Monday, November 12, 2012
Years ago I worked
for a City Manager who used to tell me to "stop bringing up dead babies" in my
discussions with elected officials and during public budget hearings. He, of
course, didn't want the "emotional" aspect of what we do as Firefighters to
"influence" overall budget decisions. He had a problem with the fact that the
community and the elected officials tended to support the fire department during
budget time. Why? I will never understand why that bothered him so much. But boy
We absolutely GET
that we have to use raw numbers, facts, various options and not just emotion
when presenting budgets-especially these days when we have to be the best
stewards of the taxpayers dollars. I absolutely get it. The
fact is that there ARE emotions related to what we do. We are-in many
respects-E.R.M.'s (Emotional Risk Managers-a new term that
we'll have shoulder patches made up for you very soon. Promise) We are in the
business to help minimise "screaming insane" emotions (such as Mom's who find
out their kids are trapped in a fire) when it comes to those we protect. In
other words, we should do as much as we can to help people have a good or better
day. Few would argue that there are very few WORSE days than those where
a parent loses their children. The peak of emotions.
The "anti fire
sprinkler" gang may choose to ignore last nights fire up in Maine...the single
family dwelling fire that took the lives of an Orrington man and three of his
children, ages 4 to 9. Dead are Dad, 30-year-old Ben Johnson III, his sons Ben,
9, and Ryan, 4, and 8-year-old daughter, Leslie. The sole survivor of the fire
was wife and Mom Christine Johnson, 31, who was rescued from the roof of the
house by neighbors and firefighters. She will physically survive from
what we have been told.Physically.The fire was
reported at 0238 hours by neighbors who heard a woman screaming, The bodies of
Johnson and the three children were found a short time after the Maine
Firefighters entered the burning house.
They may not want
to know about the 3 Wisconsin kids who died in that house fire on Thursday in
Racine, WI. 8 year-old Dalijah Scott and 9-year-old Dayja Scott died when their
house caught fire. Their brother, 7-year-old Michael Scott, died later in the
hospital. The children's 5-year-old brother, Luther Patterson, is still in the
hospital. Immediately after removing the last child, Racine Fire Chief Steve
Hansen had 4 of his Firefighters "literally dropped from (heat) exhaustion;"
they were treated at the scene, then immediately returned to the house and
continued fighting the fire. No surprise.
reminded us that the residential fire sprinkler battles continue. The National
Association of Homebuilders and related groups keep fighting. The NFPA has
analyzed statements by anti-sprinkler interests in their proposals to diminish
or delete the IRC's fire sprinkler requirements. The NFPA's response is "right
on the chin"...
The "anti's" argue
that installing residential sprinklers should be up to homeowners. That's like
saying speed limits on highways should be up to drivers. Sometimes, just
sometimes, laws have to be in place to protect folks, in spite of ourselves...or
to protect those who are too little to make the decision to include residential
If these horrific
pre-holiday fires don't "emotionally" impact those who won't support fire
sprinkler legislation, then it's further defining of what their true
"non-emotional" priorities are. But you already knew that.
400+ PAGES. 90+ CONTRIBUTORS!
100% of the royalties from the sales of "PASS IT ON" will be donated to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and the Chief Ray Downey Scholarship Fund.
CLICK ABOVE TO ORDER YOUR COPIES TODAY!