Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Patriotic firefighter told to repaint helmet

There's a headline that grabs you. And the article keeps pulling you in.

"A veteran of the Iraq war, Richard Busa is used to fighting for the American flag. But never quite like this."
Wow! Makes you want to go defend this guy and his red, white and blue helmet, huh?
Who is attacking this great American? This veteran? This brave firefighter?
But then you calm down a minute and you have to consider the other side - Newton Fire Chief Joseph LaCroix.
Of course the Chief could have framed his arguements a little better.
Just for you Chief, I have consulted with my super-secret firefighter expert (What? You thought I only have Navy guys in my pocket? Please!)
Here is his take -
Been there and done that with the helmet thing...
The Chief is right but is stating his case poorly. Once everybody paints his/her helmet...they all look like shitbags. The Chief should not have compared the situation to the invites comparisons that he will not want to address.
What he should have said was this:
We have a uniform and protective equipment policy. In a paramilitary organization we need to convey to our customers that we are professional and with everybody doing their own thing, we fail to do that.
In the fire service, helmets are color coded to designate rank...this paint job can cause confusion on the fire ground.
The manufacturer of the helmet voids all warranties when it is painted and OSHA does not allow the modification of the helmet.
We admire the firefighter's sense of patriotism and encourage him/her to demonstrate that within the polices that we have set forth.
The stickers...shamrock, union, 9/11, NYFD, or otherwise need to go as well.
The Chief was right.
The Chief handled it poorly.
The firefighter needs to get his/her act together and get with the program.

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