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We all know fire fighters who talk a lot of talk, but fall short on the walk. They throw around the latest fire service buzz words and training topics, but are opportunistic in their implementation. This month's FE cartoon tackles this topic and poses the question "Are You All Bark?".

In my view, if you are going to preach wearing your apparatus seat-belt, then you should be the first to buckle-up. If you're going to squawk at others for their lack of training, then you'd better be the first in the door during drills. As the cartoon illustrates, these "yappers" are like the noisy backyard dog that barks at everything it sees, but is quick to hide when held accountable for the barking. What are your thoughts?

On a personal note: This cartoon represents my first editorial with Fire Engineering Magazine. After working four years with Firehouse Magazine, I've decided to take on a new challenge with FE and am excited about where we can take my commentary. I look forward to posting my cartoons within this forum to elicit feedback and stimulate "healthy" debate and conversation. After all, we ALL learn when we take time to listen...

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We've ALL been "ALL BARK" to a point in the past. Nobody is perfect.

The fire fighters who are consistently "ALL BARK" in my department are held accountable for it. As an example, if a fire fighter is holding on too tight and preaching about a lack of training, poorly organized training, etcetera the other fire fighters will razz him/her by pointing out their imperfections. Essentially, the firefighters manage themselves and when one is out of line the others reel him/her back in.

Now....if the problem is an officer on my shift I take care of that. I can tell a fellow officer to STFU is he/she is out of line. It's all about the cohesiveness of the group and luckily for me I work on a great shift and have a trustworthy crew that I can communicate openly with.

Post Script - I like the's cute!
I agree with Erik, we should post it in every fire house. I'm always looking for something to try and challenge my folks. None of us are perfect, however, in today's world of cuts and do more with less, the bark and the bite need to be about equal or people are going to continue to slack. Just my opinion
Fellow community members, it gives me tremendous joy that Paul has decided to join the fire engineering family. As you can see his editorial cartoons represent some of the most insightful work by any member of our fire service community today. Not to put Paul on the spot but soon he will be joining us online as well on fire on a regular basis. When we unveil the new fire engineering website you will be able to comment directly on articles and on Paul's editorial cartoons this will be just one of the new one-of-a-kind features which will be available to you when we unveil the new fire I feel as I know you do that Paul is what fire engineering is, dedicated to training, dedicated to firefighters and dedicated to civil and respectful exchange of opinions and ideas. Welcome aboard brother!

On a sad note please send this link to every firefighter you know. I know some of you may be on what is known as the secret list today the fellow who runs it is a little known and humble gentleman named Billy Goldfeder. I read this today on the secret list

We are looking forward to seeing you at FDIC next week! Here is ALL you need:

Please keep in mind that there will be an EXCELLENT FUNDRAISING PARTY for the NATIONAL FALLEN FIREFIGHTERS on THURSDAY EVENING. YOU are INVITED! Here are the details:

So until then, we'll see ya in the classes, the halls, the NEW STADIUM and on the streets on Indy!

And by the way, as much as I BEGGED HIM, Bobby H WILL NOT allow me to do the run again this I will see you at the exhibits on Saturday!



The Secret List 4-14-09 / 1200 hours

This is how I replyed
A Coward Dies 1000 Deaths
As I know Billy G. is too big a coward to publish this I'll speak directly to the secret list the courage and valor fun run is an open run. And I'm throwing the gauntlet at the feet of one William Goldfeder, I don't know if he's enough of a firefighter to pick it up but I'm counting on his unending quest for immortality to drive him to accept this challenge. I am challenging Chief Billy G. to a 5K race Saturday morning 25 April along with 1500 of our closest friends. The winner will get to choose the venue for the loser to give a one day benefit for the charity of their choice. All expenses will be borne by the loser in the charity will get 100% of the proceeds. The ball's in your court Chief Goldfeder, when the sun comes up on Saturday morning I'll be looking for your mustached face and your pasty white legs.

The Challenger, Bobby H.
Hi Paul!

Great stuff! Your postings are all over our firehouse, Thanks Todd McKee
Thanks, Brother! That's the best compliment I can get...
If you get time at FDIC on Friday Morning I am presenting Emergency Response to Unique HazMat Incidents ROOM 210 around 0800 hours. It would be an honor to have you attend! Todd McKee

Paul Combs said:
Thanks, Brother! That's the best compliment I can get...
If I'm available, I'll be sure to stop by. Thanks for the invite, Brother!

Todd McKee said:
If you get time at FDIC on Friday Morning I am presenting Emergency Response to Unique HazMat Incidents ROOM 210 around 0800 hours. It would be an honor to have you attend! Todd McKee

Paul Combs said:
Thanks, Brother! That's the best compliment I can get...

Great news, I’m really glad you are joining FE. Your insightful, often biting and always spot-on editorials will be a welcome addition. Congrats Brother.

Preaching is one thing, leading however, is quite another. Those that yell the loudest may be heard by the masses; however, the quiet leadership displayed by countless Firefighters and Officers across the Country provide the example of how the job should be done, talk is cheap. The members of our beloved service that really make the difference every day are those that understand what it means to lead by example. They understand that they will be evaluated and held to account for the degree to which their deeds align with their words. They understand that their example extends to every conversation, every phone call, every e-mail, every action, every day.

Thanks Paul, I’m sure you will continue to do great work.


Great work as usual. Unfortunately this hits right on the mark with too many of our leaders in the fire service. "Do as I say, not as I do attitude" just won't work anymore.

Glad to see you on the FE site and am looking forward to seeing what you come up with in the coming months.

Well put Paul. We've had that problem at our dept for years. The current "change" as far as training, wellness, and a few other topics were actually an initiative started by some of the personnel, including myself. It's good to see the few that are taking the initiative to promote the issues in our dept, Two are even company officers. As far as the Chiefs, well...that's a different story. It seems so easy to wear the white hat and bark orders, but practice what you preach. Kudos on the cartoon, you made the point very clear. Leadership is action, not position, and it seems some current leaders are "All Bark".
I could not agree with you more. I have had my share of officers both company & department that preach all this safety stuff and then get "bullied into their office by the "wer're volunteers you can't make us" crowd. What a crock. Last time I checked DEATH does not discrminate between career and volunteer.

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