Once again the news reports are of an accident caused from clear negligence and failure to follow basic protocol.
It is reported that individuals are being dismissed from their department because of an accident on a railroad crossing in Michigan involving a fire truck and a train. I ask everyone to follow this link, read the article and comment on the matter: http://www.firerescue1.com/apparatus/articles/966367-Amtrak-sues-De...
I feel it is time that some changes are made with respect to the training of apparatus operators because too many expensive pieces of equipment are being lost to sheer incompetence and the operations commanders are going without reprimand for endangering their crew, equipment and citizens at large. For me this is a "no-brainer", you just do not park on railroad crossings!
I understand that the pressure to respond to those in need is great and the situations can be confusing when so many departments are involved during a rescue but this to me is no reason to create another problem that may be equal to or greater that the initial call.
I have personally been subjected to reprimand for failing to follow direct orders from my superiors when I felt I was being ordered to create a clear and present danger to my fellow Firefighters and the equipment I was responsible for. I was told that whatever my superiors told me to do I must do without question because "that is just the way it is done" and I could not in good conscience neglect my duty to the department and citizenry by creating a threat to life and property.
How do you feel about taking responsibility and doing what you were trained to do in cases such as the one in the article at the link posted on this blog? Would you do only what you are told when you clearly see that it is irresponsible? Would you park equipment on a railroad crossing because your incident commander instructed you to?
I apologize to all who read this blog and feel I am unworthy of wearing the uniform of a Firefighter but I was trained as well as everyone else that safety comes FIRST so when I see an obvious danger I waste no time in reporting it to my superiors before I act but if they just dismiss my observations I will take responsibility for my crew mates safety and accept the consequences.
I feel too often mistakes are made because commanding officers are more interested in "being in command" than they are with being responsible and listening to their team members observations and making informed decisions that recognize the need for safety first.