Where has this year gone? Here we are, less than 48 hours before Thanksgiving. I still remember watching the ball go down to kick off the New Year! How does the time pass so quickly?
I guess we could ask a physicist or an astrophysicist and he/she could quote Einstein and others to explain how time works. Actually, Einstein would probably say that time, in and of itself, doesn't exist. He believed that space and time are part of the same fabric of the universe. thus the action of one is directly connected to the other. Oy! I'm getting dizzy just writing about it. Nevertheless, I feel that as I've grown older, time truly does seem to pass more quickly.
What all this boils down to is that, as the Thanksgiving holiday approaches here in the U.S. and for our brave men and women serving around the world, and for other American who have chosen to work and/or live in other parts of the world, I want to say, "Thank You," to all of you who have become listeners to "5-Alarm Task Force!" I have been amazed at all the numbers I see and how many of you come from lands far away.
There are several "gabillion" podcasts to choose from every moment of every day. Yet, many of you have chose this podcast to listen to. Perhaps you're a firefighter, a fire buff or an interested civilian. You tune in to listen to my guests. It is my sincere hope that I bring you guests and discussions that are interesting to you and perhaps, that teach you or guide you, as well.
So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for listening. Stay Safe & Stay Well!
Some of you may know me, Steve Greene, solely as the creator and host of “5-Alarm Task Force,” and that I was a volunteer firefighter EMT for two years, before being sidelined by an injury. However, long before I started the podcast or even joined Twitter, myself, along with three terrific friends/business partners, created our company, Dalmatian Productions, Inc.
This was back in 1999. Reality television was in its infancy with shows such as “On Scene: Emergency Response,” “COPS,” “Real Stories of the Highway Patrol,” and a few others. My best friend (whom I had met at the small, combination fire department in the Greensboro NC area back in 1977) and I started thinking that there should be a reality show that focused on the fire-rescue services and set to work planning it out.
Initially, our focus was to be on the volunteer side, as not only had we serviced together in the NC department, he came from Washington DC and had spent some time ride with Bethesda Chevy-Chase Rescue as a volunteer. First things first, though – we had to come up with a name that spoke volumes about the fire service. You can be sure there was a lot of discussion on that. However, we both finally agreed on Dalmatian Productions, Inc.
In short order, we hatched a name for our idea: “America’s Heroes: The Volunteers of Fire-Rescue.” I ran a letter in FIREHOUSE® Magazine, asking for departments who might like to be featured, to contact us, not holding out much hope. Wow were we wrong! We received letters and packages that looked like they were assembled by the local Chamber of Commerce. We received department descriptions, call sheets, t-shirts, caps, bumper stickers and more!
There was a second benefit to the letter posted in FIREHOUSE® Magazine, as well. After I left NC, we moved up to the Onondaga County/Syracuse NY area, where I joined another combination department. As it turned out, a member of that department who was also the County Fire Coordinator saw the letter. He reached out to another gentleman who had been a deputy chief in the village next to ours and who had also relocated to South Florida. Better yet, he was a television news cinematographer! He reached out to us and after a meeting to get to know each other, he came on board to handle our video and editing. Or so we thought. Turns out he was working for one of the TV stations here in the Miami/Ft. Lauderdale area and he was going to be too busy to be able to work with us. To make a long story short, when the flood of letters were coming in, we had received one from a firefighter/PIO in Delaware who owned his own production company, worked for a news station in Philadelphia and was as deep into the culture of the volunteer fire-rescue service as we were. We had our cinematographer!
Over the next couple of years, we produced several different pilot episodes and, wound up broadening the name of the show to, “America’s Heroes: The Men & Women of Fire Rescue®.” You can still see that pilot episode of YouTube at http://bit.ly/AmericasHeroes. Things were looking good. We had a new partner who was based in Los Angeles and worked on both sides of the camera in television, a distributor and several other shows in talking stages with FDNY, Israel television and even a children’s segment on fire safety for October’s Fire Prevention week for the then-Rosie O’Donnell Show”……by the end of summer, 2001.
