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For those of you that have not read Chief Halton's commentary in June's Fire Engineering magazine "Is Making A Mistake A Crime?", please take a moment to do so - trust me, it's worth your time. My second illustration this month plays along many of the same lucid points made in his commentary and highlights the challenge we now face as emergency responders. We train, we rely on experience (both our own and those around us), and we study trade magazines, journals, and case studies, all to help us prepare for those split-second decisions that may save a life, or prevent one of our own from sustaining an injury. Unfortunately this is not enough in a scape-goat society where the need to feed a perceived gratification for justice sometimes outweighs common sense. Add to this a bandwagon of attorneys who are licking their collective chops at big dollar settlements, and you can see where the "system" has left the tracks.

Don't get me wrong, sometimes good does come from the justice system hammering down on our bad practices, negligence, and complacency - especially in cases where injury or death has occurred. Measurable positive change has come from these unfortunate events. The thorn in my side stems from the frivolous questioning of our decision making and actions for monetary gain. Isn't our job tough enough without this keeping us awake at night, too?!

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Comment by Paul Combs on July 23, 2010 at 9:57pm
Thanks, Chief! I'll check out your article...
Comment by Tim Beebe on July 23, 2010 at 8:53pm
You've hit the nail right on the head. At the risk of shamelessly promoting my writing, here is a link to my July column for Fire and EMS Quarterly, which is along the same lines:
I had previously been exposed to your work, but recently rediscovered you. Keep up the good work!
Comment by Brad Hoff on June 25, 2010 at 11:51am
(I haven't read it yet...seems like I always get the issue at the end of the month. Must be something with how long the mail takes to get here...LOL

Great illustration brother and I can't wait to read Chief Haltons article!
Comment by Jeff Schwering on June 23, 2010 at 7:53am
Great illustration Paul, Chief well done as alwaysBrother!
Comment by Paul Combs on June 23, 2010 at 7:08am
Great perspective and insight, Chief. Thanks for sharing!!
Comment by John K. Murphy on June 22, 2010 at 10:33pm
Great illustration. As an attorney and retired Deputy Fire Chief, I am changing my license plate to "JD4FIRE". Unfortunately, today’s society is looking for deep pockets to “right their wrongs”. Many fire supportive attorneys attempt to keep the fire service out of trouble but in spite of frequent training, blogs and other information, the fire service find itself on the tip of the litigation spear. It becomes problematic when internal strife and personnel issues drives us apart, polarizes our service and results in major awards to the firefighter litigants. The reality is that we have more internal (firefighter against firefighter) and EMS response litigation than litigation that involves an actual fire or rescue. We become sensitized to the shenanigans of our brothers and sisters firefighters especially when we appear in the news in a less than positive light. I hope that this illustration brings the discussion to the forefront and I for one appreciate your insight.

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