considering they are in the process of making a big life choice. Its not just a job, its a culture, a family and a way of life. On the subject of injuries ending and deterring many from staying we ought to encourage those entering and new to maintain physical fitness and do it ourselves. We lead by example. We also need to teach the youngsters ways to cope with the reality of it. We need to provide a good support network for those who get hurt or are having trouble coping. Most youngsters do not seem to realize their own mortality. We need to help them realize that they and we are far from bullet proof. When the newbies truly listen, and you as and experienced firefighter tell them of some of your close calls, the should realized that if you came that close to being no more that they would fair no better if not worse thus realizing mortality. As for the issue of time involved they should realized by a certain point in research and ride alongs what they are in for. There is no way around the time involved, its a great sacrifice for some. However with the use of financial alleviation that I outlined prior, the time sacrifice may be much more bearable to potential candidates and young firefighters.
As for the issue of pay there is very little we can do to immediately. However there are things we can do that will impact how we are received and valued by those we serve. With positive impact the next time we ask for a raise in a levy we may get it from grateful citizens who value us highly. We can achieve this by giving top notch service, not just in skill but in interpersonal interaction. Skill is not enough alone. How we treat people we interact with on job impacts our relations with community. One person with a poor interaction tells their families, friends and many others they know. They may even file a compliant against the department itself. Leave the unnecessary tenseness until it is needed. Don’t go out to be a jerk. Treat people as people not just as a run number. Build relationships with those you interact. They will remember it and see that they have an ally there with them and watching over them, their family, and home. Another outstanding way to build public relations is to be proactive in our communities that we serve. Show that we are with them not just when things go bad but back them and their community. When all comes together our residents will be willing to back us when we ask them for more so we can do what we do.

 

Now the topic of poor fire service culture. There is no quick about this and we still must be selective of those we add to our fire family but we must do this in a way that grabs the good people and does not drive everyone away. One big lesson I noticed, in poor culture, that was often forgotten was never forget where we came from. We all at one point were the new guy or young buck making a big life choice diving head first into something school can never prepare you for. We all started with the basic cert.s at one point before we got what we have. Encourage the new guys to drive for more knowledge, more experience and instill a passion for the job. Reward their success do not ignore it. If our culture only focus on their screw ups and being the first to rip their head off we will eventually drive all away. Of course we need thick skin and to own our screw ups, but constant barrages of negativity will eventually chase of those folks too. They get tired of always being jumped and treated like crap. Same applies to the poor treatment of part timers and volunteers. They eventually get sick of the overly macho crap, constant ridicule, ass chewings etc. and will glad to leave it all up to you regardless of when or where. Leave the BS up to the soap operas on the tele. Get yourself straight if you need to. Be inclusive and encouraging to the newbies when they do right and even when they do wrong. Take time to explain to them the whys and hows. Relate to them, sharing your screw ups, as a new guy or as an experienced guy, shows them you too are human and made the same mistakes once. It builds trust in you and they will see you as a go to person, and a mentor and eventually a friend and brother/sister. Remember we want to bring people in and keep them for a long time. Be inclusive share in the grunt work, don’t dump it all on them and crap all over them when its not done in 5 minutes. We must rely on our selves and lead by example. Our officers should strive in providing a positive environment for success and employee retention. Officers don’t be afraid to thump your regular guys when they get too hard on our newbies. Remember they will be the future of the fire service and learn how to act from senior guys and officers. And to the new guys its not always a warm and fuzzy deal. You have to truly earn your place. There will be an amount of crap you must take. Just be able to differentiate between crap and toxic culture. You will not fit into every fire department either. There’s a time to just suck it up buttercup.

What about the surplus of certified personnel in the area? Quite frankly that’s a dynamic we must deal with. However there are things that don’t require certs to make a valuable employee. Such as work ethic. Work hard and long and excel in everything you take on. Ask for the next project and do it too. To help retain the newer guys tech them these values and be a model of success yourself. Then to new and old guys alike go get those extra certs and trainings. Anything to get a head of the curve. Then as an experienced firefighter teach those young guys some of the advanced trainings. Bits and pieces help and instill confidence thus bettering those new guys. It may make them feel a sense of belonging too. And above all they are better for it. Share your advanced knowledge with all in the department. Keep instilling a thirsty for more in all in your department. When folks get stagnant they get complacent etc., but worse they may lose passion for the job and plateau. Hitting that point may make this feel like just another job, don’t let it happen  to your folks. Overall be the guy new or old even in between seeking more certs and trainings than you have.
Thanks for sticking with me here, to new and old alike I leave you with this practice what you preach, and stay safe out there. Remember I’m pulling for you, we’re all in this together.

