Ladies and Gents, Brothers and Sisters, do yourself a favor and go read this very emotional and well written piece by an active ED RN. Although she is writing from that perspective and commenting on her co-workers this could easily be applied to so many of our co-workers in the Fire/EMS Service. Simply replace your mental image of a hospital Emergency Department with the scenes you have responded to and the co-workers you serve with while reading.
Ok, so this is my first attempt at anything like this. Some people have said I have something to say so I figured, “why not?” I am a full-time- Firefighter/Paramedic who lives in the Great Midwest, somewhere between the Canadian border (the South side), the Mason-Dixon line, and between Ohio and Kansas (the state, not the musical group.) I am a husband to an understanding, patient (most of the time) and Registered Nurse wife who works in a teaching hospital that is also a Level I Trauma Center. My wife chose her specific field because of a love of children, she works in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) where she sees the sickest of the sick and the injured-ist of the injured. The hospital is located in not such a nice neighborhood and receives patients not only from the immediate vicinity but also patients that are referred from many other small community hospitals and even from other bordering states. Together we have two young girls who both test us and bring us great joy. I like to say that God is revisiting my sins upon me by blessing me with two girls and giving them both a healthy dose of their father’s attitude. Oh, and by the way, I am also a Christian and not ashamed of it. So if that doesn’t sit well with you, I’m sorry but not regretful. There will be occasional references to God and maybe even <GASP> scripture on here.
So anyway, what is this really all about? Well, I am very proud of being a firefighter/paramedic. I truly believe that God (there I go again) put me on this Earth to perform those jobs. Am I the world’s best? No, absolutely not. This profession is one that has a way of slapping you down with a heavy pimp-hand if you get too big for your turn-outs. I do, however, think I have something to say and can maybe help give voice to some of my other colleagues who may feel the same, or even differently, about issues. It seems, however, that lately our ever litigious society has our Fire Chiefs very gun-shy about members who post opinions, commentary or ideas on the web. I’m not talking about the members like the idiot from Spalding County, Georgia who used his cell phone to take video of an accident scene in which a young woman was tragically killed and then the video wound up being shown to the woman’s father before he was properly notified. No, I’m not talking about that kind of absolute idiocy. I’m simply talking about the dissemination of information, ideas and opinions that any working stiff has about his or her job. Not defaming, not insidious, not attacking, just open discussion. Let me give you a personal example.
So I’m sitting in the Chief’s office for a friendly (ahem) little afternoon chat and he brings up a post I had made approximately two years ago on a major fire service website. The Chief was none too pleased with my post and decided to let me know about it, in a counseling sort of way mind-you. He proceeded to semi-quote me off the top of his head but he did it so inaccurately that I had to really search the deep recesses of my mind to figure out what he was talking about. When I finally did figure it out I gently tried to set him straight about the topic I was discussing in the post and what I actually had said. Well, of course, he’s still the Chief and he wanted his point made so he continued on and told me that even if that was the case, (paraphrasing) “can you see how dangerous putting things out there for anyone to see is? I thought you were a disgruntled firefighter (I wasn’t) who was bashing” that particular thing I was talking about. Hmmm, really. Then why didn’t you come ask me about it (my department is small enough to be able to do that) instead of waiting two years and then bringing it up in another completely different conversation? Here’s why:
Members or employees of the Department shall not publicly criticize or ridicule the Department (I wasn’t), its policies or members by talking, writing or expression in any manner where such talking, writing or expression is: 1) Defamatory; 2) Obscene; or 3) Otherwise unprotected by the First Amendment.
There’s also one about divulgence of Department business that is so exclusive that pretty much talking about anything to do with Fight Club would get your butt kicked in a court of The Chief. And there-in lies the problem. Anything that is put out there on the great information super highway could be construed any way any individual wants. It is my belief there is nothing wrong with open and frank discussion and sharing your opinions. Sometimes they may very well be bitter or emotional. So what? At least it shows passion and a desire to get involved.
So, that is where I’m coming from with this blog and also why there is such a need to be vague. I’ll let you in on tid-bits that are relevant and hopefully add to an understanding of where I come from but I can’t publicly identify myself or my organization for fear of discipline. I can’t promise how regular this will be updated or how technologically savvy it will be but I hope to put something out there that someone may enjoy and could maybe use someday.