Thursday Morning – Today's Lineup Will Be Conducted by Patrick Mahoney
A friend of mine, who is the president of his Local, is working on a speech to give the city council denouncing the city manager's refusal to apply for a SAFER grant. Actually, his perpetual refusal to do so, since the beginning of the program. This is a one-station department running three-man-minimum for an engine and a utility/squad thing. That means they're running one or two guys to some calls. What he has been willing to put in for grants for, has been a new (driverless) 95-foot tower ladder and new CBRNE airpacks to replace the ten-year-old SCBA's they had. I guess they're prepared now.
This is something common in this post-9/11 era of "homeland security" where we have more radios than people and everyone needs a shiny vest in a command post that looks like a Crayola box. After 9/11 and Amerithrax my old VFD's chief wanted to demonstrate that we were "prepared" should he be questioned by city council over the matter. So he bought close to a $1000 of butyl rubber boots and gloves and some Tyvek suits. Nevermind that there were only two hazmat techs in the department, neither practicing on a team, and that the boots didn't fit either of them. But the council would've bought that line. Even the chief and some of the other members thought it sounded so nice it must be true.
Trying to fool the local government, the public, and the media is bad, even when they fool themselves by our silence. Fooling ourselves is even worse, though. I know it's politically unfeasible for some of the larger multi-constituency groups to make a terrorism guide that says without adequate staffing you cannot be prepared, but it is the truth. I suppose it's also at least uncomfortable for us to admit that we cannot do something. Have you observed this phenomenon?
It's time to observe the equipment-check ritual now, so let's get started. Firegeezer's already heading to the Bunn-O-Matic to get another pot started. Thanks.
……….. Patrick Mahoney
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Also on FireGeezer…
- Fewer Fires = Fewer Firefighters, Right? Wrong! – April 6, 2012
- CAFS and Cops – A Commentary – April 11, 2012
- Taking Chances – a Commentary – February 16, 2012
- Should We Provide Care Contrary to Orders? – Commentary – May 31, 2012