As the holiday season kicks-off with Thanksgiving this week, most folks look ahead to focus on the three upcoming winter holidays, Christmas, Channukah and Kwanzaa. However, I am of the mind that perhaps we might be better off by first looking back “over our shoulders,” to see what we should be thankful for.
For our family, the last month has been harrowing for us. A very dear friend of over thirty years, took seriously ill and passed one and a half weeks ago. Her late husband, who passed away in 2016 was one of my best friends. Losing him and now his wife cut very deeply in our family. And I officiated at both funerals. And, I had people shed happy tears.
Over two decades ago, when asked to officiate at numerous Jewish funerals, I decided that there was no need to review the recent time when the person was seriously ill and not their normal self. Instead, as I explain to each family, we will talk about all the good times, the funny jokes, the not-so-funny jokes, and all the wonderful traits of the loved one. What jokes made them laugh and which of their jokes made us laugh. Stories of vacation, family quirks, travels, favorites, etc. We make this service a Celebration of Life.
As we approach Thanksgiving, we need to turn our heads over our shoulders and look at everything we should be grateful for, from last Thanksgiving to this year’s holiday. Sure, we all had some crappy things occur of the past year; some we even tragic. However, it is incumbent upon us to teach and share with our families, that even with difficult times, there is still good in the world and in our lives. We just need to strengthen our emotional selves so that we can see beyond the sadness and see all that we can and should be grateful that also transpired in the past year. And for the majority of folks, there is usually much more to be grateful for than to bemoan.
For me, nearly three years later I am able to be grateful for the fact that I have found a couple of physicians who were able to determine why and with what I was so sick with back at the end of 2020. It turns out to be two auto-immune disorders. One affects my thyroid (which I am much, much better thanks to one little pill) and another called, “Raynaud’s Syndrome.” It somehow messes with the hypothalamus organ, which is a tiny, almond-sized gland beneath the brain. One of its prime functions is to regulate body temperature as well as how we react to different temperatures. In my case, my tolerances are all messed up – I am hyper-sensitive to cooler and cold temps (even the breeze from a slow-turning ceiling fan can give me a chill, even if the ambient temperature in the room is 80o! And living in South Florida with often very warm temperatures that lead to lots of air conditioning, it is not uncommon to see me wear a couple of layers of t-shirts, as well as a jacket when I have to visit a doctor’s office or even go out to eat! And all of this on top of debilitating back injuries and very old and often-operated-on knees! So, I should be a mess, right? WRONG!
True, I have my “tough days,” most of which are due to the extreme lethargy created by issues with Raynaud’s. But I have good days, too! And as of late, my good days are surpassing the tough ones! But there is more!
I am the middle of three brothers. When our folks were living in the Greater Boston area, my older brother and I had jobs that took us out of our “home base,” living as far west as St. Louis MO, as far north as Syracuse NY and as far south as North Carolina and Florida. Only our younger brother remained in the Boston area. We knew it was difficult for our parents, but it was a livelihoods.
One of the things that I am thankful for is that both our daughters now live within two miles of our home. That means, our grandson is but a five-minute drive away. And I am so grateful for this. Even on my worst day, the smile of our 2-1/2-year-old grandson makes me feel better….much better. Knowing our younger daughter and son-in-law are so close is a blessing. Our older daughter moved home last year when she got a new job and it was much easier for her to move into her old room than paying exorbitant rents. Once the market settles some more, she will find an apartment or condo. But for now, we are very grateful.
I am grateful for the wonderful men and women of the fire service, both in the U.S. and in Canada, whom I have had the pleasure to meet through our podcast, “5-Alarm Task Force.” Many of these guests, even though we have never met in person, have become close friends and mentors.
I am grateful to live in a wonderful country. Sure, we have our problems, but that does not mean we “throw the baby out with the bath water.” If you care about this country, we have to finds ways to respect others’ opinions, but to always strive to see a middle ground so that we can come together to improve the troubling issues. If an outside force attacks this country, are we going to sit around for 3-4 weeks to complain about what they are doing or are we going to unite and defend our country?
