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How Safe Are we Really!? First Blog Brothers, be kind.

Recently, I have been doing a lot of thinking, since returning from the FDIC. We all know that can be a dangerous thing, but seriously everybody, in the Fire Service of today, “How safe are we really?”

We all know we can count on our Brothers and Sisters on the job, to cover our backs, but what about some of the people in this world, who are closest to us, who claim to be in our corner, come hell or high water.

The purpose of this article is to make all of us think about the many who swear by firefighters, but truth be known, the almighty dollar may be the driving force behind the shaking of our hands and the smiles we receive. Just to name a few examples to examine, let me throw a couple out for your consideration, politicians, equipment salesman and the companies these folks represent in our industry, from Personal Protective Clothing, Breathing Apparatus, to Apparatus Manufacturers, and everything in between.

Politicians are our first stop, on this short little reading journey. We all have stories of politicians, both good and bad, some just horrible! Politicians are similar to firefighters, some get it, and some do not understand and never will. Politicians that get it are friends to the Fire Service to the end, just like true brothers. Those that are misinformed will be our best friends at elections and when an event occurs that they view as tragic, but we see as our jobs, no different from the misinformed firefighter, that is not a true brother!

Our next stop is the sales representatives that represent a variety of companies, selling products every Fire Department needs to do an effective job and do that job safely for our members and the civilians we to protect, everyday. In my humble Captain,’s opinion, a salesperson, can make or break the company or companies’ reputation in an instant. At the FDIC, I met the good, the bad, and the truly ugly. Many lines I had the “pleasure” of listening to were like listening to the politician at election time. If your department finds someone in sales that is trustworthy, you are among the lucky few. Pride, Honor, and Integrity are foundation of the American Fire Service. The majority of Firefighters understand this but, many salespersons and the companies they represent are lacking or missing the Integrity part. The products these companies sell are outstanding quality items, for the most part. The corporate decision makers truly worry me, as a Fire Officer.

This brings me to the title of this piece, “How safe are we really?” People wearing the nice suits, who assure us regularly that all is well, who have never crawled down a blackened hallway scare me! Brothers and Sisters, do your research on any item your department purchases. We must not accept freely what anyone is trying to sell, politician, sales representative, or company. We have to protect ourselves and assure ourselves of our own protection.

Be safe, we all have families to come home to. Take care of the member riding across from you, or in front of you. We are truly our Brothers Keeper!

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Comment by Brandon Krause on May 21, 2010 at 3:53pm
The sad thing here is that these polititions and sales men are part of who makes our standards. I hear that it is possibility that in a few years all turn outs will be cbrn certified, why, is cost more and they can. These redi culous "safety" standards are going to make it very hard on low budget depts to even survive and meet the basic needs of their own citizens.
Comment by Jeff Schwering on May 16, 2010 at 8:16am
Thanks Mark, glad to have you back Brother! Honestly, it's not to hard to speak the truth, at least in my opinion. We all need to step back and take a harsh look at the world around us, because we are put at risk more and more everyday!

Be Safe Brother!
Comment by Mark Wadsworth on May 14, 2010 at 5:26pm
Jeff, Been away from the site for a while but it is nice to see that you are putting your ideas and thoughts out there for us all. Takes alot of guts to post a blog for your peers, thanks. Definitely true that no matter who you are dealing with we have to look out for ourselves and each other first, because the almighty dollar seems to be the bottom line for most. You just reminded me why I enjoy visiting this site.
Comment by Jason Hoevelmann on May 7, 2010 at 5:22pm
Jeff, good stuff. The more you do it, the better you get. Keep it up. (P.S., my wife proof reads my articles and long stuff, and she is brutal, but honest.)
Comment by Mike France on May 7, 2010 at 9:48am
Jeff, very well put, I agree with the section about the politicians, but in my case it's those elected to my Board , They are past Active members and Chiefs, but forgot where they have come from. i am still battling over my budgetted money.
Comment by Jeff Schwering on May 6, 2010 at 5:23pm
Feedback is a good thing. It's all about learning and teaching ourselves to be better,

Thanks Brad
Comment by Brad Hoff on May 6, 2010 at 2:31pm
I'll repost what I wrote to Jeff earlier.

Good piece brother, I see some small errors but nothing major. You might think about including some information on sources of how to find reputable sales people and goods and places to report them or their companies with bad products, just a thought to make it more appealing to FE.

Yep you will get some feedback for sure but don't start from scratch you, have a good article with some tweeking it will be what you want it to be!

Stay safe,

Your brother from another mother!

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