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Cobwebs, Cowards and Cowboys

“If you never saddled up and entered the arena, your opinion about cowboys lacks matter and merit.” I said that.

I had the privilege recently to hear all of the details of what I consider to be a difficult grab. It was shared first-hand with me because I am interested. As I listened to the story, I could feel the heat and I was able to anticipate words like “my training kicked in” and “team effort.” The conversation was most enjoyable and I was left with overwhelming sense of pride in a job well done.

It is my hope that cobwebs and cowards will stop insulting and degrading the legendary American Cowboy, by applying the name Cowboy to those who understand our purpose, our noble mission and who willingly enter what is sometimes a dangerous arena and succeed in carrying out the oath that all of us took.

Bringing street smart, aggressive firefighting and your badass to work with you, every time, is what distinguishes those who make tough grabs from those who talk crap about them.

Give me crews who understand the importance of the first five minutes on the fire ground and the fact that ninety percent of the problems go away when the fire is put out and that viable and tenable are not just words to people who are literally dying to meet you.

I chose the noble profession of Firefighting and I hope somehow I did it well. I was never quick with a Sharpie to write off the life of another human being because I was a cobweb or a coward.

Thanks for reading, caring and sharing.

Have a great day – it’s a Great day for it.

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Comment by Mark J. Cotter on July 4, 2017 at 12:33pm


We all need to hear the details of the grab that inspired your post, without names if necessary, so that we can learn how these events fit into our new understanding of the fire environment.  I have found your posts to be consistently insightful and inspiring, but I also put a lot of weight on the meaning of words.  "Viable" and "tenable" have real meaning to anyone affected by, or fighting, a fire, being critical factors that must be considered before interior entry is ordered, while "coward" and "cobweb" can be as harmful, inaccurate, and vague as the various uses of "cowboy".  The circumstances of this rescue will be educational to all of us, even if they illustrate an exception to the "new rules".  Thanks for all you've contributed to this forum.

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