Our late parents taught the three of us that we have more in common with our neighbors and townsfolk than our differences. When one house begins to burn, do we not want to be sure that our neighbors are safe and the fire department is on its way?
While we may not agree on every issue or with every politician, that does not mean we cannot agree to disagree; we do not have to accept the person’s opinion, but we will fight to defend their right to have an opinion!
And let’s remember…the wonderful and dedicated men and women of the fire service, law enforcement, EMS, Road Rangers and Tow Operators do not judge you by your opinions when you need them for your emergency. They will answer every call!
Have a Safe and Enjoyable Thanksgiving Holiday from all of us at 5-Alarm Task Force Corp.
OK, we have all heard that joke hundreds of times, in many different formats. However, this post is not a joke. It is the reality of today's Fire Service.
Five or six years ago, we recorded a round-table discussion regarding the volunteer fire services dearth of new members. Having been a volunteer firefighter/EMT back in the late 1970's through the mid-1980's, even though I was working 60-70 hours per week at my Educational Director's job. My wife was working three-quarters time and we had not started our family yet. And, though never having a firefighter in the family, my previous exposure began when I was seven, when we had a small brush fire in the woods behind our home. While the adults and other kids ran into the woods to watch the extinguishment, I walked down to the engine and stood there looking at the Driver/Engineer and that pump panel. He gave me a lollipop and explained what he was doing. I was hooked!
From that moment on, I was enthralled with firefighters, even though I did not want to be one. I made my parents drive me to visit the firehouses in our town (now, a city!). When I was older and had a good bike, I would ride to these firehouses and those in some of the surrounding towns. Once I had my license, I visited firehouses in many of the Greater Boston communities. By my junior year in high school, I had earned my Red Cross Advanced First Aid and Senior Life Saving certifications and was on my way to my Water Safety Instructor's certification. On my way home from a date in a neighboring town, I came upon a severe MVC, stopped and grabbed my First Aid kit. Another driver stopped and I asked him to find a phone and call the fire department. I was tending to one of the seriously injured patients when the first engine arrived. They took over the care, but not before thanking me and telling me what a good job i had done. It was seven years or so later, that I walked into a fire station outside Greensboro NC to see their apparatus and walked out with an application in had. The rest, as they say, is history.
Now, back to my story. In planning this round-table podcast, I was referred to Chief Anthony (Tony) Correa, who had been a fire and EMS chief. When I told him the theme of this episode of the round-table discussion, he said to me, "Steve, we should not call it, "Recruitment and Retention. We should say, "Retention and Recruitment." I asked him why? What the hell is the difference? And the Chief replied, "Because if we cannot retain the people we have, how the hell can we expect to bring in new people!" It finally sunk in.
Fast forward to today's post-pandemic society. Not only is the volunteer/part-pay/paid-on-call force in deep trouble in many states, but we are seeing the reality of career departments "bleeding" staff and having significant difficulties in refilling their rosters.
On every podcast, we air one of two PSA's (Public Service Announcements) for the volunteer fire service. However, we are but one pebble in an "ocean." Now, we are seeing local, regional and even national conferences devoting a great deal of time and attention to these issues.
Let's be honest. The vast majority of men and women in the fire service love the "job," even if there are those calls we hate to hear over the speakers when the alerts are sounded. Nevertheless, we respond and do the very best we can do. And no matter what background we bring with us, the departments are ready to train us to do what they need us to do.
Are the calls so different today than in my day? It some ways, yes! Today, due to materials used in homes, furniture, etc., the timing on the incipient stage is significantly shorter than my time. What is burning also matters and is part of the change in timing. Homes, apartments, commercial structures are closed-up, to keep the ambient environment out and the manufactured one in. There are other factors, as well, but they all lead to what is a more involved and even, difficult job today than in my days.
If you are reading this post, there's a damn good chance you're already a member of the fire service in one manner or another. That's not just good....that's great! Why? Because YOU are the people that Chief Correa is talking about! If you really enjoy your job or duties with your department, you could be an excellent recruiter for your department. Sure, every department has issues, but that does not have to mean that it's a toxic environment; it does mean that we are all human with our talents and foibles! I've been working for over fifty years. Some jobs I loved and some sucked, big time. And in the middle are those that were pretty good and provided me with decent work.