We ceased our efforts in light of the terrible loss that those of us in the fire service and all of America suffered on 9|11. It was the right thing to do.
Yet, at the same time, it helped us rededicate ourselves to our ultimate goal – to deliver a high-quality and very realistic and lifelike television or streaming program about the brave men and women of the fire-rescue service. Thus, in the middle of the twenty-first century’s first decade, I came up with a concept regarding the unique make-up of the Philadelphia Fire Department’s Fire Marshal’s Office. Not only did they have their own investigators, they also had a Philadelphia Police Department detective assign to their unit, as well as an agent from the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) along with his accelerant-detecting dog! This could make a great story. But it had to be told correctly, scripts that told the real stories of what firefighters face today, i.e. cancer, marital problems, drug problems, the dangers of the job, etc. This would be a show for and about firefighters, written by firefighters!
I wrote up what is referred to as a “treatment” which is a synopsis of the story or plot line and shared it with my partners. Everyone liked it and immediately jumped in to tweak this or improve that. When it was finished, we handed it over to our LA-based partner and hoped for the best. And so, “CAUSE & ORIGIN” was born.
However, mid-2014, the only people who liked the treatment were close friends and a few folks in the fire service that we shared it with. They all asked for more. Unfortunately, none of them worked for a network or production company. I had worked very hard on this and was deeply disappointed and was ready to throw it away. That is, until a close friend who is a former student of my wife and graduated Cal State-Fullerton with a degree in screenwriting. She explained that there was more power in a full script than in just a one-page treatment. I passed this on to my partners and even our guy in LA had to agree. So, we decided to write a script for the pilot episode.
Our friend pointed me in the right direction for the screenwriting software and guided me in crafting the script for the pilot episode. I’d would share sets if several pages with my partners and added their feedback. By the summer of 2015, we had a full script for the pilot episode of C&O. And we started to share that with our small list. But this time, it grew some “feet.” One of the friends we shared it with was a friend with the then, Commissioner of Fire of the Philadelphia Fire Department and shared the script with him. He liked it. That was a good sign.
At the time, one of our daughters lived and worked in Philadelphia and we planned to drive up there as part of our summer vacation. Before we left. I received a phone call from the director of the Philadelphia Film Office. It seems the Commissioner brought up our script and desire to work with the Philadelphia Fire Department with her. With a trip already planned to see our daughter, I made an appointment and asked my partner in Delaware to join me.
Our meeting went very well. Both the Film Office and the fire department were interested in the project and explained the processes that we would work through together, if and when, we had a production deal.
Since that time, we have done as much as possible to present the concept to as many people as possible, in the industry. During that time, a new Fire Commissioner was appointed. And, thanks to social media, we got the script in front of him and a Deputy. Both responded that they liked the premise and, should a production deal be set, would be interested in working with us.
Now, it’s 2018 and nothing has changed. Again, thanks to social media, we have continued to share the script with dozens of folks in the fire service. All of them have loved the script and the show’s concept and some are reaching out to their contacts in an effort to help us. To get an idea of the show, visit this page on our website, https://www.dalmatianproductions.tv/development.html.
Now, we are asking you for your assistance. If you want to see a program that depicts the passion of real firefighters without the Hollywood “fluff;” a show that tells our story because we have lived it ourselves, then we’re asking you to help. If you have any relatives or friends who are in the television or streaming services business, please tell them about us and “CAUSE & ORIGIN.” We’ll be happy to provide them copies of both the treatment and script.
You can share my email, steve-at-dalmatianproductions.tv with them or on Twitter, we’re at @CAUSE_ORIGIN.
Let’s all play a part in creating a show about firefighters, for firefighters, by firefighters.
Thank you and as always, STAY SAFE!
It's been a very busy month here at Dalmatian Productions/5-Alarm Task Force. We ran our first crowdfunding campaign at the end of August and I must admit, that I was truly surprised by the amount of time and effort it took to manage all the social media work for this campaign. I was regularly putting in 5-6 hours every day to keep up with all the posts, questions, etc.
