From time to time I get asked if I ever worry about inuring my hand or eyes fighting fires. My answer is always a swift and confident "no"! My explanation sometimes leaves people puzzled, but I try and explain that if I think about injury, injury will most certainly happen. It's much like an athlete who throws their body into stressful situations with little regard for harm. Quite simply, if they think too much about injury they will be apprehensive, guarded, and tense - a recipe for injury!
In comparison, has the fire service become so risk-averse that we are actually getting firefighters hurt? The pendulum of any action has a tendency to swing too far from the intended mark of perfection to cautious apprehension. What's more, so much effort and training is focus on safety, RIT, and self-rescue that I fear we've neglected the basics of our craft. There is NO substitute for knowing fire behavior, building construction, and hydraulics. Train on how to put the fire out correctly and safety will follow.
Do not misinterpret this post as a recommendation to practice unsafe behaviors, or neglecting the disciplines of RIT or self-survival techniques, but take it as a warning that any good intention can create a dangerous environment. Firefighting is inherently dangerous work where firefighters will always be injured and, yes, killed - no matter how safe we try to make it. But like the athlete, if we become too guarded about our actions we may cause more harm than good.
We can not fight fires and save lives cocooned in bubble wrap!