Homepage / Conferences / Dear Random Township Fire Department at FDIC
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Dear Random Township Fire Department at FDIC

I enjoy FDIC.


I enjoy the random mix of folks you meet.  For example, I met the Director of Training of the Tokyo Fire Brigade just moments before having a pint with member of FDNY’s 27 Truck.  You meet all kinds.

All kinds.

Positive…and the random township firefighters, this year’s “bad apples.”

I have no idea if you are career or paid, nor do I care, but your attitude needs a serious adjustment.

When a fire service instructor, chosen by FDIC to present their topic, says something your limited experience disagrees with, that is an opportunity for learning, not for walking out.

I’m not going to share specifics, although I could because you were proudly wearing the T-shirt of your company (I wore a collared shirt, but you know, do what feels good I guess).  The instructor made the offensive, at least to you, remark that some fires require a defensive stance.

Observers may have thought that the speaker asked to date your 8 year old sister.

“You don’t know shit!” You mumbled in a voice loud enough for the entire room to hear.

Most of the 100-150 folks in attendance were shocked.  You got up and the three of you walked out thinking you were the studs of the pen, marching back to your grand castle of righteousness.  How wrong you were.  Your actions spoke much more than your limited words.  Instead of challenging the instructor on the merits of the point, you decided to show your inexperience and arrogance by walking out after a few mumbled comments about “real firemen” and “aggressive tactics.”

I stayed.  I learned.

You left.  You lost.

If you’re going to storm out in a huff when a seasoned, experienced and educated instructor challenges your limited experience, just stay at home for conferences.  Or fire calls for that matter.  Don’t care if you’re career or volunteer.  If the facts challenge your limited experience, perhaps it is your experience that is wrong?  If you disagree with an instructor, you have the following 3 options:

  1. Shut the Fuck up.  Yes, I capitalized Fuck.  Sit there and learn.
  2. Sit through the presentation, take notes and stay after to discuss your issues with the instructor.
  3. Present your own observations for consideration for presentation at FDIC, or any other conference for that matter.

Please note that storming out in a huff is not on that list.  Nor is disrespecting the instructor, audience and Fire Service as a whole by taking this action.  Then again, you won’t listen to me, I’m just a Medic.  In addition, I’ll likely see you making a fool of yourself on the town tonight, still in your Department’s T-shirt, probably telling the bartender that she has a beautiful smile.


Real original.


If you take the time to seek out education, do me a favor:


If you’re there for the party, start the day when the rest of us are out of class.


Humbly submitted,

Your Happy Medic

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  1. Robert Avsec April 21, 2016 6:41 am

    You betcha! Great post that is so “on point”!

  2. Jeff benson April 21, 2016 8:08 am

    Well said my brother

  3. Brian R. McNevin April 21, 2016 8:38 am

    Well stated. It is these types of individuals (notice that I did not refer to them as Firefighter’s) that give our profession a bad name. I have been in the fire service for over 40 years. I have held ranks from tailboard firefighter all the way to Chief of Department. I have witnessed the infiltration of these folks for a long time. I attribute their attitudes and lack of respect to television and movies that have taken our noble profession and glamorized it and made it pretty. It’s all about machoism and show. These individuals will either get themselves or another firefighter injured or killed. The problem as I see it is too much political correctness and a lack of discipline. The fire service needs to get back to training and producing grown firefighter’s not t-shirt wearing pansies who strut around and show off for the girl’s. Some may not agree with my position but I don’t care. I was brought up to treat the job and my fellow firefighters with courtesy, respect, and professionalism. Let’s get back to kicking some asses and weeding out the slacker’s and show-offs before it’s too late.

  4. Jon Garland April 21, 2016 9:07 am

    Shitbag’s like that give us voly’s a bad name ………….end of story

  5. Kurt Kipley Sr April 21, 2016 9:20 am

    Oh to know it all ! I have experienced this same attitude before, when the youngster finished i held my tongue and met with his Chief afterwards. Our conversation consisted of suggestions about certain types of construction that could warrant a defensive attack and the new training that will and has already saved fire fighters lives ! I don’t know whether he took it and ran with it or forgot our conversation but at least I put it out there. You mentioned the fire service instructor chosen by the FDIC to teach the class , we’ll there is about a 50/50 chance that he or she could be a seasoned veteran with 20 or 30 years in the service and had to learn new tactics about defensive attacks, to their credit I’ll bet they are just an old Fire Fighter trying to teach the young guys how to be old Fire Fighters

  6. Lt Rick April 21, 2016 9:32 am

    Well said Brother !!

  7. Darron Carr April 21, 2016 10:00 am

    I’m not there but based on your description I don’t disagree with you that behavior like that is disrespectful and unbecoming of any fire service person or department – regardless of size (i.e. Township as you say). However I do not agree with how you are clearly painting all of us small townships with a broad brush based on the actions of 3 individuals. I’m on a small volunteer department of 28 people in a town of 5000 – we are very rural and don’t have many calls compared to a larger city – which you must obviously be from. We take pride in what we do, we drill often and take training seriously. We also respect others and do our best to act in a professional manner. I’m disappointed in what seems to be your utter lack of respect for small department and more disappointed that the fire critic posted this. I think the complaint could have been posted without dragging size of department into it. We are not all “bad apples” as you’ve so chosen to label us. I think we would all appreciate a little more respect, just as you pointed out these 3 should’ve had for their instructor. It’s universal and I think what you’ve posted here is just as bad as what those 3 did in that class.