Just as the campaign was closing, I launched the third season of "5-Alarm Task Force." For that, I wish I could have been an octopus! I had interviews booked almost every Tuesday and Thursday. Then there was the editing of each show to have it posted three days later! Thankfully, I have had some wonderful guests who just seemed to make the task easier. And there are still more to come.
As I am writing this, word just just trickled down the Chief Tim Sendelbach, Editor-in-Chief of FIREHOUSE Magazine, and a past guest on the podcast, will be stepping down from his position on September 25, 2018. As a long-time subscriber and reader of FIREHOUSE, I can tell you that Chief Sendelbach has done an excellent job in leading FIREHOUSE in this digital age. From the magazine to the website, plus the two major conferences, FIREHOUSE Expo, which takes place next month in Nashville, plus FIREHOUSE World, next February, which is moving from San Diego to Los Angeles next year, he balanced each one with a keen eye and a style that kept us, the readers, the attendees, the exhibitors, etc., anxious to work with him. I wish Chief Sendelbach the very best in whatever his next endeavor will be and hope that whatever it may be, will benefit greatly from his association.
The month of October is just around the bend and we have more guests already scheduled for you, as well as the fact that from October 24th-27th is the Great Florida Fire School. I have been invited back again this year, not only to grab some great photos, videos and interviews, but I have also been invited to be a presenter for a class at the School. My topic is, "The Elephant in the Firehouse - When Ego Gets in the Way of Passion."
And please don't forget, I have opened a "5-Alarm Task Force" storefront with our friends from Teespring. Just go to Bit.Ly/DalmatStore and choose one of our 4 t-shirts or one of our 2 coffee/tea/hot chocolate mugs! And the best part is that part of the net proceeds are bring donated to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, which is what I have done with the royalties on my book, "Fish Out of Water: 2 Jewish Guys in a Deep South Firehouse."
I'd would love to hear from you with your comments and/or suggestions. Feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay Safe & Stay Well!
I have learned that the number of facets the job of podcasting has, is far more than I had thought. Take for instance the recent crowdfunding effort that completed last week. To keep this effort moving forward, I spent four-to-five hours on social media everyday. I would jump between Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, PLUS sending out additional emails to my personal contacts. To be absolutely honest, the campaign results were no where near the goal I had set; barely fourteen percent of the goal was attained. However, I am sincerely grateful to those who did help and extend my heartfelt appreciation to them. Moreover, I will use those funds towards the goals I had set forth in the campaign mission statement, which will allow me to improve my abilities as a podcaster and my service to my listeners.
I would also like to tell you that my dear friend and business partner, Tom Mitten has launched his own podcast, "Fire-Rescue-EMS-Today." Tom's podcast is usually published once a month and it can also be found on iTunes, Good Play and Spotify.
One of those goals was to develop a line of promotional items linked to "5-Alarm Task Force," like t-shirts, hats, hoodies, etc. We are already busy on designing the first t-shirts and when they become available, you will be able to see and order them very easily. So, keep checking here on our website or check your copy of our newsletter for details.
I am writing this entry less than forty-eight hours after a tragic fire in Chicago that took the lives of eight people, six of whom were children and injured one of our Chicago comrades with non-life threatening injuries. Early reports indicate that there were no smoke detectors in this home!
While those of us connected with the fire service realize that yes, even in this day and time, there are still homes in this country without smoke detectors, it is extremely difficult to comprehend the "why" of this problem. In most communities, fire departments are able to provide the latest, 10-year smoke detectors at no charge and, will install them for free, if asked! Thousands of smoke detectors find their way into homes this way every month and the firefighters and officials are only too happy to provide this service! Why? Because it is possible that a smoke detector may help to avoid this type of tragedy.
