Thursday, August 25, 2011

Safety Soapbox

I'm taking a firefighter survival course this weekend.

What. You didn't sense the burning passion, and bubbling enthusiasm in that statement? It's there, believe me . . . buried deep in the recesses of my firefighter soul. In fact, it's so deep that I'm having a hard time finding it myself. Don't worry, I'll get shovelling, and have it all dusted off and ready to go tomorrow morning. I might need a backhoe and dump truck, but I'll get 'er done.

Speaking of firefighter survival, here's a clip about wearing seatbelts.

Firefighters of all people should be  seatbelt believers, born again, baptized, and spreading the gospel. Unfortunately though, there are still plenty of atheists among our ranks. [Clearing my throat, and ascending my soapbox pulpit] If you won't wear it for yourself or your family, at least wear it for the others in the vehicle with you . . . who will suffer from your unbelief in the event of a crash because you will turn into a human ping pong ball, taking out everything in your path [unbuttoning my metaphoric clerical collar and stepping off my soapbox].

While I'm on the topic of dangerous stuff, here's a clip of a Los Angeles firefighter applying water to a car fire with explosive results.

In my humble opinion, it looks like the nozzle guy has done a few of these in his career. Since I've already squandered my monthly quota of meddlesomeness into others' business with two Toronto posts, I won't join the chorus of expert armchair quarterbacks that had numerous comments over at the FireRescue site where I first saw this video . . . except (sorry, can't help myself) to agree with the folks that wondered why the rest of the crew wasn't wearing SCBA. I also remember a Southern Ontario firefighter who ended his career in the exact same position as the two guys trying to open the hood.

Having made my share of mistakes, my intention is not to bash the good folk in either video. The bumper incident happened in 1999, and the firefighter, who broke his leg in 19 places, said he was unaware of the hazard. I'm pretty sure I was also unaware in 1999, or at least I didn't believe it was all that dangerous. If you've done any vehicle fire training since then, you've undoubtedly seen this clip, and while it's unfortunate to learn at the expense of a fellow firefighter,  it's criminal if we don't learn. I'm told that newer vehicles don't hold the same hazard, but the front or rear of a burning vehicle is never a good place to hang out. And smoke is always deadly.

Now I'm dipping into September's quota of meddlesomeness.

While we're on the topic of firefighter safety, Paul Combs combines a poke at Billy G with a true compliment to the influence the safety crusader has developed over the years. You can see the masterpiece here.

Firefighter safety is everyone's job, but responsibility especially lies squarely on the chief's shoulders. That's why I'm taking a firefighter survival course this weekend, even though my enthusiasm is buried deep in the recesses of my soul.

Gotta go find that backhoe.

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