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 Fairness Vs. Safety?                        the actual names and places, that high-         best way to learn something was to teach
     I would like to continue the discus-    lights the fairness issue.                      it, which would help the rookie commit to
 sion started in the April Firehouse® by          In the late 1970s, the first woman fire-   memory the skills necessary to be a safe
 Chief Curt Varone in his Fire Law col-      fighter graduated from a rookie school of       and effective member of the crew.
 umn about “Social Engineering, Physical     a metro county fire department and was               The first rookie drill was to take the ex-
 Abilities and Sexual Harassment.” Great     assigned her first duty station at an engine    tension ladder off the engine, place it to the
 thought-provoking article. However, this    company. The officer at this station liked      firehouse roof and climb it with the roof
 topic has a fairness issue that is seldom   to think “outside the box” and planned          ladder. This was done with only the offi-
 discussed. I would like to relate a true    to have the rookie give a series of basic       cer observing and it became immediately
 story from my own experience, minus         drills to the crew. He was aware that the       apparent that the rookie was not strong
                                                                                             enough to complete this evolution. It
                                                                                             should be noted that this department had
                                                                                             no physical fitness test for new employees.
                                                                                                  Subsequently, the officer made an ap-
                                                                                             pointment to talk to his battalion chief
                                                                                             and related his concern for her safety and
                                                                                             the effectiveness of the crew. The battalion
                                                                                             chief explained, “This was the first woman
                                                                                             firefighter and in addition she has some
                                                                                             American Indian heritage.” He went on
                                                                                             to advise the officer “to just make it work.”
                                                                                                  Fast forward seven years and this
                                                                                             same firefighter was now assigned to a
                                                                                             truck company. The word on the street
                                                                                             was that the officer was documenting all of
                                                                                             her inabilities to perform basic job skills,
                                                                                             especially those related to ground ladders.
                                                                                             In seven years, the department had hired
                                                                                             more women firefighters and she was not
                                                                                             the only woman, but one of many. It was
                                                                                             at this time that she reported a back injury
                                                                                             and star
				
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posted:8/20/2010
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Description: I read Barry Furey s article entitled, "Dispatch Times: Regulations Versus Reality" (April 2010), with interest. As Mr. Furey writes, response time has always been a hotly debated issue for first responders. And it is true that 911 agencies are routinely challenged to contribute more to the efficiency of emergency response. As a consultant for 911 centers and public safety agencies, I am frequently asked about communications center performance issues by my clients.
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