We are over a month away from October, which is traditionally labeled, "Fire Prevention Month." What's important for all of us to realize is that we cannot and should not "box up" our fire prevention efforts into the month of October and tie it with a pretty bow. It is imperative that we see fire prevention as our primary task, 24/7/365!
While it is true that the number of fires is down, the fires that we do face are fiercer than they have ever been before. Where we used to have 7-10 minutes before a fire truly flamed up to the point where firefighters were needed, today, that time is down to 3-4 minutes! That means that residents barely have time to get out if an active fire is there only warning!
More importantly, smoke detectors are just one tool that we must always stress and have available for our citizens. Proper and ongoing education is the best tool we have. We must continue to teach E.D.I.T.H.'s lessons and drills, "Close the Door," is another, as well as a clear evacuation plan that every member of the family knows and the family should practice once every quarter.
We must do whatever we can to assist our citizens to avoid being "tested," before they have a chance to "learn the lesson." Sure, both budgets and scheduling is tight, but is that the excuse we provide to someone who just lost loved ones in a fire? We must face the reality that fire prevention education is second only to firefighting itself. When we do, we will start to break the hold that the lack of knowledge has on those we tragically lose.
It's hard to believe that in just a couple of weeks, I will begin the third season of "5-Alarm Task Force: News & Issues for Today's First Responders." When I started the podcast back in 2016, though I had a good deal of experience in radio, audio and visual, I barely knew what a "podcast" was. It all came about after some friendly (at least I think it was friendly) cajoling my several "friends" I had met via Twitter. About 99% of us current or former firefighters and initially, we did what any small group of firefighters do, we talked about our biggest "jobs," rescues, officers who don't understand us, chiefs who don't care, etc.
However, it didn't take long, once we got to know each other, that we all shared serious concerns about the job we love to do. Basically, we morphed from big-mouth braggarts to concerned firefighters. At this stage, we began discussing important issues, such as tactics, leadership, the incoming generation, cancer in the fire service and so much more.
It was important to me to stress to my colleagues that I was not quite a seasoned as they were; I had only put in eight years as a volunteer firefighter/EMT before a serious knee injury forced me off the line. However, my vocation had me working as both an educational director or executive director of non-profit organizations, which meant that 99% of the people I dealt with were members of the organization who were volunteering their time to serve as leaders in one capacity or another. Thus, a great deal of what I had learned regarding leadership training came from that environment. That turned out to be part of the platform that started my social media "buddies" to begin educating me about podcasts.
Thanks to their efforts and a lot of my own research as to what made a "good" podcast, as well as my research into the technical side (what I refer to as the "fun stuff") I decided to give it a go. And to start, I pushed back against those who had been the most vociferous of voices and told them that they would have to be my first guests. They agreed. Those first two included my now good friend, Capt. Joe DeVito of the Ft. Myers Beach Fire Protection District and a good friend of his, Grant Schwalbe. (Who I will finally get to meet in October at the 2018 Great Florida Fire School!)
I only had the most basic of equipment, so much so that I had to use an open mic to pick up the audio from my cellphone's speaker as I interviewed those two guests. And of course, my dog barked, the cat meowed and the delivery guy showed up, ringing the door bell several times. Nevertheless, I did some more research and finally created the best set-up I could. And that was over 60 episodes ago.
On August 14th, I will conduct my first interview for the third season of "5-Alarm Task Force," and they continue from there throughout the Fall. Similar to an article I wrote about leadership that was published on FIREHOUSE.com, those first episodes were the seeds that I planted to create this podcast. Over the subsequent two years, I have done my best to nurture and help my podcast grow into one that any member of the fire service would not only be interested in listening to, but who would also walk away with some level of new knowledge.
If you would like to help me nurture and "grow" the mission of "5-Alarm Task Force." please visit igg.me/at/5-AlarmTFPodcast Thank you!
If you're a first responder, you well aware of the fact that what we do is very often not easy, not in the least bit. And some of the things we see....well, we hope and pray that no one else has to see that. I joined the fire service in 1977 and wow...could I have used some...OK, many of what you have today.
