Saturday, February 19, 2011


There is an old saying that new recruits are given a full bag of luck and an empty bag of experience. Their mission is to fill the bag of experience before the bag of luck runs out. Relying on luck is never a good idea, whether you're as green as a spruce sapling or as seasoned as an old shoe. It's a neat saying though, and while I hate to admit it, we have had our share of fortuitous breaks.

Like the time we were paged to a tractor trailer fire containing corrosives, flammable liquids, and radioactive material. Ugh. Those are the kinds of fires you fight with binoculars. In our infinite firefighting wisdom though, we took another agency's opinion which said it was safe to fight the fire. We found later that the radioactive material's protective shield had been damaged in the fire (it wasn't supposed to do that) and that we had all been exposed to small amounts of gamma radiation. We had worn full PPE including SCBA (which doesn't protect against gamma) and kept our distance (which does), but it was only because the quantity of radioactive material was small that we were not harmed. Put simply, we managed the incident safely through a combination of good policy, training, and luck.

That happened over ten years ago. To see a more recent example of a firefighter escaping injury at least partly through luck, click here.

On a semi related topic, click here to read an article I wrote about being qualified, and click here to see a cartoon I drew to accompany it.

On a completely different topic (we bloggers are allowed to switch topics with the wind if we want), I thought I'd do some research to see if MP Rafferty's motion was igniting our country in a blaze of passion for volunteer firefighters. You know . . . MP's vowing to offer their firstborn if it didn't pass, and Egyptian style demonstrations in the streets of Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver because the motion was still lost in the red tape of first reading. I typed in M-635 and was pleasantly surprised to get 227 million hits . . . except that they were all about BMW's, Polaroids, and laptops, and nothing about Egyptian style demonstrations.

I narrowed the search to weed out all that trivial commercialized riffraff, and got a handful of hits. The same ones I got last week. There was one small bonus: my blog was at the top of the list. Except that I only have 12 followers, so I don't think it qualifies as "igniting our country in a blaze of passion." But there is still time. The motion will stay safely in the limbo of first reading until another one of our 308 MP's moves it forward, or until the next election.

If you want to see what a motion looks like when it's buried in the limbo of first reading, click here. That was only one day of motions and bills and other business, and every day more stuff gets piled on top. M-635 could definitely use a little luck right now.

Or . . . you could take the bull by the horns and write your MP to support the motion. That is the only way that anyone will give even a passing glance at M-635. Just click the link on the right side and follow the instructions. I tested it out, and it took three minutes from start to finish. That included finding my MP with the handy MP Finder Thingy, cutting and pasting the letter into an email, typing in the names, and sending it. No pressure or anything, but if you don't send the letter, you might have bad luck for seven years and your rich uncle will never keel over and leave you his fortune.

It's funny. That threat sounds just as lame as it did the first time I used it.

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