In this day and age, we cannot just sit back and say that it is the department's responsibility to find, attract and hire or enroll new members. Sure, many of your friends are already in the fire service, but not all! And you are probably wise enough to know that some folks are just not cut out for this job and especially, some of the crap we see! Nevertheless, you can help bolster the ranks, if you want to.
Or are you willing to sit back and let others do the work you should be doing? If so, what do you tell the people in your response area when only two people are on the first responding apparatus for a ripping house fire? "Oh, sorry about your home. We don't have enough people. Have a nice day!
Many of us connected to the fire service are well aware of the Firefighter Cancer Initiative. It is a multinational effort to educate former and current firefighters about the dangers we faced or face today in almost anything and everything that burns. Now, we know that from a trash can to a dumpster, from a small apartment to a massive mansion, from the tiny neighborhood market to the big-box stores, they all contain carcinogenic materials which are released as the material burns. Thus, most firefighters will mask-up for interior work and do not shed their bunker gear for overhaul, when we often sweat profusely which opens the pores of our skin and, those pores can also serve as an entry point of the carcinogens.
However, it was only in the last several years that we have learned the danger is not just external for us, but now can originate in our bunker gear, which is supposed to offer us excellent protection. This danger is referred to as PFOS/PFAS, nicknamed, the “forever chemicals,” as they will never deteriorate or breakdown in nature. Many believe that some of the strange or unexpected strains of cancer being seen in the fire service is caused by these chemicals.
A closer look at these chemicals that are in our gear at Notre Dame University under the watchful eye of Dr. Graham Peaslee. He and his students tested new and used bunker gear dating back to 1977 and found that all the gear they tested contained these forever chemicals.
As it turns out, I started my volunteer fire service in North Carolina in October 1977. I kept my gear in my car and in my home where, without knowing, I might have exposed my family to these carcinogenic chemicals. And that, has always sat very heavily on my “shoulders.” Adding to this concern is the fact that over a decade ago, a member of my family was diagnosed with melanoma. Thanks to our excellent dermatologists and the surgeon, that member is fine today.
As some of you may know, I have been dealing with my own health issues over the last two years. And though it took over twenty-two months and nine physicians to receive a diagnosis which has nothing to do with cancer.
I have become friends with a hematologist/oncologist whom I met back in 2016, when close friends asked me to accompany them to the doctor’s office to help explain some of the medical turns. Subsequently, since I am anemic, I see him on a regular basis. I taught him about the Firefighter Cancer Initiative, which he embraced and currently asks all new patients if they are or have been firefighters.
At my last visit several weeks ago, I asked him if his office might be able to order the PFOS/PFAS blood tests. He said he would, only if he could have my insurance cover the tests. When neither he nor his office called me to advise yes or no, I took the silence to mean the tests were unable to be done. I was wrong.
Earlier this week I received a call from my doctor’s assistant. When she started to tell me results, I wasn’t sure where this info was coming from. I politely asked her what test these results were for. Sure enough, these results were for testing the PFOS/PFAS in my bloodstream. Even though I had a bone marrow assay performed in 2018 (completely negative) I still worried that perhaps a cancer was part of my “mystery malady.” Thankfully, I was wrong.
All these tests came back with very minimal levels that are not deemed to either have any impact on my malady, nor were they at a level to be concerned about. Though I still have health problems (which is not uncommon at my age) cancer and PFOS/PFAS poisoning are not items I need to be concerned about.
It is my hope that reading this blog post will give you pause to consider being tested for PFOS/PFAS. Yes, you will need to check with both your physician and insurance company if they will cover the tests, since your job or your volunteering in the fire service exposes you to these chemical, each and every time you put on your gear.
Play it smart! While this might sound like an oxymoron, wear your full PPE on any active fire, again, from trash basket to a dumpster, from a room and contents fire to the “big-box store” fire, WEAR YOUR PPE!
Be the best firefighter you can be with a long and healthy career!
HAPPY NEW YEAR 2023!