Let's start with a radio for every member on the apparatus. Back when I responded on my T-Rex with a red flashlight tied to his head, there were two radios on the apparatus; the one bolted under the dash and one for the officer. That was it!
How about gloves and hoods? Sure, we had latex gloves, but there were only worn on a retrieval, never on-scene where someone might see us! And hoods? The only hood I had was on my parka when I lived in Syracuse NY and the winter temps dropped to -20 degrees!
And what about the SCBA? Sure, we had SCBA units. The tanks were made of steel and a complete harness, including the regulator, weighed in at about 40 pounds and if you were lucky didn't exert yourself, you might get a good 20 minutes of air before your bells rattled and you had to go change your bottle. Today, the job seems a lot easier or at least, you have more access to great tools to help you do this job we love to do!
In my "professional" life, I worked with non-profit religious organizations. And sometimes, I would think that working the most difficult fire or rescue was easier than what I did when I wore a suit and tie. The most difficult part? Asking for money. For even though everyone who participated in the institution knew that there were times where you would have to be the one who did ask or the one who was asked.
Well, my friends, I am in a very similar "boat" right now. As you may be aware, today I launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise $2,500 for "5-Alarm Task Force." I did a great deal of both soul-searching and research before finally devising my program through a website called Indiegoogo.com. They have been doing this for a good number of years, assisting in raising small amounts like mine for "artistic" efforts like a podcast, to raising $10 Million for a start-up product company. And, as I just mentioned to my wife, there are lots of "help" articles that revolve around a "team effort" to orchestrate the campaign, but I wasn't able to find too much when you are doing so, all by yourself!
Nevertheless, I did not want to have to do this. And if I keep things just the way they have been going for the past, almost two years, I can probably manage to continue without too much of a problem. But I don't want to do that! You see, I believe it's time to expand the mission of "5-Alarm Task Force!"
I want to be able to travel to FDIC or a FIREHOUSE conference and grab interviews there or even broadcast a podcast live, from the venue! To do so though, incurs travel and registration costs. To do so, required the type of camera that I do not currently own.
Additionally, with listeners around the world, it's time we had some "swag" available on our website, where you can show your support for the podcast and wear it proudly.
Finally, it will help defray the costs I've put into the equipment, broadband and hosting since we started this little adventure, back in 2016.
Thus, as much as I truly do not like to do this, I'm asking you for your help. Large or small, it will go to help me to what I love doing, for the people I love doing it for. And even if you're unable to donate funds, how about helping by spreading the word across the worlds of social media?
To visit our campaign page, please head over to https://igg.me/at/5-AlarmTFPodcast.
Thank you and God bless.
Though we have just closed our second season, we are working hard towards having a very successful third season. As I write this entry, I am hoping that you have cast your ballots in The Podcast Awards for "5-Alarm Task Force," as we enter the fray for the first time. I thank you very much for your vote.
While I have been fortunate to have had some of the biggest names in today's fire and EMS services join me as guests, I still have the "hunger" to bring you more, more guests, more coverage and of course, more information that will help you perform this job we love to do. I am happy to say that I have already booked two new guests, who will bring you amazing personal stories about their connection and/or work, with the fire service.
Back in 2016, I had heard of podcasts, yet had never listened to one! The funny thing is, way back in 2001, I was asked to join a live, radio show about the fire service entitled, "Burning Issues," hosted by a gentleman who was a firefighter/medic and PIO for a nearby fire department. As I said, he broadcast a live radio show, every Sunday evening, from the studios of a local AM radio station. The signal was sent to the Internet by a Real server (let's see how many of your remember all the software from Real Audio), that has hosted by a fire apparatus manufacturer. That was all before Apple has re-invented the word, "pod!"
Now, after sharing a lot of tweets with firefighters on Twitter, a group of them started to "gang up on me" to start a podcast. By now, they new my long experience in audio-visual and felt that I'd be a natural. After several months of "teasing" and "bullying," I finally caved and "5-Alarm Task Force," was born.
