So, I’m sitting in my office outside beautiful, scenic, Fernandina Beach thinking, “When did the world go batshit crazy?!” After an hour of contemplation, I recalled that my fire academy instructors thought the same thing back in the early 70’s. I remember Captain Lyburg (the names have been changed to protect me from lawsuits) proudly proclaimed that in the not-too-distant future, fires would be extinguished using sound waves. The research was moving forward, but there still existed a small glitch – while the sound waves extinguished the fire, it also caused the structural members of the buildings to fail. Back to the drawing board. Last month I read a report that in the not-too-distant future, firefighters will be able to extinguish fires using sound waves! Wow, what progress we’ve made in the fire services in forty years! In the 80’s and 90’s we were losing firefighters to building collapse and other fireground catastrophic events. Now? Heart attacks, cancer and suicides. I haven’t admitted defeat, and neither should you. But it’s going to take a little time for me to wrap my mind around this brave new world.
I was presenting “Ten Ways to Kill a Firefighter” at the 2014 Florida Firefighters Association annual conference in Plantation Florida. It was a beautiful, sunny Florida day. The palm trees were swaying in the warm breeze and the young ladies sitting around the pool…forgettabout it! How many were in class from a possible 150 attendees? Eight! Now, I don’t profess to be a world-class speaker. However, after nine years as a training and safety bureau commander in a large metropolitan-sized department in Central Florida, I think I can hold an audience. Today, fishing, hunting and Jaegermeister wins over safety training almost every time. When I was riding backwards on a rig, I would have been in the class; if only to snag the handouts so I could take it back to my guys at the station. After the class, a young female firefighter approached me and said, “I really enjoyed your presentation, chief. Would you be willing to give your presentation to our department?” I said sure, here’s my card have your training chief call me and we’ll work out the details. No call in two weeks so I called the training officer. Interestingly, he could never be found. So a department of over 100 dedicated firefighters misses a chance to expand the safety horizons of their members for a cost of less than the pair of duty boots!
PyroTrainers is dedicated to the advancement of all things safety for firefighters and first responders of all shapes, sizes and uniform colors. If you respond to emergencies, I will have articles, training resources and comments of interest to you, your friends and family. Stay tuned as we prepare a grand opening soon with comments, articles and free resources to help you perform your duties safely so that you have the opportunity to say what’s on your mind, put a few knuckle heads in their place and get “the word out”. Remember: Fortuna favet fortibus. If I recall my Latin classes in high school, it means: Fortune favors the prepared.