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How many times have you seen it (or participated in it)? A tragedy happens where a firefighter gets injured or killed and the comments begin to fly about what went wrong - and how they would have done it differently, of course. Let’s take an incident that hit close to home for me. The Toledo Fire Department lost two brothers during an apartment fire this past January. Within a few hours of that tragedy, the internet exploded with accusations and ridicule based on a few published photos and incident descriptions. It was infuriating!

We’ve seen and heard this countless times, of course, and it’s not just social media at fault. Firehouse kitchen tables, political meetings, press conferences, and media speculation all rise to the low practice of ridicule.

We can’t control external sources, but we can control ourselves, and we are better than this! If you don’t know what happened, shut up! Seems like simple enough advice, right?

Nobody needs a Monday Morning Quarterback. If you weren’t playing in the game, don’t criticize those you were.

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Comment by Jerry McGhee on June 16, 2014 at 4:02pm

Well said Chief!

Comment by James Russo on March 22, 2014 at 5:17pm

I agree-overly criticizing and condemning our brother and sister firefighters when all the facts are not known is detrimental to the fire service. Doing so makes the fire service look unprofessional, damages reputations, and is disrespectful to the families and friends after a tragedy. I will add that honest conversations about what did go wrong at an incident, and lessons learned need to be discussed AFTER -and only after, all the facts are known. Even so, these conversations need to be done in a positive fashion. Identifying factors that contributed to the tragedy or near miss may prevent the tragedy from reoccurring. If the incident is not discussed, history will be doomed to repeat itself. Open discussions about the issues and (possibly) a review of procedures ensures that our brother and sister firefighters did not die in vain.

Comment by P.J. Norwood on March 21, 2014 at 5:39pm
I second that Chief!

Paul....... Absolutely perfect! The fire service needs more that listen learn and share facts not accuse or lay blame based on a snap shot in time photo or short video clip or even worse media reports!
Comment by Jarrod Sergi on March 21, 2014 at 5:18pm
Well said brother!
Comment by Bobby Halton on March 21, 2014 at 4:06pm

I vote this one my favorite Paul Combs of all time! 

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