I hasn't been easy, but I have loved every minute of what I've done and I wouldn't change a thing....except to bring you even more great program content. And how about having some "5-Alarm" swag for you to enjoy, like T-shirts, hoodies, caps and more? I truly want to bring you all of that. And it is for those reasons (and more) that I have decided to launch a crowdfunding campaign.
"Oh, oh," you're probably thinking. "He's asking me for money here!"
Nope, I'm not. SURPRISE!
I simply what to tell you about the campaign because it is not just for my listeners, it's for anyone who wants to help me help the fire service! The campaign will be hosted on a great crowdfunding site, Indiegogo.com. They know this business inside and out. They know it so well, that they have an entire area set aside just for podcasts!
I have not launched the campaign yet. What I do have is my "practice" page and I want to let you take a look at it and tell me what you think. Just go to www.indiegogo.com/project/coming_soon/preview/f50433f3 that's it. All the videos work, as do the photos! You can see now what others will see when we launch the campaign.
Now, if you like what you see and you may be interested in seeing the real campaign when it goes live, just enter your email in the magic box. Then, when we launch the campaign in the next week-to-10-days, you'll know about it right away.
Finally, it is certainly understood that in this tight economy, many people who would like to help are unable to help - - - financially. But that doesn't mean you can't help me at all! Because you can tell your friends about the campaign and they can tell their friends and so on. Not only that, but Indiegogo actually has programs to help campaign followers spread the word.
Remember, every single time you listen to an episode of "5-alarm Task Force," you are helping me! Every time you rate our podcast, you are helping me. Every time to tell a friend about the podcast, you are helping me. And I sit at this desk, typing this entry, humbled and honored that you are interested and like my podcast. I thank each of you, from the bottom of my heart.
Surprised to hear that there's an award show for podcasts? Why not! There's one for almost everything else. However, in this case, you can have a voice, or vote....or well, you know what I mean!
Beginning this Sunday, July 1st and ending on July 31st, listeners can nominate their favorite podcasts. "5-Alarm Task Force" is already registered under the "Government & Organizations" category. You will need to register and than nominate us in our category.
We hope that you will take a few moments and nominate our podcast. I do this podcast for you, our listeners, where you're in the fire service, EMS or law enforcement, or you're a "buff," someone who enjoys listening and learning about the fire service and first responders.
You will find all the rules for the contest at http://www.podcastawards.com/rules. And thank you for listening and your support!
Our podcast with Asst. Chief John Luca of the Boca Raton Fire Department will close off our second season of "5-Alarm Task Force," and take a few weeks off to share some quality time with my wonderful and very patient wife, who is also on her summer break as a teacher. Fear not, brave listeners, for we will return in mid-to-late August with more episodes and with both new and returning guests!
Since we owned our first home up in Syracuse NY in 1981, we have enjoyed planting a vegetable garden. And living in South Florida for more than the past 25 years, we don't need to wait until summer, but it is when we have the most time to attend to the task of being good gardeners.
Over the last few months, I have attempted to plant another seed and tend to it and hope for the "fruit" it will bear. That is our special page on the Patreon website. (http://www.patreon.com/Dalmatprod). Patreon allows creative artists of all types, from paints to singers, from rock bands to poets and yes, even podcasters, to post their works or information about their works, and where those who appreciate the works the artists create, can support them financially with contributions.
Some artists have specials episodes or creations that only share with financial supporters. Some create special releases that only the donors can access, while leaving most of their creations available to all. And then there are those, like me, who keep all their creations available at no cost whatsoever and hope that loyal supporters like you, will help with either a one-time or occasional donation and offer a special gift or “perk” to those who meet a certain level of donation.
First, I promise you that I will always keep “5-Alarm Task Force” free to anyone and everyone who wishes to listen to it. With all the streaming services that carry us now, it would be quite difficult to require a “pay-for-play” arrangement, anyway.
