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Stephen Raclaw's Blog (8)


The fire service is great at remembering anniversaries.  We celebrate when organizations were founded, when we got hired, when we got promoted and when one of our own dies in the line of duty.  It’s a day to reflect and a day to remember.

Yesterday was an anniversary.  Not a good one though.  Yesterday marks three years since I witnessed firsthand a firefighter suicide.  Other guys remembered too.  It caused me to…


Added by Stephen Raclaw on May 5, 2016 at 9:45am — No Comments

It’s Been A Year......

I realized that last week marks a year since retirement.  My how the time flew.  I figured I’d sit down and record some of my thoughts.

I still miss the job.......

The year has been whirl wind of activity.  My wife is finishing up a dual master’s degree, she starting working last fall; I have three kids in hockey, two in Daisies and one in Cub Scouts.  All these…


Added by Stephen Raclaw on April 26, 2016 at 10:51am — 1 Comment

My Happy Place

For as long as I can remember, I have loved to read. Being that my interests have been very specific, I loved to read fire books.

So it only makes sense that the National Fire Academy’s Learning Resource Center is the “holy grail” of fire literature. Contained within its historic walls are over 208,000 books, video, research papers and publications.

THIS is my happy place.

If you have not personally been to the National Fire Academy, the campus and its top notch…


Added by Stephen Raclaw on November 16, 2015 at 4:47pm — No Comments

Breaking the silence, what I have to say

I have PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome).  There, I said it; I admitted it to the world. 

How I came to have it? I’m not sure.  It’s not something I want; it’s not easy to deal with.  After all, I was a suburban firefighter for my entire career.  Not that the suburbs are immune from bad calls.  But I’ve heard stories from friends who work for busier urban departments.  Unbelievable stories of human carnage.  Yet I…


Added by Stephen Raclaw on October 27, 2015 at 9:05pm — No Comments

We are........

We are committed to the job of firefighting

We are the ones who dreamed of being a firefighter

We are the ones who bring passion to our work

We are the believers in the traditions of the fire service

We are the ones who take pride in our job, our tools, our actions and our department…


Added by Stephen Raclaw on October 12, 2015 at 9:51pm — 1 Comment

Knowing What You Don’t Know

When I finished Firefighter I, I thought I knew it all.  After all, I had been around firehouses since I was a kid.  I was a fire explorer and I lived and breathed the fire service.

I continued on with classes.  At that time it was more to pad my resume than “really” learn stuff.  Not to say I didn’t learn new things, but I thought I knew everything I needed to know.

Sadly in retrospect,…


Added by Stephen Raclaw on October 5, 2015 at 9:00pm — No Comments

Perception versus Reality

Perception has a few different meanings.  For the basis of this blog, I am referring to it as “a way of regarding, understanding, or interpreting something; a mental impression.”

Reality on the other hand is something very different.  It is defined as “The world or the state of things as they actually exist, as opposed to an…


Added by Stephen Raclaw on September 29, 2015 at 9:19pm — No Comments

Dealing with retirement

Retirement, it’s a word that is used to formally say you’re transitioning from the active duty as a firefighter to “civilian” life.  For some it’s a dream, for others it may be a curse.  Sadly, some will never see it.

When I started out, I know it would happen someday.  That someday was far off in my dreams.  I wanted to do this job for as long as I can and they would have to force me to go.  That was…


Added by Stephen Raclaw on September 21, 2015 at 9:46pm — 1 Comment

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