Willie, thanks for the memories!

By the time you read this, my blog will be up and running on a regular basis.  Thoughts. Ideas. Spotlights on all things public safety – good and bad!  So here goes…

One of my favorite organizations in the fire service is called the Florida State Firefighters Association.  Based in Avon Park, it started in 1925 during a get together of firefighters in Key West to be an advocate of firefighters: young, old and at that time volunteer.  You see back then there weren’t a lot of career firefighters.  You noticed I didn’t say “professional” firefighters because many confuse “professional” with paid.  And, in reality being a professional connotes how you act…not who pays you. Don’t get me wrong, I support career firefighters.  And, I support volunteer firefighters.  In essence, I support ALL firefighters.  But what I don’t support is trying to diminish the value of anyone who provides a service to their community-period. As a founding member of the union in my original fire department (Goldenrod-Dommerich Fire Control District) I believe firefighters should be well-payed for their service, respected for their dedication and commitment to duty and the sacrifices their families endure.  Yeah, that’s right their families.  Because when it’s all said and done, the family members are those who support our firefighters when they return home after “the big one”, or after a bad call when it all goes to hell.

You will see information bubbling up in Florida in the weeks and months to come about the Great Florida Fire School.  If all goes as planned it will occur in Avon Park this year – home of the Florida State Firefighters Association.  yep, the same gang that started firefighter advocacy  in 1925.  Give it a chance when you see the adds, read the training agenda, and spend some time learning from some pretty innovative firefighters.  Have a few drinks with your newfound buddies and take back to your fire house what you picked up.  It just may save you or your crew’s life!  More on the GDDS to follow.  Stay tuned.

When I was a young turk riding backwards on an engine, my first fire chief, Harold Willard Mayo was a tough son-of-a-bitch.  Great sense of crude, good ol’ boy humor, but all-in-all was a good chief.  He taught me the value of doing the job right the first time, sticking with it until it was done and making sure you earned your wages.  I started at $4400 annually and thought it was the best job in the world.  Wages have increased considerably.  The cost of providing a quality service has increased, but I say it’s still the best job in the world — bar none! I learned in my formative years as a  firefighter, and reiterated in my college years; that agencies that get unions usually deserve them.  Regardless who was wrong or who was right, it usually boiled down to a lack of communication.  So, if you like the blog. Thanks..keep looking for new additions.  If you didn’t like it, stick around long enough to make an informed, balanced judgment and stay tuned for training outlines, news, events from around Florida and free stuff.  Thanks for listening.  Talk to you soon.


Be safe and..remember: Fortuna favet fortibus.

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