Wednesday, September 2, 2009

relatively dangerous

Everything is relative. Upsala has 17 firefighters on our roster, which should be enough for a small department in the boondocks on most days. However, I could have a hundred great people in the ranks, but if 97 of them are in Manitoba, or the Alberta oil sands, or at Ignace School, or vacationing in Timbuktu, I effectively have only three. Idealistically, I should try to bolster my numbers. Realistically, 17 is about as good as it gets.

Here’s where the relative part comes in. My 17 firefighters make up 8.5% of Upsala’s 200 residents. A community of 5000 would need 425 firefighters to match Upsala’s rate. Toronto would need almost 400,000. I’m not sure how many firefighters those cheapskates actually hire, but I’m quite certain it’s considerably less than that. Relatively speaking, we’re doing fine . . . except that fire doesn’t think relatively. A burning house in Upsala looks pretty much the same as a burning house in Toronto. So much for Beebewitz Einstein’s Theory of Relatively Speaking.

Fortunately, we have fewer fires than Toronto, so fewer opportunities to show how few firefighters we actually have available on most days. When all is said and done, we put the fire out in the end, the same as the Torontonians. Sort of. Okay I admit it . . . they save more houses than we do, but hey, they get more practice.

Things aren’t as bad as they could be though. At least we don’t have lunatics taking potshots at us. Check out this story.

Apparently even boondocks firefighters aren't exempt from wacko behaviour. Have a look at this.

Someone needs to offer a workshop on firearms etiquette. First lesson? You’re only supposed to shoot at people who can return the favour by shooting back.


  1. We're a small department in the "boonbocks" of BC as well, and we're lucky enough to have 23 members, including a number of young guys, which is great to see.

    Of course, any kind of call at noon on Wednesday means that there won't be very many guys showing up. You could have 100 guys on roster, but if there are 3 at the hall, you've got... 3. Makes cross-training on all the disciplines even more critical really. Toronto has drivers, attack teams, officers, all scheduled on shift, and replaced if they can't show. Must be nice to have some certainty, eh?

  2. You hit it right on the head. I have a friend from Toronto fire department . . . we tease him that they don't even need water, they have enough firefighters to stomp it out with their boots . . .


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