I guess the title of this entry is true! As I entered our website to write it, I saw that our last entry was in June of 2022. And that is when I began seeing an increase in my symptoms of my then, "mystery malady," which I had been suffering with for over 20 months! In August, I found an endocrinologist who finally was able to provide me with a diagnosis and treatment. While I am beginning to see some relief, each day is like the mythical character, Forrest Gump said in the movie of the same name, "Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you are going to get until you take open it up," or something similar. For me, I don't know if the day will be a good one or a lousy one until an hour or two after getting up in the morning. However thankfully, I am slowly recuperating and realize that it will take time to fully recover from those nearly two years of the unknown!
As I was writing this blog entry, I realized how apropos this title is for the fire service. Whether you're a career or volunteer, there are days when the day just draws on...no calls, chores are done, a practice drill is completed and that's it! Then, we have those days where we wish we had just two minutes to "take a load off!" The tones are dropping within minutes of each return to the station. Then "poof!" The shift is over and you're headed home.
While we often complain about the lack of runs, many do not think about what he/she can accomplish when all the chores and drills are finished. Here are a couple of suggestions:
1. Reading - No, not the latest novel or even a presidential biography. Read to keep your fire service education growing and up-to-date. While there are the local, regional and national conferences, you can always set your own "bar" to a level where you are hungry to learn more about our job. Learn about the craft, then learn how to put what you learned to use.
2. Create your own group. See if a couple of your colleagues would like to learn or practice a new tactic, a new tool, or a new evolution.
3. Seek out the senior firefighter in your department, shift, platoon, etc. Ask him or her to share some of his/her experiences with you. However, this shouldn't be simply, "story time!" This should be a learning moment!
Although it is postulated that time is a human construct, it is very important to us and our lives. And like most of what is important to us, we cherish it. We should feel the very same about time. It should not be wasted. For, unlike the mythical Harry Potter, we cannot turn back time. Be sure to make your time fulfilling and helpful to you.
PLEASE NOTE: NEITHER STEVE GREENE OR 5-ALARM TASK FORCE CORP. HAVE ANY FINANCIAL OR COMMERCIAL INTERESTS REGARDING THE TOOL ADDRESSED BELOW:
It is no secret within the fire service that there are two things we despise the most; namely, the status quo and change. Whether you are a member of a huge, city-based department or you are a member of a small, one-engine, rural firehouse, those feelings seem to echo across the country.
Of course, we have found ways to accept certain changes and it is good thing too, or else one of the "house duties" would be to clean up the "house dooty" from the horses! Consider the fact that the average engine of a pumper produces 350 horsepower! That would surely be a great deal of dooty to clean up, right? And let's face it, not even the "probie" could be the only one responsible for that sh*t!
Over the years, we have seen ideas that went from someone's personal perception of a need
for a way to carry out a task, to mock-ups, early models, etc. And some of these ideas came to fruition. How? Why? Because we opened our minds to someone else's idea or thought process. And, for each "idea" that was translated into either a new tactic or tool, it was usually a change for the better.
A few years ago, I met a gentleman who had no connection to the fire service, other than his home was protected by the local fire department. This gentleman is a contractor. He builds, demos, adds, subtracts and builds what the client or designer requests. To carry out his tasks, he has numerous tools. However, while doing some of these demo jobs, he realized that he had to use a couple of tools to accomplish this demo. He'd use one as a lever and a second as a fulcrum point. Sounds good, right? Especially if you're an octopus with eight arms, to be able to hold all the tools at the same time.
This seemed to be a pain in the butt for this gentleman and his late partner. They agreed there had to be an easier way of using Archimedes' principal of the fulcrum. And thus was born the "Nestorbar." By creating both a lever and a fulcrum one one tool, the job became much easier. Fewer damaged hands and/or fingers. Easier work; getting the job done more quickly with less physical exertion. From the initial prototype, the Nestorbar was created with different lever lengths, widths and thicknesses and different numbers of "rocker" fulcrums.
After being in touch by email and phone, I invited this gentleman to be my guest on "5-Alarm Task Force." But this was not by phone or Zoom. He actually came to my home and brought several of the Nestorbars with him. Having been a volunteer in fire and EMS in the late 1970's through the mid-1980's, (Jaws of Life just coming to market) I knew how important good hand tools were in the performance of our tasks. And when I saw this tool, I immediately remembered a number of calls where this tool would have been of great value to us, from extrication to overhaul and demo.