By Tom Carlin, Miami Valley Area Firefighter

 

Why are the numbers in our (Dayton, Ohio) regions fire service dwindling? Well to answer that big question I’ll list my my reasons and expand on them.
1. High turn over rates: Why do we have such high turn over rates in our area? Several reasons, the education and certification requirements are long and heavily involved with little reward and immediate payoff. Coupled with trying experiences along the way, poor fire service culture.  Possible severe debilitating injury with no paid leave or illness time can ruin or wear one out along the way or completely end it for them. Multiple jobs and schooling are hard to manage as well. One used to be able to keep financially able with 2 or three part time fire service jobs. Now with the hours regulations that is no longer possible requiring other jobs and precious time that could be devoted to furthering someones career.
2. Pay is not the greatest even for full timers: we all know one does not do this job for the money nor should we expect it to be a high paying job. However the public wishes to pay less and less for our services and have the same results. Not just in our line of work are our wages and budgets being scalped, but in all forms of public service and government employment. The public culture movement of increased appreciation for the partying culture and glorification of criminals and thug life has made our public services an enemy of the American people. I in no way am stating we ought to be making football player like salaries but that we must be compensated for what we do in a manner that makes it viable for us to continue to do it. Love for our job and community is not enough alone, we must also have a means of living. Even if the fire service is to move toward a volunteer function again, those of us that depend on our wages will have to find work else where.
3. Poor fire service culture: The culture of the fire service has been changing for a family atmosphere to one of a cut throat back stabbing, gossip factory of overly inflated steroid induced sorority of failed 80s jocks who couldn’t make it past high school sports. There is a level of humility required in this job that the old timers maintained that the newer generation of full timers do not have. Part timers in career departments are looked down upon as moronic burdens, just because of employment status or the fact they don’t have x certification or y certification. I thought ,in an unnamed department where I encountered this culture, I would be working with adults. It was not the case. We should all have pride and confidence in ourselves but to the point where it has a positive impact on the whole organization and the fire service. Mostly its way over done running people out of the department and fire service as a whole. The family aspect of it is a rapidly dwindling culture leaving a cancerous culture of miserable cretins behind poisoning the fire service altogether.
4. Surplus of certified personnel: In our region we have many educational institutions cranking out several certified people in many ranges leaving little jobs and higher requirements for petty part time positions that offer little incentive other than a pay check incapable ,by itself, of much means of support for one let a lone one with a spouse or family. Thus just to enter one may need all the same requirements of a full timer and experience just for the part time job. And most places prefer to hire one with experience. But how can a new person who may be looking at thousands of dollars and hours in training and education justify that when the can not be hired without experience? Its a cycle of doom that can be hard to escape. Not impossible though. There are positions that will hire different cert. ranges without experiences, but those jobs tend to be bottom of the barrel offering poor structure, on job training and equipment and facilities. Its hard to justify that whole process when one can make $15 an hour flipping burgers in some places or doing other jobs that take less skill, education, training, and do present the hazards that our job does.

I know there are many of you out there that may not agree with this position, but I feel this is something firefighters and more importantly fire chiefs need to hear. A little background on this article is needed. I was promoted to an officer role early in my career as a firefighter. The captain who later on became our fire chief handed me a red lieutenant’s helmet and boom, I was now sitting in that right front seat.

Now don’t get me wrong I wanted to be promoted, but boy I had no clue what to do. I was that dog chasing a car who really didn’t know what to do with it now that I had it. I felt comfortable as a firefighter and really wasn’t sure what was expected from me or what responsibilities I was in fact responsible for. I thought there was some sort of training or at least some type of guidance to help me be an officer, but there wasn’t.

