Make this page my home page
  1. Drag the home icon in this panel and drop it onto the "house icon" in the tool bar for the browser

  2. Select "Yes" from the popup window and you're done!

Print Comment RSS

Editor's Note
by Rick Markley, editor-in-chief

Watching fire porn through prevention-colored glasses

Fire prevention is the best path to a safer future; how we watch fire porn needs to change

By Rick Markley, FR1 Editor-in-chief

Years ago when I first became editor of Fire Chief, I sat down with the art director, several issues of our magazine and several issues of our competitors' publications. All the covers had one thing in common: fire porn.

I charged her with making Fire Chief's covers different.

I wish I could tell you that decision was driven by some deeper understanding of what we need to present to the fire service; that I was in some way ahead of the curve on the prevention-over-suppression mindset — a pioneer.

I wasn't that wise or clever. I was looking at it simply from a competitive standpoint and the need to be visually distinct.

Several years have passed and my fire service knowledge has grown. I can now appreciate and agree with our columnist Billy Hayes when he says that our obsession with fire porn can take our eye off the ball — lose sight of the real prize.

That real prize is, of course, firefighter and civilian lives.

Fire porn has value. It is an incredible learning tool. At FireRescue1 and Fire Chief, we are peddlers of that porn and will continue to be.  

The suppression vs. prevention debate reminds me of what I've heard cops say. Cops will train on weapons and hand-to-hand combat because their lives depend on it.

Yet, many will tell you the best way to win a fight is to never have it. Defusing a situation before it escalates is far better than a smooth takedown.

The same is true with fire. The best knockdown is at the home that never burns.

The percentage of firefighters who joined the service to become prevention wonks is arguably quite small.

Yet how many who have experienced a firefighter line-of-duty death would, if they could, go back in time and do everything in their power to prevent that fire from ever starting? I would argue that the percentage is quite high.

Sexy or not, fire prevention needs to be part of the fire service conversation, curriculum and culture.

A wise fire chief told me not long ago that every time a rig rolls to a fire represents a failure by that department. Perhaps the future of fire porn lies not in educating us on tactics and strategy, but shaming us on lack of prevention.




Comments
The comments below are member-generated and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of FireRescue1.com or its staff. If you cannot see comments, try disabling privacy and ad blocking plugins in your browser. All comments must comply with our Member Commenting Policy.
Gary Bowker Gary Bowker Thursday, July 31, 2014 10:29:34 AM Great discussion! You are absolutely correct Rick, the percentage of firefighters who join the fire service do so to fight fires, and we all drawn to fire porn hoping to make a difference in someone's life. However, during my Air Force career, the mind-set was and still is, prevention first, which takes nothing away from operations. In the Air Force fire service it is looked upon by most as an opportunity for a firefighter to be selected serve in the fire prevention bureau. A firefighter can perhaps impact the community in a far greater way, by serving as the fire chief's ambassador during inspections, or while performing pub ed activities, as much so if not more as working on the floor. Fire Porn is a great tool for helping to educate the public as to the consequences and risks of having a fire. Not all firefighters realize they can save another firefighter's life just a surely by preventing that fire, as they can by dragging a brother or sister out of a bad situation. However, the mind-set of prevention first, and the awsome opportunity to serve in that capacity, must begin with and be fostered by the fire chief and department's leadership.
Robert Isbell Robert Isbell Thursday, August 07, 2014 7:49:24 PM "Perhaps the future of fire porn lies not in educating us on tactics and strategy, but shaming us on lack of prevention." Well Said sir, well said....
Keith Martin Keith Martin Thursday, August 07, 2014 10:22:11 PM The prize is indeed, counted in life's saved.
Jon Darryle Marsh Jon Darryle Marsh Friday, August 08, 2014 3:50:56 AM Excellent Rick! Perhaps a future article pertaining to the statement; "if they could go back in time and do everything in their power to prevent that fire from ever starting.." could or would change many attitudes. Unless the personal experience, the pain and mental anguish of losing a brother in an LODD or seeing the grief it causes to their loved ones can be felt first hand or close to home; fire prevention will, as it has for over a hundred years in America, be a tiresome bore compared to the lure of fire porn. Fire prevention and fire porn are the proverbial devil on one shoulder vs. the angel on the other prompting the lure of fire fighting action or the wisdom of common sense prevention. Until we grow older and wiser, I'm not sure we can appreciate fire prevention.

FireRescue1 Offers

Exclusives

Connect with FireRescue1

Mobile Apps Facebook Twitter Google+

Get the #1 Fire eNewsletter

Fire Newsletter Sign up for our FREE email roundup of the top news, tips, columns, videos and more, sent 3 times weekly
Enter Email
See Sample