Below, you will see a couple of photos of versions of the Nestorbar. What do you think?
Interested? Want more info? Email: email@example.com
Very often, when I am in discussions or interviews with other firefighters, one can be sure that he/she will hear the title words of this post. Sure, we do a lot of crazy and dangerous stuff and we see scenes that could make the biggest director in Hollywood, puke! Nevertheless, we push those images aside and say, "It's who we are and what we do."
Here at 5-Alarm Task Force Corp., we use that phrase as well, as we explain what our singular aim is, to provide immediate financial assistance to our Brothers and Sisters, and/or their families, when in dire need.
Since we launched our nonprofit, we have disbursed over $3,000. While we have assisted three small volunteer departments, the vast majority of our payments went to the families of Brothers and Sisters who either were seriously injured or made the Ultimate Sacrifice. Every disbursement is accompanied by a hand-written note to the family. For on this job, those families are our families, as well.
The majority of our funds have been generated by our webinars. We had a very successful one last month and we have two more planned for late summer (Building Construction & Sprinkler Systems) and late fall (Volunteers: Retention & Recruitment).
However, as you can see, there is a fair amount of time between these webinars, but our Brothers and Sisters often cannot wait for us to have a webinar so that we can provide financial assistance to them. To put it bluntly, we need your help!
We set a goal for 2022, to raise $12,000 for our Foundation. It is the first item you see on our website. And we make so very easy for you to make a donation. One our homepage of this website, you will see a photo of a Federal Signal Q2B siren. Just click on the photo and our Donation Page will pop-up. We are pleased to have the EFT Corporation of Virginia assisting us for all donations. The donation page is encrypted and your privacy is fully guarded.
On the Donation Page, you are able to choose the destination of your donation, either to our Operating account (pays for our day-to-day operations of any office) or to our Foundation Account (the fund of which are used ONLY to assist our fellow firefighters and/or their families. You are also able to make a one-time, monthly or yearly donation. And, you can use any credit or debit card, as well as an EFT transfer or even an electronic check.
Though you will probably never see us "trending" on social media, we have nearly 6,000 followers on Twitter and Instagram, with hundreds more on Facebook and Linked In. Now, if only half of that number made a $5.00 donation, that would generate $15,000 for our Foundation.
We ask you, Heaven forbid, if you or someone in your firefighting family was lost, severely ill, etc., would you not find some comfort knowing that 5-Alarm Task Force Corp., is ready and willing to provide financial assistance?
Thank you for following us, visiting our website and following us on social media. You cannot understand how much all of you mean to us.
Stay Safe and God Bless.
As I write this, tears are welling up in my eyes. Using the U.S. Fire Administration website and recent news, it appears that we have lost eleven (11) Brothers and Sisters in the this month of which, there are four more days. Most recently, we lost three colleagues from the City of Baltimore fire Department.
Line-of-Duty Deaths are nothing new to us. They are too often considered, "part of the job." It is time we change how we look at LODD's. For while we all agree that, no matter career, part-pay, volunteer or WUI, there is a risk in being a firefighter. Then again, there is significant risk for those brave men and women who install huge windmills across the country. There is a huge risk to be on a crab or fishing boat in the Bering Sea. Yet, in my humble opinion, we are sometimes too casual with the phrase, "part of the job."
Not everyone is cut out to be a firefighter. And many, including myself, who feel the calling in their soul, aren't necessarily in the best shape of their lives. However, both personal exercise and department training can deal with that problem. Our fire academies and training programs teach us a great deal with the numerous topics and tactics we have to learn; especially when and how to use them. Yet, we must concede that no matter the training and the experience of each firefighter, officer and chief, there is still an unknown factor.
This past week, we have seen, at two different fire departments, a collapse of the second floor of a residential structure which, at this time, resulted in the death of three firefighters and serious injuries to four others. And even though we are trained to watch for "soft spots" or "spongy floors," events still occur over which we do not have control.
