Thoughts from An Older Firefighter

   In the July issue of the SD Firefighters newspaper, Rod Veldhuzien talked about leadership, PTSD, CISD, and other so important aspects of the effects of being a First Responder. (See Rod, I do read your monthly article.) Last month I rambled on about traditions and how we have them in the fire service. It seems that in today’s world the norm is to look at how we did something 20 or 30 years ago and then criticize it to death. How it was all wrong. We would never think of doing that today. On and on. 

   In the August SD Firefighters newspaper, Carmen Kast talked about cooling down a firefighter on hot days without using an ice-cold water. (See Carmen, I do read your articles, however I will still eat ICE COLD watermelon.) I remember in high school football on hot days the coach would make us take a salt tablet. Now days the smart people would jump up and down in disgust. However, more than 50 years ago that was the norm. Doesn’t mean it was wrong, just what seemed best at the time. 

   Here's my belief. On the fire ground or fire service there has never been a bad decision made, based on the information at the time. Now that may have made someone say, I’ll throw the RED flag on that. Rod talked about CISD and how the thought today is that the old format of everyone in a circle and talk about the incident, may not be the best. Carmen talked about how drinking room temperature is better for you. Well back 20 years ago that was the way to manage a traumatic incident or drink lots of water, no matter the temperature. Now after years of research we realize there may be a better way. 

   The list goes on and on. When I came into the fire service, we were just moving from high pressure fog, to fog nozzles, then to combination nozzles, now moving towards straight stream. Positive pressure ventilation, from just blow lots of air into the structure no matter what, to taking into account flow paths. From having SCBA’s in the compartments to putting them in jump seats, and now back to having them in compartments. 

   So where am I going with all this rambling? The $5 Million dollar PPE Grant for VFD’s is new. We have never had a program or project like this. To put it bluntly, it is a work in progress. Will there be bumps in the road? You bet. Will someone not feel it is fair? Absolutely. Will there be questions? Totally. But please have a little patience with this whole program. Like so many of the things that have changed in time, this positive grant will evolve. It will improve with each application approved and accepted. So please take a minute to check all your paperwork and have all the documentation before submitting anything. If you have questions or anything, then talk to a SDFA Board member. 

   Thanks, and keep an open mind.

SDFA Past President Denny Gorton




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Jeff Gargano - Editor
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