Let Nozzlehead hear all about it.
He’ll answer you with 2,000 psi
of free-flowing opinion.
Send your letters to:
Nozzlehead, c/o FireRescue
Penn Well Corp.
21-00 Route 208 South
Just When I Thought I Was Out ...
Fair Lawn, NJ 07410
Attn: Diane Rothschild
Got a fire service
question or complaint?
They Pull Me Back In!
Remember Michael Corleone? Remember when,
in The Godfather Part III, he was in the process of
becoming a legit businessman? One of the best scenes
ever! He was about to take some actions that would
finally take him out of “the family” business for good.
It’s the scene when he finds out that he’s been double
crossed by his mafia pals as they decided to screw up
his plan of becoming legit. His response became these
now-famous words: “Just when I thought I was out,
his biggest fear—he can’t escape that life. There is
nothing he can do to get away from the past. It
keeps haunting him. Perhaps, like you, he wants
to bring his family forward with positive change,
but “stuff” keeps happening.
The Godfather series was fantastic, and if you
disagree with me you may perhaps find yourself
sleeping with the fishes. So, when you wrote me,
I immediately thought about how far we thought
we have come in firefighter survivability, and then
suddenly you find yourself getting dragged backward into a world you tried so hard to escape.
We could write a book about your situation
and that particular fire department (and plenty
have been written), but this is about the world
changing, and a few fire departments are being
left behind. Being left behind falls clearly on
the department leadership, and in this case,
the chief’s position is vacant. So, as I have said
to myself from time to time: “Who the hell is
In your case, it’s the so-called “safety direc-
tor” who, by your various e-mails, has nothing
to do with directing safety—or survival. You
essentially have an airplane missing a pilot and
the flight attendant or the CEO is trying to fly
the plane … but you need an airline captain
or, in your case, a FIRE CHIEF. My remarks against
this fire department are not personal. It’s strictly
It is incumbent on the director and mayor to identify who is in charge. Once that is done, that chief
now needs to identify what is being done right and
what is being done wrong and fix it based on best
practices, applying all available resources. It’s really
not THAT hard if the firefighters really wanna fix it.
But that’s the issue: Some of the firefighters may not
WANT things fixed. And I would say normally, in a
democratic society, they would have a choice.
Changing behaviors in The Family
I am reaching out for assistance in connection with a firefighter close call at a
nearby small, career fire department where
a firefighter was transported to the hospital
following a collapse at a structure fire. The
firefighter should never have gotten hurt.
The department has no operational guidelines, no training requirements, no physical requirements, and no accountability on
scene and is lacking so much more. It is also
without a chief and has been for more than
six months, leaving the “safety director”
and mayor in charge.
We responded mutual aid recently, and
during the incident one female firefighter
was transported because of injuries from a
partial collapse with entrapment. Unfortu-
nately, this was a predictable incident for
a department with no fireground standard
operating procedures or command struc-
ture. Any thoughts or ideas you have are
welcome, as we are very frustrated and con-
cerned that worse will happen to them—and
maybe even us—on their scenes.
Nozzlehead note: I received no less than six e-mails about this same incident and this fire department. I
thought that was kinda interesting ... kind of a “smells like a duck ... quacks like a duck” situation. So, I
merged the e-mails all into one that sums it up. Quack.