Thursday, January 17, 2019

If Firefighters had to do their jobs like Policemen

A fire truck with one firefighter driving it would be sent to an address without a clear indication of the problem.  The complainant is a neighbor who said they saw smoke or steam or something coming from the house, or vehicle or alley.  When the fire truck pulls up, the complainant runs outside and yells at the fireman for taking too long, and tells him not to park in front of his house.  

The fireman sees smoke coming out of the house in question, so he knocks on that door.  After 15 minutes of knocking, the door is opened by a person who speaks English as a second language, poorly, who says there is no fire, even as smoke is billowing out the door he is standing in.  The homeowner tells the fireman to screw off and slams the door in the fireman’s face.  The fireman goes to his truck, gets on his computer to see if the house has had issues in the past.  He finds out that this house has had a history of fires, and now sees smoke and flames on the roof.  

Since the house is obviously on fire, the fireman requests permission to fight the fire, and gives reasons why he believes the house is on fire.  Neighbors are now banging on the fire truck screaming for the fireman to do something.  A bystander is making a video with his cell phone and demanding the fireman’s name and badge number.  The fireman radios for another truck with two firemen on it.  An hour goes by before they get official permission to fight the fire, and turn on the hoses to put water on the house.  Neighbors complain that the trucks are too loud.  Firemen go inside, resuscitate the homeowner and put out the fire.

The fireman then sits in his truck writing up his report about the fire while eating a convenience store burrito and drinking cold coffee.

His report says why he thought the house was actually burning, how the fire was put out, and that that they took no more steps than absolutely necessary.  He makes a list of all those affected by the fire, including names, dates of birth, and addresses, and how they were affected.  Before completing this report, he is sent to fight another fire across town.  This process is repeated three more times during his shift.  When his shift is over, he reports back to headquarters and submits his reports to the Captain, who wants to know if all the houses in the report had really been on fire, and if he was justified in putting the fires out.

Seven months later the fireman goes to court to swear that the house was on fire, and that he was sent to the house to fight the fire.  The homeowners’ lawyer cross-examines the fireman about the temperature of the flames in both Celsius and Fahrenheit,  what stage the fire was in when the fireman pulled up, the color of the carpet in the house, how much water was used to put the fire out, and why did they break the front window, and why they broke the lock on the front door.  Would the house have burned if no firemen had showed up?  Who reported the fire; how did they know it was smoke and not steam?  Was the fire truck properly certified, and when.  Was the fireman’s training up to date?  

Five months later the court rules that the house had been on fire and the fireman was justified in putting it out.  But the report chastises the fireman for damage to the rug, wrecking the shrubs, and bruising the homeowner’s ribs while doing CPR.  

The homeowner is awarded damages, and the fireman has a disciplinary letter added to his file for ruining the shrub.

Six months later the fireman gets a photo radar ticket for speeding on his way to the fire, and has to go back to court to justify his actions.


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