I’m not sure if you’ve ever been in this kind of situation, but it can be scary to think about. YOU are responsible for the safety of your crew. YOU are responsible for the tactics of battling a structure fire. YOU are expected to train new firefighters. YOU are being looked up to as a leader in your department. It’s a lot to think about and a lot to process.

So, since I didn’t feel comfortable with my role what so ever, I figured I should study up on what I got myself into. I was googling like crazy trying to find any training or advice I could. I took the National Fire Academy Managing Company Tactics Operations and felt it had given me a good tactical foundation but felt there was more to be learned. I stumbled upon the Command Officer Boot Camp (COBC) in Pensacola Beach, Florida. Now this was a training I could get behind, at the time it was just starting and was only $125 for the three day class and was on the beach. It was a win win!

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I go to this training and I am blown away with some of the information! The participation from the local fire departments and people from as far as Massachusetts and more. This was some of the greatest information I had received in my early career. I wrote an entire notebook worth of notes and the classes invigorated me. I was so happy to have taken the chance on the conference and gone.

One of the instructors was a Battalion Chief with the city of Atlanta and he told us in his class that Atlanta requires all their firefighters to attend at least one outside of the state training a year. Now they are obviously a big department and can afford sending people to outside of Georgia to go to training, but felt this was such an interesting policy to have. The more and more I thought about it, the more I thought this was such a great idea.

The US is such a large country and what works in Ohio may not work in Maine or Florida, but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from one another. So I’ve been taking trainings as I could in different parts of the country ever since. If you can afford it and make it work for you and your family. Do yourself a favor and invest in yourself and your career! It’s well worth the time, money, and effort, it makes you just that much more of a valuable firefighter to your department.

As always stay safe out there and remember, we are and always have been each other’s keeper. Let’s make sure we make it to retirement.

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So there has been a lot of different opinions coming out about saunas and the fire service. Many of these opinions can be very compelling on both sides of the argument. Now, I am no expert by any means, but my travels for our organization and interacts with fellow firefighters, experts, and others brings me to write this article. The IAFF felt so compelled about the issue they issued a statement about the use of saunas for detoxification after an fire incident. Now after reading this statement and talking to several firefighters from the US and abroad, it got me to think about the issue more and more.

In my opinion, there really isn’t enough focused research to make a decisive conclusion. So article over right? Well now, just wait one minute here. I think there can be a case still be made for the use of saunas in the firehouse. There are so many department who have already committed to the sauna in the firehouse and I’ve even heard of a station here in Ohio that had it built in when they designed a new station. So should we rip these saunas out and throw them out? I don’t think that should be the case.

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Now think of the properties of a sauna, are there any contraindications for it’s general use? Even in the statement from the IAFF, they readily admit there really is no contraindications or potential life threatening reason to not sure a sauna, unless your drunk. Which I would sincerely hope we aren’t at the firehouse drunk after a fire incident. So what is the worst that can happen? You become dehydrated? I know the statement advised it can cause heat stress and be adverse to those with a heart condition, but really I would hope yearly physicals would find those with heart conditions that would be adversely effected by sauna use.

So here is my opinion on the picture as a whole. The adverse effects of sauna use really can be solved by drinking water and not exercising in the sauna, and by the way even the companies who sell these saunas advice against preforming exercise in the sauna during use. So we really shouldn’t be doing that anyways. The benefits of a sauna in mental health has been pretty well documented. Which God knows we could use any help we can get in the realm. And as for the cancer issue, it’s not going to hurt you. I think that if there is a .001% chance that the sauna is going to help remove toxins from our skin, don’t you think you’d rather take that precaution than not? My advice, lets allow the major players in the occupational cancer realm do some more research and if we find otherwise continue to use the sauna. Who couldn’t use a little break and relaxation while at the firehouse? But I seriously doubt we will find any evidence that says it’s going to harm us and I really think it is only something we can benefit from. So what’s the real downside to having a sauna in the firehouse?

As always, stay safe out there and take care of one another. We are and always will be each other’s keepers.

The title may be a bit ambitious but at this point in history, it is pretty widely accepted that Ohio has at least three cities with the highest rates of Heroin related overdoses and deaths. I happen to work in one of them.

