Friday, January 21, 2011

OK Sisyphus, let's roll it up again

Occasionally you must return to a once difficult battle and re-wage that part of your campaign which you thought was won and complete.  Hence the Sisyphus reference.  Quite possibly it is not as futile a battle as that of Sisyphus but spending a department's time and funds twice is opportunity cost at its worst.

OK, so we do things a little different here than anywhere else.  We're a little different too.  What the heck it all works out in the end right?  Apparently not.

Every new guy, every guy that comes here from another station, tells us we're wrong and their way works better.  Why don't you do it this way?  This thing works better.  Why doesn't anyone answer my questions?  Well we were one upped this time.  The big cheese got a four page letter indicating everything that was being done is generally suspect and we are nothing but a bunch of lazy, uncaring, louts.  OK, so they got the uncaring part right.  We don't care about complainers.

We are a show piece for the county.  We know that, our fearless leader knows that, and the rest of the stations begrudgingly understand that too.  We get stuff because we make calls.  When a unit has to be replaced do you replace the ten year old one with 20K miles and hours or the five year old one with 90K miles and hours?  One that makes 300 calls or 1400?

We suck up on every call.  We are presentable.  We greet everyone we see.  We invite them all in to walk around.  We make a point to talk to the guys with the purse strings and mini sales pitch at every opportunity.

Station of the year, Firefighter of the year, EMS provider of the year, highest % billable, best PM program, least complaints?  Yeah, all here last year.

"The morale is low.  No one knows what is going on.  No one cares.  You better do something about this."  Or what?  You're going to cry?  You've been here a grand total of two seconds on the overall scale of things.  The service has been here 140 years.  Some of us over 25 years.  You know what's dragging down morale?  Your candy ass whining all the time.  SHUT UP!  Pay attention to what we do.  We've been doing it well since before any of us were here.  And I expect that it will be done equally as well even after we are all gone.

Become part of the structure here.  You are the new guy, possibly for years.  Get used to it.  Absorb what we have to offer.  What you take for granted other stations or departments would kill for.  Learn the nuances of the job before you try and change something that truly works, and no we don't do stuff here just because we have always done it that way.  Hell, a large minority of us are actually sought after instructors.  We see the good bad and ugly everywhere.  We learn, we adjust, we adapt.  Do the same.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Brothers, and then there are Brothers

A few days ago one of the truly great bloggers of the universe asked a question of his readers:  If a house is on fire and someone inside yells help, what do you do?  The follow up question was if you hear a gun shot in a house and then help what do you do.  I answered his question with a twist.  See what you think of our combined answer:

Now on to my family...staring me as the fire dweeb and my brother as the grizzled veteran cop.

Me:  Fire?  Help?  It's a two story ordinary construction single family dwelling with smoke showing from side D.   Life safety issues are paramount.  Engine and Truck are not on scene.  Seek ingress and perform primary search for victims.  Save damsel in distress.  Make attempt to put out fire while calling for help.  Receive, aw shucks medals and awards.  Remain loved by community.
Brother: Fire? Help? Shit! Where's my idiot brother?  Probably sleeping in his Lazy Boy chair.  Mame, can you come out here so I can talk to you?  Keep your hands where I can see them.

Brother: Bang! Help!  Unusual weapon discharge? That was the sound of a Sig Sauer 1911-45-SSS with an eight round magazine.  Probably hasn't been cleaned in a while. Young female inside a home at 1313 Mockingbird Lane sounding distressed while speaking in a loud voice "help?"    All while simultaneously reaching for his concealed weapon, making sure others are safe, getting in his low run stance, moving toward the house, and using his senses to obtain intell on the location of the shooter and the vic.  Ends stand off immediately and brings woman out to EMS for care.
Me: Bang! Help! Shit!  Where's my idiot brother?  I'll bet no one is taking pot shots at the donut shop.  Run toward house and hide in bushes.  See person with gun leaving.  Save damsel in distress.  Make attempt to call for help.  Receive, aw shucks medals and awards.  Remain loved by community.

Epilogue:  Brother receives a "paper" in his personnel file indicating that even though he used his concealed weapon in self defense he had not re-certified on it within 365 days and was therefore not authorized to carry it.  If it happens again he will get three days.  The call happened in a neighborhood watch area and the citizens are asking the mayor to convene a hearing on off duty police officers indiscriminately entering homes without reason.  Woman is now suing the city because she did not want to be saved.  However Brother's Sargent mentions that the shooter is wanted on ten different warrants in six states and has previously shot a cop.  Brother and entire shift go out after work for "stress reduction."

Well at least we both still have jobs.  We hope you do too, and any problems with the police side of the story chalk up to me because I tried to think like him!

Stay Safe.

Sometimes I crack myself up!