However, I believe that it is time for a change in our mindset towards LODD's. As we begin the third decade of the 21st century, we can no longer afford to brush aside a LODD as "part of the job." Rather, be must review every aspect of the call, every agency report, each firefighter's recollections of the incident e.g., where they were, what they saw, what they experienced, etc. Let us do everything we can to learn the how and why of an LODD, as well as what we can do in our effort to prevent this from happening again, if possible.
May their love for and dedication to, their families and community be an inspiration to all who loved and knew them.
May their souls be bound up in the Bond of Life.
May their memories always be for a blessing and may the Rest in Peace.
If you are a regular follower of our and Blog reader, you know that we are very passionate about protecting our own and our fellow first responders. Of course, that was the purpose of our recent webinar on December 9th. Yet, we all realize that the "D" drivers, (i.e., distracted, DUI, drugged, depressed, etc.) are not going to stop! WE MUST DO ALL WE CAN TO PROTECT OURSELVES TO THE VERY BEST OF OUR ABILITIES WHEN WE ANSWER THESE CALL.
Below, is the text of Chief Billy Goldfeder's "The Secret List."
PLEASE BE CARE, ESPECIALLY THIS HOLIDAY WEEKEND! STAY SAFE & STAY WELL!
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND GOD BLESS.
A Boone County (Missouri) Fire District assistant chief was killed in an Interstate 70 crash early this morning.
Assistant Chief Bryant Gladney died at the scene after the crash involving a tractor-trailer near Route Z. Gladney was arriving on the scene of a crash when a westbound tractor-trailer hit Gladney's truck at high speed before hitting a University Hospital ambulance and the vehicle involved in the original crash. Gladney was extricated and pronounced dead at the hospital. I-70 remained closed in the area about four hours after the crash.
The semi-truck hit the vehicles of emergency crews who responded to the first crash.
CHARLOTTE NC OFFICER STRUCK ON INTERSTATE
Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Chief Officer Mia Goodwin was killed in the Line of Duty Wednesday morning after working a traffic crash on Interstate 85. The crash happened on 85 South near exit 45 at W.T. Harris Boulevard. A CMPD cruiser was seen with heavy damage on the rear end. There was also a second damaged CMPD cruiser on scene.
Police were responding to an initial crash on I-85 in northeast Charlotte at exit 45 southbound involving an 18-wheeler. Before 0400., another 18-wheeler struck the police vehicles responding to the crash.
More to follow. Our condolences to all those affected. Rest In Peace.
Take Care. Be Careful. Pass it On.
The Secret List 12/22/2021-1017 Hours
The following is a Guest Blog Post from the Mesothelioma Guide
Firefighters and Mesothelioma: 4 Important Questions to Answer!
Firefighters risk their lives daily to help save others from danger. They bravely run into harm’s way while others move in the opposite direction. This selfless act is the nature of the occupation.
Another regular nature — one that isn’t so obvious — is the risk of developing mesothelioma.
Almost all buildings — from residential to commercial — built prior to the 1980s were done so using asbestos, which is a fine mineral that is resistant to heat. Firefighters are at risk of exposure to several respiratory toxins that could be released in fires.
Asbestos is one of the most in this group, and it’s also one of the most prevalent in burning or collapsing buildings. Asbestos was used for much of the 20th century — and even in the centuries before — to protect flammable objects or building components from fires.
Asbestos is also the only known cause of mesothelioma, a deadly cancer that forms in either the lining of the lungs, abdomen or heart. A study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health found that firefighters are twice as likely to develop mesothelioma compared to the general public.
These four questions are the most important for firefighters who interact with asbestos on a regular basis.
How Does Mesothelioma Form?When asbestos particles flake off, they float in the air due to their microscopic size and light weight. Anyone nearby can breathe in or swallow these fibers, which then travel into the body and lodge into the cells along these linings. The fibers can irritate the cells, which then mutate and become cancerous.
Being in the vicinity of loose asbestos particles is nearly impossible for firefighters. Wearing protective gear is one safety measure available, but asbestos sometimes sticks to the clothing and can be inhaled or ingested later.