What we have also experienced, as in most drug trends, is the repeat customer. Reviving the same patient several times in the same month before they finally die from the drug, get locked up or disappear. We know them by name or address and we say the same things to them when they wake up that we always do. In turn, they say the same things to us that they always do.

We have come across “Narcan Parties” where the addicts get together with a stock of Narcan and revive each other when they overdose. We arrive to find several patients that have already been given Narcan by someone. Usually that someone is long gone so we are left to finish what they started.

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Our tactics for an overdose used to be a cruel joke. We used to wake the overdose patient up quickly so they would vomit. Then we would use the experience as an attempt to “teach them a lesson”. Then we started only giving them enough Narcan to keep them breathing and deliver them to the ED so they could get the supportive care they needed while they were slowly awakened, in the comfy ED bed surrounded by friends and loved ones. We also used to take their shoes before we transported them. That way if or when they signed out AMA and left the ED they would have to wait for the bus in their socks. All in a misguided attempt to “teach them a lesson”. All of that is gone now. (I sound nostalgic and I am just a little bit. Not about being mean to people but for a time when getting dispatched on an overdose was thrilling). We have so many overdoses now, the thrill is gone and we start hoping for a shortness of breath or a chest pain, simply to have some variety. It’s a sad day when the crew sits around the kitchen table and tries to remember when they last had a shooting or a stabbing. Those things are pretty common where I work.

This plague makes up almost 70% of your EMS workload on many days. It has rewired our brains to think that every unresponsive patient that us under 40 or 50 years old is an overdose. We have gotten very good at spotting an overdose patient but the saturation of this social disaster has lead to us, on occasion, to not recognize some other causes of cardiac arrest and causing us to play “catch up” during the resuscitation. You holier than thou types will be looking down your noses at this point and saying “I wouldn’t let that happen to me or I wouldn’t miss that”. Well I can assure you, even if you fancy yourself as an EMS king or queen with your Star of Life tattoo, the 14ga needles in your pocket for that random chest decompression on the way home from work and the bulging pocket of para-medicine quick information guides, you will find yourself wondering how you missed the hypoglycemia or other cause of this unresponsive father of 2 in the parking lot of the TGI McFunsters restaurant. We are creatures of habit. Drug overdoses are our new habit. Our drug of choice right now is Narcan and our new favorite activity is atomizing it on  everyone. It’s moved up the algorithm to be a front line drug in every cardiac arrest.

No one is immune. I have given Narcan next to dumpsters in alleys, in the upstairs bathroom of a suburban home, on the patio at the gulf club, in the high school parking lot and to an elderly patient at a nursing home. It is all around us.  No one is that far from it and everyone is affected.

In our area, we have the option for the patient to refuse transport after Narcan if they are awake and alert and have a “friend” to watch for a relapse for a few hours. I know some of you out there are probably yelling at you computer or phone saying that it is a bad idea leaving those patients and not transporting them for evaluation. The problem that we have discovered is that the “patient” would sign themselves out AMA before we even got the cot made and the report finished. The hospitals don’t want them if they don’t want to be there. We don’t want to take them if they don’t want to go. It was a reluctant compromise that we have made to relieve the burden on the Emergency Departments and kept us from being tied up on a patient that did not want to be treated. Contrary to the belief of some of you, some of them don’t want the help; some of them can’t be saved.

In our area, we also have an EMS protocol system that has a “drug bag” exchange built in. If you use a “drug bag” on a run, you can exchange it for a freshly stocked one at the receiving hospital. It has been a system that has worked very well for our region as it spreads the cost of drug purchases over a larger area. We pay an annual fee to the protocol system which, in part, helps lower the cost for everyone. That being said, it is still easier for us to run to the ED and make a drug bag exchange instead of having to do a patient drop off. As good as the system is, we have run out of Narcan in our area a few times.

