This is what we do…

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I was reading this story on FireGeezer (link) and it got me thinking about another story I had read recently. Basically, the point is that no matter what we do on duty or off duty we are always Firefighters and EMT’s. We do it because we love it, we do it because people’s lives depend on it, we do it to serve, and servants we are. Sure, we may not be rescuing victims from the 9th floor of a high rise on an aerial ladder every day, but we eventually we will have our day. That day will define us and it may come several times in our career. When that day comes, we will not look around for our pedestal, we will not look for the microphone, we will not seek opportunity to tell our story, nor will we seek or expect praise. We will pick up the equipment, get the truck in service and head back to the station with our brother and sister firefighters to get ready for the big one. Much like we do every day, we will be ready for whatever emergencies are given to us that day, and we will mitigate them as we have done for years.

This is who we are. We do it because we want to be a part of a greater good. We want to make a difference, we want to be a part of the team. We don’t do it to be called heroes and we do not consider heroes. Many Firefighters will tell you that Heroes are the burn victims at burn camp or the kids at MDA camp who suffer from Muscular Dystrophy. Heroes we are not. We are mere mortals.

We do it because we love doing it. The adrenaline rush helps too.

And you are waiting for my point…Here it is.

We do our jobs, we do it very well. We pride ourselves on the great job we are able to do. The only thing we ask in return is a decent salary and benefits as well as the proper gear and equipment to do our jobs. For us, our salary could be better, and the benefits could certainly be better. I have talked about that in the past and will in the future I am sure, but I would like to discuss something else.

For years now, we have had to make up for deficiencies in our department. Take away an engine here, move a station there, run more calls, do more public relations, install car seats, pre-fire plans, test and retest hydrants then paint them too, run calls into the County, run calls into Salem, train on your days off, reduce an engine and ladder truck down to a quint, do the job of 6-8 guys with only 3, follow the rules that we want when we want you to, remember unwritten rules that from 20 years ago.

The saga continues. I am sure that the Chiefs could show up in any station and hear some bitching about all of the recent events, but they will never hear the complete truth. That is what I am here for. The Firefighters of all ranks are disgusted. The morale has hit an all time low. The Department is falling apart at the seams. The Firefighters who have had to keep the Department held together for so long are fed up. All of the cuts, bullshit, retaliation, boneheaded moves, stupid judgement, mismanagement, micromanagement, and otherwise unsound decision making that the firefighters have lived with for so long and still kept the department running might actually ruin the department. The Firefighters can only hold back the flood gates for so long. Once the defenses are breached, the department will go down the tubes.

Firefighters are already looking at Roanoke County for a potential place to go work. Salem is looking very good as well. It is no longer about going to another department for more money and the same problems, it is now about going to another department to get away from the heap of problems which continue to pile up in our department.

Even the bootlickers are curling up. They are quickly realizing that the boots they are licking are starting to smell. The unease downtown is easily seen. Nobody knows what the hell is going on. The County doesn’t want to give up the 6 at Clearbrook…Well duh.

Firefighters are realizing that all of this overcompensating for poor planning and decision making is not worth it. Administrators are scurrying around like contestants on Survivor trying to form alliances for when the shit hits the fan to ensure they aren’t voted off the island. I would be scared of my name being on any pieces of paper downtown due to the potential audit of the Fire Department’s spending habits.

As for us, we will continue to be the best, but don’t blame us if we fail. We tried to tell you and you and you…but you didn’t listen.

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