And I say good for them! For my money, Urban Firefighter is one of the very best trade journals out there right now. They write unique articles that are thought-provoking and whatever the opposite of pedestrian is. Their graphics and production values are also outstanding (though I would like to offer my services as a copy editor).
Their third issue was just released and it has a hefty dose of contrarianism the likes of which you’d never see in the august pages of Fire Engineering or Firehouse. That’s because the Big Two are virtually bound to toe the line of the zero-risk crowd. Okay, that’s not fair, but it is accurate most of the time, much to the detriment of the dialogue at large. What they (and most of the blogs out there) won’t touch is outright plastered all over the walls in Tom Hofland’s “Line of Duty Death: Analysis of the Urban Fire Service” (35-44). Some of the choicest nuggets:
- “(Vehicular) accidents don’t seem to warrant the disproportionate share of safety concern given to them.” (38)
- “(The) urban fire services do not seem to have a significant problem with medical LODD during emergency operations.” (41)
- “(Urban) fire departments need to focus safety efforts and training on fire combat operations, not anything else.” (41)
A caveat: He’s specifically referring to data from NIOSH reports covering IAFC Metro Section departments.
That being said, these conclusions are drawn from evidence and analysis. This is what is missing in the fire service dialogue at large. It will be inflammatory verging on anathema in many quarters of the fire service to even suggest that maybe certain concerns are more motivated by fashion than evidence. While these conclusions are not applicable to the majority of the fire service, they are applicable to a much larger slice than just the Metro Section. Even if your own department is unequivocally outside the realm of applicability here, you would be well advised to seriously consider what Mr. Hofland has to say.
I’ll take one article like this over ten issues of either of the big two trades.