Back to the plague, the situation has affected every aspect of our business. The dispatchers have gotten so used to saying “respond on an overdose” that they frequently have to correct themselves when announcing a different call type. The addicts have gotten better at phoning in the overdoses. They use terms like seizure and trouble breathing because they know if they say overdose, the cops will come. Once our brothers in blue show up, they run everyone for warrants and someone usually gets hooked up and taken to jail. They are not worried about going to jail for the drugs because the jail won’t take them anymore. That’s how big the problem is, the jail and the courts don’t even want them. At least the cops have quit saying “go with EMS or go to jail”. We’ve got that going for us I guess.

I guess the real question is, how do we manage our role is in this public health crisis? Do we handle it as business as usual like we do most things and hope that it goes away? Do we try to give these lost souls the information they need to make a change in their lives? Do we use our political muscle to put pressure on the physicians groups to stop passing out opioid pain meds like they are Sweet Tarts on Halloween? Do we formulate a whole new strategy to fight this lion? For now, we each need to make a choice as an individual EMS provider to try to help each addict the best we can in hopes that it will make a difference.

We are fighting against a force that none of us saw coming. We have witnessed drug trends come through our area in the past but realized, only after the demon was unleashed, that we were in over our heads but we managed. I think this time is a bit different. It doesn’t help that the Mexican drug Cartels are very active in our area. It also doesn’t help that we have some of the highest rates of human trafficking in our area either because the two go hand in hand. Law enforcement has their hands full with all of this so we try to support each other as much as we can.

We are tired, frustrated, angry, annoyed, sad and weary but we will keep fighting because who else is going to do it?

Our area is getting some federal attention so I hope that will help. We are trying to get this lion back in the cage but it has proven to be a very fierce enemy. We will continue to fight and do the best we can until the next demon comes along.

Stay safe out there and watch each others backs!!

There has been a lot of talk lately of privatization of either fire service, EMS, or both in some communities. The thing about this choice to do so is that communities will suffer if the choose to do so. Why, do you ask? Because firefighting and even EMS is not a sustainable business model. There is no money to be made from firefighting and really pretty little money to be made from EMS.

The problem I see with privatization of these crucial services within our communities is that they will hire people at a lower cost and what are you going to get? These people who will work for these companies and won’t make enough to support their family. Then they will have to pick up a side job or two to make ends meet. Do you see a problem with that?

It may not be a big deal to you, and yes many firefighters have second jobs, but they usually do so to have extra money. They can support their families without that side job. So theoretically these firefighters will focus on their full time job and be ready for that big call. Do you want an exhausted firefighter or paramedic showing up to your call?

Privatization can be helpful in other aspects of government, but not critical services. There is no profit to be made from critical services. We need public safety services to be a government function. You won’t hire a private eye or security guard to investigate your minor crimes, would you? Why should we allow our government representation do this to our communities?

Sometime our city counsel or trustees forget they work for the people and we the people can make sure they won’t have a job after election day. Let’s make sure we let our government know we don’t want privatization of critical services! We are turning back the clock on this issue and it’s not beneficial to our communities. In the 1700s people would pay private companies to protect their homes during a fire, we have evolved from then, right?

Next time you hear someone in your community talking about how privatizing your public safety services, make sure you think long and hard what your community will be giving up to save a few bucks on taxes.

Here we go. My thoughts on Baby Boomers vs generation X vs millennials and, why I believe we in the fire service are making a issue that shouldn’t be a issue.

Baby Boomers. The people that were raised knowing if you wanted something you’d have to work for it. Stuff wasn’t just handed to you. Stuff wasn’t available. You had to learn how to fix things that were broken. Make due with what was available and survive the best you could.

Generation X The group that learned that hard work made the difference. That helping others was worth the effort. Volunteering was a honorable thing to do. Yet this time period the government started there push on. You has a young person having rights. You can be whatever you want to be when you grow up. Your parents don’t have a right to spank you.
So generation X started becoming a tad bit more out spoken. I tad bit selfish. A bit rebellious. Vowing not to be like our parents and being so hard on our children.

Millennials a group that has bought into just about every lie and bullshit line the government has told them. They believe that the world owes them something. Nobody is suppose to tell them how to do things. They should be able to take a class pass it and go straight to the top.

Know we are starting to deal with the post-millennials. These are the people that think because they showed up they need a trophy. Little disrespectful, lazy no get up and go and think everything is about them and only them.

So that is the short version of each group. Without getting into a long history lesson.

