To use the word BROTHERHOOD [by that we include firefighters both male/female] you must have a complete understanding of the word and all that it represents in the fire service. You see, brotherhood, in my humble opinion, is used way too lightly and without a full understanding of its true meaning.
There are many brotherhoods, but this one is mine! In all of its glory and all of its sadness, the fire service brotherhood is forged in battle. As some have used the word “beast” to describe our enemy, I believe the battles are more than just one “beast”.
Very recently we lost another brother in Baltimore County, MD. Firefighter Gene Kirchner was fatally injured attempting to search above the fire for a known trapped occupant.
Gene for yet unknown reasons got jacked up (in trouble) on the second floor. The brothers that were advancing an attack line to the second floor, heard and reacted to Gene’s PASS device issuing a MAYDAY. The brotherhood abandoned their attack line and found Gene, assessed and removed him. Gene was in cardiac arrest and was resuscitated by other brothers. Unfortunately GOD had other plans for Gene and he succumbed to his injuries after a valiant fight.
As I reflected on the loss of another brother, I realized once again we have a bond that is unbreakable. His colleagues from the Reisterstown Volunteer Fire Company and the Baltimore County Fire Department rose to the occasion as we have done more than I wish to remember.
What a beautiful farewell to a brother!!!
You say, “great that’s what we do!”
I say we don’t do enough!
As I write this article, I am frustrated and angry. We continue to lose good firefighters and what does the BROTHERHOOD do to prevent it from happening again?
As part of our responsibility to the brotherhood we must make changes. We simply cannot continue to kill and maim brothers and not make adjustments to prevent repeating these disasters. I implore each of you reading this to ask yourself one question, what do I do differently on the fire ground after we lose someone? If your answer is NOTHING, you are not understanding BROTHERHOOD. We must make adjustments and learn from every event!
I will continue to provide my 2 cents on how we get better. For now ponder what BROTHERHOOD means to you!!! Be safe and learn my brothers.