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"...your trauma high is always someone else’s trauma."
May 27, 2013 5:59 AM   Subscribe

Fire School
posted by zarq (13 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Nuth'n compared to boat fire training. Put you in a suit in a pit with a hose. Dump in a bunch of gas, light, you got less than 30 seconds to graduate. Fire's bad, fire on a vessel, no words.
posted by sammyo at 6:18 AM on May 27, 2013


My big takeaways are:

a) Texas is happy to trade workplace safety for a "business friendly" environment.

b) We want to treat our emergency responders like teachers -- talk about how great they are, but pay them for shit. Yay, us.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:35 AM on May 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't get it. Is the author suggesting that that EMT who was arrested after the blast in West, Texas was feeding a need for excitement?

I understand that firefighting is a boring job - until it isn't - but I would also guess that most firefighters view their work not unlike airplane pilots - that boring is good.

I've been there at times when the local FD was scraping an ex-parrot off the windshield and it's really not as glamorous of a job as it sounds. What I saw was always grim, sad-eyed professionalism so while I can get the idea of a trauma high as an idea, the reality is one hell of a buzz kill.
posted by three blind mice at 6:36 AM on May 27, 2013


Although it doesn't particularly change the overall story, it's worth pointing out that this statement:
A week after his arrest, Reed is still in custody on federal firearms charges (he had an unregistered gun, too).
is factually incorrect.

I don't fault the author too much because a lot of national news outlets reported the same thing, but Reed was charged under Federal law with possession of an unregistered "destructive device", specifically a pipe bomb. He may or may not have also had traditional firearms in his possession (being in Texas, probably) but that's not related to the Federal charges AFAICT. Some Texas news outlets did a better job reporting.

Since I presume that constructing a pipe bomb is illegal in any number of ways under Texas law, the significance of this is the Federal interest in the case.
posted by Kadin2048 at 6:43 AM on May 27, 2013


GenjiandProust: We want to treat our emergency responders like teachers -- talk about how great they are, but pay them for shit. Yay, us.

My sister's boyfriend, a firefighter and an emergency squad dude, is currently dealing with a city which wants to take away all city-covered health care benefits for firefighters. All. Of. Them. A 100% buy-in system.

Great idea. Ask these people to run into insanely dangerous situations, pay them shit, then don't give them any health coverage. What could go wrong?
posted by oflinkey at 7:20 AM on May 27, 2013 [10 favorites]


but pay them for shit.

So I guess this means that teachers get high from seeing their kids learn to read and this rush is ultimately the appeal to the job. That's the not-too-subtle subtext for firefighters. You know the "pay isn't great, you get to ride on a big red firetruck with FLASHING LIGHTS and ignore red lights."

I guess that is an intangible benefit that can result in being satisfied with a lower salary. So long as there is a steady supply of qualified people applying for these jobs, there is no reason to overpay anyone either.
posted by three blind mice at 8:00 AM on May 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


A city which wants to take away all city-covered health care benefits for firefighters. All. Of. Them...there is no reason to overpay anyone either.

This is what unions used to be for, isn't it?
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 8:09 AM on May 27, 2013 [11 favorites]


Firefighters can't exactly strike, though. I mean, they could, I guess, but letting people die isn't quite the same as shutting down a factory.
posted by vogon_poet at 8:12 AM on May 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Great article!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:07 AM on May 27, 2013


there is no reason to overpay anyone either.

Begs the question.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:16 AM on May 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Some folks come alive in emergencies, other folks fall to pieces. I'm actually the first sort. It's seriously weird, because it's as if my personality itself changes. I don't worry about it much, and I definitely don't feed it. I loose all patience with the emotional, I'd say I become 'cold', except that in itself is too emotional. It's an 'all-business' state of mind. Fortunately, I'm the same way when working backstage, so I've had the chance to use it constructively. I've had no training except the usual Navy recruit fire-fighting school.

But the emotional high from that state of mind is very real, and it feels wonderful and probably is addicting. Seems likely akin to the high folks get climbing mountains, or other dangerous intensive activities. The let down after the show closes though is brutal.

I hadn't heard about this guy from West. I have to wonder if he wasn't considering making more happen, having loved the attention and the emergency, assuming there's anything to the charges at all. Or maybe it's simpler than that, and he just thought if he could hold the cameras a little longer, they might take him away and make him a 'star'.
posted by Goofyy at 11:01 PM on May 27, 2013


b) We want to treat our emergency responders like teachers -- talk about how great they are, but pay them for shit. Yay, us.

Completely anecdotal, but the two people I know who make the most money are a director of a non profit and a Chicago firefighter. With the teachers I know right behind them.
posted by gjc at 11:08 PM on May 27, 2013


Rescuers find ways to deal with the cognitive dissonance of a helping profession in which you only get to use your skills when something bad happens to someone else. I often say I don't want bad things to happen to anyone, but if they happen I definitely want to be there.
posted by itstheclamsname at 8:20 AM on May 28, 2013


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