Second, for me to be able to both continue bringing you great episodes of “5-Alarm Task Force” and expanding what we can do to bring you even better podcasts, I do need your help. I love what I do and wish I was able to shoulder all the costs that it will take to keep producing new and better shows for you; but I cannot.
Third, you may donate any sum that you are comfortable with. If you can only donate $1.00 or $5.00, that will help us. Lots of small donations grow to be big donations. Currently, the only “perk” I can promise to everyone who makes a contribution, is a big, on-air, “Thank You.” However, if you’re capable of making a minimum donation of $100.00, I will feature you as a guest on an episode of “5-Alarm Task Force.” And you know what? One of my budgeted items in raising this money is to have some “5-Alarm Task Force” memorabilia created, e.g. t-shirts, mugs, hats and more!
I hope you will help me to continue to help the brave men and women of the fire service. I promise I with continue to my efforts to bring the best least, instructors, mentors and more, to be my guests and to focus on firefighter health, wellness and fitness-for-duty, as well as the Cancer Initiative and the Behavioral Health Crisis.
Again, just go to http://www.patreon.com/Dalmatprod to contribute.
Thank you so very much for helping me make “5-Alarm Task Force” a success with listeners on six of the 7 continents.
This week's IAFC, IAFC-SHS and NVFC "Safety Stand Down," is one of the most important activities you can participate in, not only as an active career, volunteer or P-O-C firefighter, but as a retired one, as well. Why? Because a good number of the numerous health hazards we are currently facing, have been around for quite a while; many from long before we knew the dangers that they held.
While it is true that new combinations of certain chemicals are being used today in everything from pots and pans to building materials, everything that burns has always created dangerous materials that we could either breathe in when off-air or absorb, when we strip off the bunker gear to perform overhaul.
OK, I'm a "dinosaur," and damn proud to say it. And as many of you know, I love the fire service, even though I was forced out due to an injury over 35 years ago. But that doesn't mean that I didn't suck down or absorbed plenty of crap during my eight years of firefighting. And what about my family? What did "Daddy bring home" to the wife and kids? My wife is a two time cancer survivor and I thank the good Lord every day for that. But I also wonder, was it my fault?
If you're a retiree or off the job for another reason, ask yourself this question, "Did your physician ever examine you knowing you were a firefighter?" If the answer is either, "Nope," or "I can't remember," then this week is the perfect opportunity for you to get examine the right way for a firefighter!
Under the ABOUT tab on this website, you'll see a page labeled, "Links for You." There you can download either the IAFF's Individualized Health Risk Appraisal Form or the NVFC's "Position on Firefighter Assessments." Download it, print it and take it with you at your next scheduled physical. Don't have one scheduled? Then call the office and make an appointment.
Almost every one of the 1.2 million firefighters in this country is aware of the tolls that cancer, obesity and cardiovascular disease is taking on the fire service. Just read any of our terrific trade journals each month and you'll see that somewhere between 50%-60% of LODD's are attributable to most likely preventable health issues.
And while you're at it, even if you're in great physical and fit-for-duty condition, how are you doing emotionally? Are the job, the hours, the lack of sleep, horrific scenes or finances driving you to not be the real you? If so, this week is also a great time for you to reach out for behavioral health care. There are lots of folks who stand ready to either welcome you in or accept your call, to help you through any emotional turbulence you're going through.
We don't want to see you become a statistic. Last year, we lost more firefighters to suicide than to all the other causes of LODD's, combined! We can't and won't tolerate those numbers any longer. From your department to your church/synagogue, from your physician to behavioral health professionals, there are people to talk with and they're ready to help.
While this week's theme is "Safety Stand Down," let's all stand up to facing the fact that this job that we love and hold so dear, does take a toll on us. Let's stand up and learn how we're really doing, where we need improvement and so often, how simple that improvement can be.
Stay Safe Out There!
Steve Greene is the president of Dalmatian Productions, Inc. and the Creator/Host of the "5-Alarm Task Force" podcast.