Which Building and Construction Materials Have Asbestos?Many construction materials included asbestos to prevent fires and insulate the building. Some of the most common include:
If a house catches fire, the asbestos around any of these items or materials could be released into the air. Thus, any firefighters entering or in the vicinity of the building is in danger.
How Do You Know if You Have Mesothelioma?Answering this question is difficult because mesothelioma has a long latency period, which means it takes a while to develop. Most studies suggest that the cancer forms between 20 and 50 years after asbestos fibers lodge into the cells.
Therefore, connecting your mesothelioma diagnosis to an exposure occurrence is difficult. Most firefighters who develop mesothelioma are unaware how the cancer formed. They can’t pinpoint exactly which job or building led to their exposure.
However, there are medical tips for firefighters. Whether they are currently working in the occupation or retired, they should receive regular check-ups with a doctor to ensure there are no masses forming.
Mesothelioma is an aggressive, fast-spreading cancer. Early detection is the most effective way to halt this spreading and attack it with treatment.
Safety Tips for Firefighters
The increased risk of asbestos exposure for firefighters means there’s an increased importance to prioritize safety. Once people in this occupation are educated about how asbestos enters the body and causes mesothelioma, they should learn some safety tips to reduce their exposure:
About the Writer, Devin Golden
Devin Golden is the content writer for Mesothelioma Guide. He produces mesothelioma-related content on various mediums, including the Mesothelioma Guide website and social media channels. Devin's objective is to translate complex information regarding mesothelioma into informative, easily absorbable content to help patients and their loved ones.
Here we are with the aftermath of Hurricane Ida and its deadly path from the shores of Louisiana, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle, up through the country, charging into the Northeast with tornadoes, winds and torrential rains that have claimed nearly fifty lives in that area alone. And with every newscast, there was one constant from coast-to-coast: many, many rescues were effected by fire-rescue personnel. Yes, there were police, National Guard and even Coast Guard members performing rescues. Yet, most of the video clips displayed the actions of our braves Brothers and Sisters. Newscasters and reporters often used the words, "heroes" and "brave first responders."
As I write this entry, we are but six days from observing the twentieth anniversary of the 9|11 tragedy. On that day, we lost the following:
- 343 FDNY Firefighters
- 37 Police Officers of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
- 23 NYPD Police Officers
- 8 EMTS & Paramedics from private ambulance services
- 3 NY State Court Officers
- 1 Patrolman from the New York Fire Patrol
Subsequent to the 9|11 tragedy, first responders in general and firefighters in particular, were celebrated for their sacrifices, heroism and bravery. Yet the vast majority of First Responders and, especially firefighters, feel that we are just doing our jobs, whether we are career, volunteer, part-pay or WUI. We do what we do because it is what we choose to do. As one of our true mentors, the late Chief Alan Brunacini said, "Our job is to take care of Mrs. Smith on her worst day. Even if that worst day is because her cat is in a tree!"
Yet, the public sees us in another light as well - a "tax burden" almost anytime we need to bump our budgets, purchase new apparatus and equipment, negotiate union contracts or raise funds to recruit volunteers or to send members to educational seminars.
Outside of news stories, the public also sees "represented" on television and film. Many of us in or retired/disabled from the fire service, might say that the "best" TV show about firefighters/paramedics was "Emergency!" and the best movie was, "Backdraft." We were very lucky that the creators and producers of these two examples, were dedicated to an, worked closely with the two departments represented, Los Angeles County Fire Dept. and the Chicago Fire Dept. But, where are we on today's screens and what stories are being told.
The truth is, we First Responders don't perform our jobs to be on television or in the movies. Would we like to see a well-produced show or movie about us? Sure, why not? However, fame is not the impetus that brought to our chosen field. Rather, it is often other first responders we have seen, in our own communities or on the news, that give us that idea. Moreover, tens of children of those firefighters who made the ultimate sacrifice on 9|11, have become members of the FDNY, following in their fathers' footsteps.
And to me, that's better than any TV show or movie.
May the love for and dedication to their families and community inspire all those who knew and loved the. May their souls be bound up in the Bond of Life. May their memories always be for a blessing and may they Rest in Peace.
Founder & President of 5-Alarm Task Force Corp. and Creator & Host of the "5-Alarm Task Force" podcast.