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I'm pissed - and have been for months about this topic. I can't begin to tell you how much I hate the divisive and contentious career v. volunteer crap!! I see this play out too many times as it tares good, well trained, dedicated departments to shreds. I'm tired of volunteers whining about their lack of respect, tired of career snobs with their sanctimonious snub of anyone not working a 24/72 shift, and tired of combination firefighters who do a little of both. Here's a revelation folks; THE FIRE SERVICE IS BIGGER THAN ANY OF US.

Fire doesn't care if you're career, volunteer, combination, white, black, latino, male, female... and guess what, the people who call 911 don't care either. They want you to make their bad day go away - period! Furthermore, a fire fought by a career department is no more or less dangerous than one fought by volunteers. The tactics may change, but the science of fire and the physical material it's consuming are the same.

Like it or not, we are ALL on the same Fire Service team, playing different roles that focus on a common goal - to protect those we swore to protect.

BROTHERHOOD is more than a t-shirt slogan or IAFF membership!

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Comment by Jeff Schwering on July 15, 2010 at 2:19pm
Paul, this is an ongoing battle in stations all over the country. While it is sad, frustrating, and down right enraging, at times, it truely is up to those of us, as Skip said, that have made and still do make the trip down the smokey, hot hallway, to teach and pass this tradition of Brotherhood to the new guys coming on the job today! Some will understand and get it, some won't, but, it is up to the true Brothers to Do The Right Thing!
Comment by Paul Combs on July 15, 2010 at 2:00pm
You're absolutely right, David. There are good and bad firefighters in every department, in every city, and I applaud those who "fight the good fight" and keep the spirit of Brotherhood alive.
Comment by David Doudy on July 15, 2010 at 1:13pm
Paul, In my travels around this great country I have the fortune of working with all types of departments, career, combination and volunteer.... One thing I have found, there are PROFESSIONAL firefighters in each type... these are the guys and gals who "get it".... It is always refreshing when I come across these true "Brothers and Sisters" no matter what department they are associated with.... ISO Slayer (David Doudy)
Comment by Paul Combs on July 15, 2010 at 10:27am
I'd like to say I've cooled off a bit since drawing this cartoon and posting my ravings - it usually works as constructive visual therapy. However, I think it just emboldened my anger and there will be more cartoons on the subject in the coming months.

Chief Coleman, you are absolutely right, those of us you have crawled down that dark, smokey, hot hallway together - GET IT! Aside from military and law enforcement, what other profession in the world can say that we live, bleed, and sweat together as ONE FAMILY? Many professions claim this - we live it!
Comment by Skip Coleman on July 14, 2010 at 5:30pm
Couldn't agree more. Those of us that have actually crawled down a hallway understand. Those that "talk a good fire" are are generally the ones being divisive. As our brother Rick Lasky says "Ego's eat brains".
Comment by John K. Murphy on July 14, 2010 at 4:39pm
Amen - it's time to remove the barriers with this issue as we are all hurt by the elitism shown by some, affecting us all. Small communities benefit when professional firefighters who live in that community join the volunteer or combination fire department. The standard of response and the safety of the firefighter and community is increased by the presence of a well trained firefighter be it career or volunteer.
Comment by Chuck Wehrli on July 14, 2010 at 10:08am
Excellent post Paul, your right on the money.
Comment by Paul Combs on July 14, 2010 at 9:40am
Thanks, Captain!
Comment by Jeff Schwering on July 14, 2010 at 9:33am
Well stated Paul! Brotherhood is earned not handed out to anyone walking in the doors regardless of combination, volunteer or paid dept.

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