As we embark on this Independence Day weekend it is important to honor what this special holiday is all about. We all have a great time cleaning and detailing our apparatus for the neighborhood parade. Nothing is better than grilling something over the BBQ, either at the firehouse our at a neighborhood picnic. I’m sure all of us will enjoy watching fireworks either as the on duty crew or with our friends and family at home. This is a day of celebration, it is a day to honor the UNITED States of America. 235 years ago a bunch of individual colonists decided that they were going to put their life on the the line for the pursuit of FREEDOM. They wanted true freedom. Freedom from the tyrannical rulers an ocean away that limited their speech, religion, and the ability to freely pursue happiness. These brave colonists were able to defeat one of the strongest and most powerful army of the time because they realized that individually as colonists we may not be strong but by standing together as a united states, nothing could stand in our way.
One of our firefighter brothers Benjamin Franklin said "We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately" Those words could not be more true in the 1700’s as they are today. We are more than just firefighters, we are brothers. We must never forget that no one firefighter can do it all, it is a team effort. The nozzle-man can’t put the wet stuff on the red stuff with out the engineer pumping his water. The captain inside can't adequately monitor the full incident without the chief out front letting him know that conditions are changing. We search in teams to stay positionally oriented and to ensure accountability. Firefighting is the ultimate team activity, it is about looking out for your brothers both during operations and back at the firehouse.The concept of mutual aid goes deeper than just asking our neighboring department for assistance with the second alarm, mutual aid is about brothers helping brothers. Mutual aid is about visiting our retired firefighters, mutual aid is about giving a hand to our brothers in need.
With reduced budgets, politicians taking away our rights and sometimes even our jobs, it is important that we think of many different ways that we can help each other. From combined purchasing to joint training, there are so many things we can do as a group that could never be accomplished as individual firefighters or individual departments.
Over this Independence Day weekend, let’s look to the past and the lessons our founding fathers taught us when we stopped acting as individual colonies and united to change the world. We are all in this together no matter what station, city or unit day. We may have been an individual prior to joining the fire service but once you don the mask and put on that helmet you will be forever connected as brothers.
Greetings from Moscow Russia!
Over the last few days MN8 has had the chance to open a new front on our war against lack visibility, lack of accountability and disorientation in interior firefighting operations. After a very long plane ride, I finally arrived in the land of our once former cold-war era enemy. Even though the hints of their Soviet past could be seen everywhere(huge apartment buildings, communist statues, mosaics, and communist themed artwork)
capitalism has made a huge presence all over Moscow. There is a McDonalds and Starbucks on every corner and all the cars were US, Japanese, and German.
I was greeted at my hotel by my very gracious host and new friend Constantine. He treated me and several of his colleagues to a traditional Russian experience.
Sauna, steam, food, and WAY too much vodka. He explained that you can’t do business in Russia unless you are friends first. I like the way these guys operate.
The late night turned in to early morning and on my way back to the hotel I got to meet Moscow’s finest when our driver was pulled over for speeding. They threatened him with jail and permanent revocation of his license but we were free to go once he stuffed a wad of Rubles in the police commanders hand....
The next day Constitine and I laid out our go to market strategy for illuminating Russia. His company has incredible contacts with firefighters all over the mother land. No matter where you go fire is fire and we all face the same challenges of visibility, accountability, and disorientation.
The following day Constitine’s son Alec met me at the hotel for some sight seeing. We took the Moscow subway to the Red Square. I have never seen a more beautiful and huge example of architecture, engineering, efficiency and cleanliness.
We visited Red Square, saw the Kremlin, Lennin’s tomb and St. Basils cathedral.
Overall the trip was a great success. It fills me full of pride that we are not only making the environment for firefighters in North Americas safer but we are also helping our brother firefighters that were once our cold-war era enemies.
Stay Safe !