I myself am a generation Xer. Born in the city of Syracuse NY in 1970. Was taught to respect my elders, my country and that hard work never killed anyone. To help people when ever I could even though we didn’t have much ourselves. My father was a Navy veteran. He also rode with the motorcycle group the Outlaw’s in Florida. My father also was Italian. And grow up going to Catholic Schools. So you probably can figure out he was hard on us. My mother was Native American and Irish. So she may have had a little temper.

So here’s the reality of all this. We have nobody to blame for the younger generation being lazy, disrespectful and selfish then us. We allowed it. We sat back bitching about how the schools and government were ruining our children and did nothing about it. We excepted it by not voicing our opinions. We didn’t call our elected officials. We didn’t take a stand for what we believed in. So let’s stop sitting around bitching and complaining about it and except the fact that ultimately we are to blame. Us meaning the baby boomers and generation Xers.

Do we have a hard time recruiting the millennials and post millennials? Yes! Do they come in with a different expectation then Xers? Yes they do! Does this mean we just throw up our hands and say the hell with it? You better not! Do these two last group’s really give us that much of a challenge in the fire service; That we write 1000s of articles about them?
I think not. I think we are playing into political correctness and we need to stop. We need to stop putting everyone’s feelings in front of what is right and values and traditions of the fire service.

Here’s were it gets ugly.

How dare we sit and pass judgement on each other. How dare we disrespect each other. How dare we talk shit about each other. How dare we judge our own by weither they are old or balding or look like a smurf pissed in their hair. Or by there skin color or by their gender. Or there sexual preference. Whether they proclaim to be a christian or not.

We has Firemen and Women should not be passing judgement on any person. Weither they belong to the fire service or not. We should hold ourselves to a much higher standard then the rest of the world. We should respect everyone as a human being that may have something to offer us. If we would just start by respecting one another we would end most of the plan stupid ass bullshit that we face in the fire service.

Just because we respect one another doesn’t mean we have to agree with what one does. But what others do in their own homes is none of our business. As long as it isn’t illegal or hurting our departments reputation. The sooner we in the fire service start respecting one another the better. The sooner or commissioners or city officials start respecting the members of the fire department the better off we will be. The sooner we realize political correctness has no place in the fire service the better off we will be.

Now to sum this all up. You Chief officers and line officers. If we are to quit pussy footing around and tell everyone up front what is expected of them and then follow through, and hold people accountable. We wouldn’t be having these write ups about all the different generations. Quit making excuses and step up and lead!
You senior guy’s. Stop the bullshit of thinking your the best and you don’t owe anyone anything. I have 18 years in the fire service. Im a pretty good firefighter. But I’m not a great firefighter. We don’t see enough fires to be great. We owe the younger generation our knowledge. We owe the younger generation respect for being willing to join our ranks.
You younger generation of folks. Remember this if you don’t remember anything thing else. Nobody owes you anything. Show the senior guy’s the respect that they deserve. Shut up listen and learn. Don’t be in a big hurry to jump into a line officer position. Do your time. Learn the functions of the department, all the different roles and operations.

When we get younger people to join let them know right up front what is expected of them. We are not here to babysit them. We don’t have time or resources to deal with petty bullshit. We have standards that we expect to be followed and if they can’t handle them not to bother joining.

Even though we are in a time of the fire service changing this is the reason I believe we have no reason to be making a huge deal out of the different generations. The fires we fight our more dangerous then ever. They burn hotter and faster than ever. The chemicals and gases that come off from these fires are deadlier than ever. Therefore we shouldn’t be worrying about and trying to accommodate to everyone’s whim. We are here to protect life’s and property. It is our responsibility to make sure every one of our people are trained to be the best and to be able to do this job safely. It’s our responsibility to make sure when we all respond to a emergency that we all come home.

So why are we worried about the different generations? The fire doesn’t care about our age, gender, race. So why do we?

So let’s start off with respecting each other. Quit the bullshit that one generation is better than the other. Then let’s work on letting everyone on our departments know what’s expected of them and start holding them accountable. I believe that these two things alone should be enough to get rid of this different generation problem that we think we have.

So now the question is how far off base am I with all this?

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