Have We Forgotten Our Duty Since September 11?

DUTY (du·ty) –noun

  • Something that one is expected or required to do by moral or legal obligation.
  • An action or task required by a person’s position or occupation.
  • A task or chore that a person is expected to perform.

SERVICE (serv·ice) –noun

  • An act of helpful activity; help; aid: to do someone a service.
  • The duty or work of public servants.

VALOR (val·or) –noun

  • boldness or determination in facing great danger, esp. in battle; heroic courage; bravery: a medal for valor.

At no time in the fire service’s history were the above words better personified than on September 11, 2001 when 343 FDNY firefighters gave their lives to save thousands during the attacks that day.

A bittersweet day, 9/11 not only made America proud of its firefighters but it made our job, already one of the most proud and respected professions, a little more profound.

The entire world watched as FDNY firefighters climbed the towers, in full gear and with ALL necessary equipment.  Memories, video and pictures from that day remind us of the overwhelmed, but determined look on the face of many of New York’s bravest, many of whom gave their last wishes to friends and colleagues before they went in to the towers.

According to NIST, an estimated 17,400 people were inside the Towers at the time of the attack.  Of the 2,606 civilians who died, 1366 were at or above the point of impact and subsequent fire, leaving 16,034 presumably “viable” rescues to be made by FDNY.  1,240 additional civilians would perish at the World Trade Center.  In all 14,794 civilians survived the attacks on the World Trade Center. (1)

  • Approximately 43 civilians were saved for every FDNY LODD.
  • 3.6 civilians died for every FDNY LODD

Their altruistic effort demonstrated duty, service and valor in their purest forms and could only be described EPIC.

According to the 2009 NFPA reports, “Fire Loss in the United States during 2009” and “Firefighter Fatalities in the United States- 2009”, respectively, there were 3,010 civilian fire deaths in structure fires and 17 firefighter deaths in structure fires in 2009.  This equates to approximately 177 civilian deaths to every one firefighter death.

In my opinion, what is startling about this is that I routinely read, see and hear people speaking AGAINST primary searches.  Some say “searching without a hoseline is too dangerous” while others believe that the products of combustion are too toxic for survivability.  I also routinely see and hear people complain about carrying tools.  WHAT?

  • First of all, we don’t know what REALLY is going on inside a burning building… unless we go inside.
  • Second, it IS NOT our job to judge who lives and who dies.  It IS our job to search TENEBLE or BORDERLINE AREAS to try and save life; NOT condemn people to death.
  • Lastly, it is our duty to SERVE THE PUBLIC.  We have the gear, we have the training, we have the intestinal fortitude to go in and get it done.  If you lack any or all of the above, the private sector is always an option.

We have transitioned into a time where the children of 9/11, the kids who were in elementary school in 2001, are enlisting to fight the war that was started that day.  They are willing to risk, even sacrifice, their lives for their country and their fellow soldiers because it is their DUTY.  They are choosing to SERVE their country and continue to demonstrate VALOR in the face of an ever-changing enemy.  Sound familiar?  THEY HAVE NOT FORGOTTEN.

REMEMBER. Remember how you felt the day you saw our brothers charging in to the Towers.  Remember how you felt when you watched them fall.  Remember how your community supported and cherished you for what you do.  Remember that it is our selfless duty to serve the public and, if necessary, act with valor to save savable lives and property even if we have to risk our own life.

Whatever you do…NEVER FORGET!

Bonus Word:

ALTRUISM (al·tru·ism) –noun

  • The principle or practice of unselfish concern for or devotion to the welfare of others

Sources:

(1)         Wikipedia

(2)         NFPA Report on “Fire Loss in the United States during 2009”

(3)         NFPA Report on “Firefighter Fatalities in the United States- 2009”

(4)         All definitions are from www.dictionary.com

1 Comment

  • Ken Scofield says:

    Thank you for posting this article! I have felt this way for a very long time, and I agree that there is too much guessing going on “oh well, if anyone is in there, they’re already dead”. I heartily second you thoughts, and wish you the best.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

background image Blogger Img

S.A.F.E. Firefighter

(843) 247-6044 www.safefirefighter.com info@safefirefighter.com

We provide high-energy, high intensity & high-repetition training to help you be a SMART, AGGRESSIVE,

FUNDAMENTAL & EFFICIENT firefighter

GET IT DONE.  NO EXCUSES.

FE Talk: Humpday Hangout

Comments
safefirefighter
VEIS, The “I” Isn’t Silent
Hey Eric, Thanks for reading the post and thanks for taking the time to comment! The primary reason that we demo VEIS using the Halligan is that we also promote using the NY Roof Hook (or other similar STEEL SHAFTED hook) to perform VEIS. Together, they marry to make the "Hook Irons" which can be…
2014-10-21 03:51:32
Eric Dreiman
VEIS, The “I” Isn’t Silent
What is your thought process for the Halligan? I teach VEIS a lot and discourage FF's from entering with a Halligan. I tell them to take an axe (preferably a flat head) to conduct search. I my humble opinion, I feel that a Halligan is too heavy and cumbersome to swing back and forth while…
2014-10-17 02:25:15
George Hawkins
Quotes
If you put enough water on a fire it will eventually go out!
2014-09-10 00:16:29
Mike
Movement Monday; August 11, 2014 (TeamWORK)
Great ideas guys. Working in our SCBA is a must. When it comes to stretching...up to 30 seconds, but no benefit past that according to most research. A quick stretch after the warm up is also a good idea. Thanks for the work.
2014-08-16 22:19:26
Jenny
Movement Monday; August 11, 2014 (TeamWORK)
Fun workout. Tried to get crew involved, might take a little work. But fun none the less! I went for 40 minutes ....farmers carry 50lb dumb bells, ladder carry around station, step ups on a box (20), deadlifts (135 @ 15) shoulder press (45lbs 15) squats (20) fast walk around station.
2014-08-12 19:30:27

Upcoming Events

"Street Smart Shop Talk"
Fire Engineering Talk Radio
Tuesday September 23, 2014 @ 1930 hrs

"Search & Rescue 1" (H.O.T.) &
"RIC/Mayday Refresher" (H.O.T.)
Goose Creek, SC
Saturday October 4, 2014

"Engine Work 101" (H.O.T.)
Lowcountry Fire & EMS Weekend
Walterboro, SC
Sat/Sun November 1 & 2, 2014

"Street Smart Firefighting & Brotherhood Workshop"
FDIC 2015
Indianapolis, IN
April 2015

Recent Events

"Outside the Box Firefighting" @ SC Fire/Rescue Conference

"Street Smart Fireground Forcible Entry" @ SC Fire/Rescue Conference

"Street Smart Shop Talk" on FireEngineering Blog Talk Radio

"Spartanburg Research Burns" w/ NIST, UL, ISFSI & SCFA

Quote of the Month:

"The reason why Sun Tzu at the head of 30,000 men beat Ch`u with 200,000 is that the latter were undisciplined."

- Sun Tzu (The Art of War)

Keep In Touch & Get Notifications

FireEMS Blogs eNewsletter

Sign-up to receive our free monthly eNewsletter

LATEST FIREFIGHTER NEWS

HOT FORUM DISCUSSIONS

LATEST ON FIRE ENGINEERING

FEATURED DISCUSSIONS