    • Matthew Perry April 21, 2016 4:22 pm

      I think you might have misread what the author was saying. The author made it pretty clear that he had no idea if the dept they represented was volunteer or paid, and I’m pretty sure that he only used the word “random” because he didn’t want to actually use the Dept name on the shirt. I’m a LT on my Dept with 22 years of service. And I’ve met shitbags on both paid and volunteer Dept’s.

  8. Doug April 21, 2016 10:15 am

    Happy Medic,
    I agree 100% with what you say in this article. However I disagree with how you generalized ” Township Firefighters”. If a spade is a spade then call them out! But don’t put all township firefighters in the same category as these 3 bozos. I have witnessed Career and Volunteer firefighters all do stupid and embarrassing things. If their actions upset you that much maybe you should have contacted their department and spoke with their administration about their embarrassing behavior. All I ask is please don’t put us all In the same category some of us have paid with our own money and took time off of our full time jobs to get educated and do not act like the three you spoke of so please don’t generalize us.

    Thank you,
    An Educated Township Firefighter

  9. Jeffrey B. Giraud April 21, 2016 1:41 pm

    You said it well brother! An add on to that message: While you’re in Indy for what should be one of the best learning experiences of your career:
    1. Don’t wear a department shirt while you’re out getting plastered. Every firefighter becomes connected to those asses that wander downtown screaming and puking on the street. Better yet – Show the people of Indy and your colleagues that you are actually a professional and don’t get plastered.
    2. Leave your hound dog mentality at home. There are lots of great women who live in Indy or are visiting that don’t deserve to be cat-called or pawed like they’re a piece of meat.
    3. Attend the conference. I mean actually show up and be a participant in learning. Don’t use this trip as an excuse to get drunk, cheat on your spouse, or sleep in the classes. If you want a trip to party – go to Panama City with the other teenagers and let real professionals attend the conference.
    4. Leave Indy in as good or better shape than when you came. When you go out and destroy property, stay out making noise all night and make an ass of yourself – you insult the host city and every professional firefighter who is there or would love to be there.

    Capt. Jeff Giraud, (Retired)

    • R.Olson April 21, 2016 10:05 pm

      Well said Capt. I was lucky enough to go one time in my 33 years of service and learned a lot in the short time I was there. I was disgusted by the amount of drinking and showing asses that goes on there from Chief Officers down to Rookie Firefighters.
      R Olson Fire Captain (retired)

  10. Jeff April 22, 2016 11:57 am

    Some of you saw township and immediately took offense… He didn’t say all random township firefighters. Perhaps he used the term township because that’s what they were, township firefighters and he didn’t want to call out the whole department, but hoping these individuals were educated enough to read blogs and see that their behavior was wrong. Someone even assumed they were volunteer. I’ve been both career and volunteer, been both rural and metropolitan, and have seen reckless attitudes on each side. The moral if the story was, it’s ok to disagree. If you do, be a grown up and have a grown up discussion.

  11. Eric Pinkham April 22, 2016 1:46 pm

    Well said. I believe I was in that class and was shocked and surprised. Keep up the good work

  12. Williams April 23, 2016 5:30 am

    Thank you for making a statement cause it is a very good point, all instructors well listen to you if you disagree with their stance. Don’t just walk all pissy, discuss it that’s what great about this conference. Everybody fights fire different & discussions are welcome

  13. Scott April 24, 2016 12:00 am

    Like all the comments above, well said. If you were offended by the title or context of the original post, then with all due respect you are part of the problem. Not to the extent highlighted by the OP, but to an extent none the less… Don’t be so butt hurt by everything. It’s amazing what you can see/ hear/ learn when you realize just how much we all need to learn, how little we actually know…

  14. Wow! I just realized I'm that old guy April 24, 2016 4:33 pm

    I was at FDIC, I actually saw this in one of my sessions… it was not on that topic but sae type of walking out and some attitude. I too had a point of disagreement with one of the presenters points. I like a grown 25 year veteran of the fire service, chose to walk up to the presenter after the discussion and pose some constructive criticism. The instructor thanked me for the input and actually stated he had not considered my positions, however, in the future he would integrate those positions into his presentation for future classes. He even admitted that many of my points were things in his career he has done and work quite well. I think we all need to open up our thoughts and minds when at educational conferences and even if you don’t agree with the speaker there may be a little nugget we can take home, we are all there to learn from each other.

  15. Pingback: Assholery at Indy | Fire Weekly

  16. Liberty May 3, 2016 4:23 am

    You really saved my skin with this intoomafirn. Thanks!

  17. http://www.lospasospara.com/ June 17, 2016 6:08 pm

    I went to the Orlando intensive a few years back. I gotta say, Harv and his presenters were SPOT ON! I still read his books and use the things he has to teach.

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