Ferris Bueller said it best, but if you’re like me you take life waaay less serious than you should and as a backstep firefighter I truly only stop making dick jokes when the bell rings (and even then I’ve been known to throw one in while pulling slack). But I digress…The theme that A LOT of company officers, Chiefs and administrators take is, take this amazingly fun job and make it miserable. Why? I don’t know, i honestly think I’ll be riding backwards for the rest of my career (think Tommy Gavin without schizo groupies throwing panties at me) But it seems to me that those “big wigs” are always thinking inside the box. And I don’t have to tell you like most administrators, CEOs, whatever the fire department is guided (if not directed) by is litigation. SOP’s, driver training, report writing, not parking in the fire lane at the grocery store…all directed to keep the lawyers from chipping away at the fire budget. So as you guys can imagine when I stopped playing with the FDCams and started a legitimate business one of the first things “big wigs” said to me was something to the effect of “…Dont you go putting anything stupid on YouTube now” or “…You’d better not let Chief So & So see that thing” OK.
So here we are on the cusp of our very first tradeshow and…well to be honest with you we’ve got all kinds of issues, but that’s not why I’m here now..What Im dealing with is “what questions or comments do I expect from this guy, that guy OR this Chief and that administrator”?. To let you in on the business, we have sold cameras to individuals and administrators alike. And the feedback has been awesome from everyone except those cameras that were bought for HazMat teams and entire companies. I have yet to hear how it has affected the company or station or team! But what I do know is for me and my company, my station, my district and my Battallion Chief, we love our videos. We like to rib each other for cussing and yelling, for showing the engineer where we lost pressure, to the Chief where we finally thought we got the knock but it was still rolling out of the attic. The over all theme is, as we play with our FDCams our wheels are turning…Always. And so here comes Pandora’s box…What “if” FDCams were on every engine and every truck in the city? On every run? On every extrication? On every alarm? (NO medical please…think HIPPA)
You can almost hear the lawyers banging down the door huh? Well as my partner says “look on the bright side”, so lets do it.
How much more efficient would you be as an officer, driver/operator, pack mule firefighter if you could watch every run you went on? Do you think that would make you any better? And if you did it better, safer more efficiently, does that open you up to litigation and shield your every decision? Well doesnt that depend on how good you are? How good is your training then? Well…what if when you first got hired you reported to the local training academy and sat down in your brand new uniform to listen to the old crusty, handle bar moustache, carbolic captain (think Cpt. Willie Wines) tell you all about being part of a family, working in the trenches with your new brothers, scrubbing toilet bowls and learning how to cook…something edible. Then the lights dim, the DVD click on & you watch a ladder guy step off the truck, grab a hook & walk into pitch blackness, there’s a confirmed victim in there…its YOUR job to go get him. Did you see what I wrote? You Watch. You didn’t have to just listen to this old crusty bastards big fish story right? Youre young and full of ambition, this old man probably just likes having someone to talk to…No, you watched that guy who made the grab with your own eyes & he looks an awful lot like a younger version of the senior citizen now standing in front of you. The job, just got real. YOU have to go into THAT? That’s not how it looked in Ladder 49! So from day one, your mindset was changed. Do you think that training mindset would change the way you approach each shift throughout your career and your outlook on training?
So where do we go from here? Well, you can go back to sleep if you want…WE are going to Fire Rescue East 2013 and I really hope to hear from some of you Chiefs and Administrations when we get there. I hope to get to show some our favorite FDCam videos and talk about the benefits of not just playing with these things anymore!