Those “cushy” jobs again

I checked the old site meter and found that a person had found my blog by way of a Google search for “cushy firefighter jobs.” Looking at the results of the search, I was lead to this page, over at free republic.

Even though I have done this before, there are a few misconceptions over there that I will address right now.

1 “Firefighters make $150,000 to $175,000 a year.” This is not true (I wish it were). In my area, firefighters make anywhere from $21,000 a year, up to $90,000. This varies by where you work. Obviously, a firefighter in Bug Holler will make less than a firefighter in Miami Beach. Then again, the same is true for waiters and hairdressers.

2 “Firefighting isn’t hazardous anymore, because the combination of flame resistant materials and breathing apparatus has reduced the risks.” This is not true either. The rate of firefighter deaths per fire has remained constant, and has even begun rising in recent years. Although the equipment is better, manpower cuts and other factors (such as building construction) have conspired to make firefighting a hazardous occupation. We are still killing 100 firefighters a year, even though there are fewer fires. Nearly every firefighter I know that has more than five years on the job has been injured.

3 “Several times during a wildfire I have seen a row of half a dozen engine crews standing around collecting overtime at a staging area.” Of course. Crews get rotated in and out of fire areas while they are working at a fire. These staging areas are valuable manpower pools, ensuring that the incident commander has available personnel to handle any emergencies that come up, and also serve to give tired crews a break.

4 “Firefighter/paramedics aren’t real firefighters” This is also untrue. A firefighter/paramedic is a firefighter who is also certified as a paramedic. This means that he has completed college to become a paramedic, and has also graduated from the fire academy. This allows the fire department to offer fire AND EMS service, thus making the fire department more cost efficient.

5 “The pay is too high because firefighters don’t have much training for what they get paid.” A starting firefighter has graduated from the fire academy AND is at least an EMT. This takes about a year. As you progress, you attend more and more school, and as your education advances, so does your pay. That is pretty much how ALL jobs work. Most firefighters (at least in my area) have at least one college degree. I have degrees in Emergency medicine and Fire Science, and technical certificates in rescue diving, Incident Safety, and Company officer. I am also an instructor in numerous EMS related disciplines. There are guys in the fire service who specialize in trench rescue, machinery and vehicle extrication, chemistry, psychology, and hazardous materials rescue. The more you learn, the more you earn. Just like any other job.

6 Another person complains about overtime. Most workers get overtime at 40 hours.
Under the LAW (FSLA), firefighters get overtime when we work more than 53 hours a week. Since we work a 56 hour week, there is a small amount of overtime built in to our schedule.

The problem here is that people like to complain about our pay and benefits, without really knowing what we do, or even what it takes to be a firefighter. Sure, there are guys in my area that make good money, and I think I am one of them, because I make about $19 an hour. Then again, I have 18 years of experience, I am well educated and qualified. I supervise others. Like most jobs, you earn what you are worth, and your pay is set by the market. I have earned degrees and attended school in order to become more valuable.

When you are having that heart attack, or you are trapped in your car, a collapsed building, or a burning warehouse, who do you want to come rescue you? The lowest paid, least trained person? Or will you want the educated, experienced, motivated professional with 15 to 20 years of experience?

You will get what you pay for. If you think our job pays so well, and is so easy, why aren’t you doing it? Look at other jobs with similar experience, education, and working hours, and you will see that firefighting is right in line with them.

Sucks to get old/ be clumsy

I was unloading some heavy supplies from my pickup yesterday, and I fell from it and hit the ground. Hard. From four feet up. I landed on my right foot, and I hard a loud crack, at the same time feeling my knee let go. Let me tell you, that is a special kind of pain.

I had one of the guys that was over drive me to the local emergency room. Four hours later, I left the ER in the knowledge that my leg was not broken, and a referral for an ortho. Having just gotten home from my ortho appointment, I can now tell you that I strained my patellar ligament.

I will be out of work for 4 to 6 weeks. Good thing I never take sick time, so I have plenty to spare.

Roberta, the SCHIP, and Kelo

Seeing RobertaX’s Blog and her comments about “the village” paying for “free” healthcare are in keeping with my earlier comments on the subject. The feeling that Uncle Sugar should be paying for whatever it is you want this week, be it healthcare, welfare, your retirement, food stamps, whatever, has been going on for years.

Hearing people complain that the Kelo decision and how wrong it is that the court allowed the government to take private property and give it to others makes me laugh. Whether it is New London using eminent domain to take my house and give it to a business, or it is the IRS taking my money to hand out healthcare, welfare, or whatever the cause is this week, my property has been getting taken for the profit of others for my entire adult life.

I’s a Gansta, yo!

Last night, I ran a call on a woman who was, to use the medical term, “coo coo for Cocoa Puffs.” She, along with her 19 year old son, came in third in a physical altercation involving themselves, some random citizens, and the police.

During the altercation, a gun was produced by one of the actors, which caused the police to show the others all of the cool guns they possess, and some bumps and bruises were administered. That is where I come in. We arrived to find mom and son lying on the ground, with police everywhere.

The son yells things like “I’s a gangsta, yo!”
“I’m cool, like 69 degrees, yo!”

Complete with baggy pants, blue gang bandanna, underwear hanging out, and his toy gun.

I pointed out to him that flashing toy guns at people with REAL guns is not a very smart thing to do, unless one WANTS to be like, 69 degrees, yo. As in assuming room temperature.

Reporter arrested in Miami

A Miami reporter was arrested this week, for carrying a weapon on school grounds. He had a concealed weapons permit. There are a couple of problems with this arrest.

1 The law he was undoubtedly arrested for violating was 790.06(12), which states (in relevant part):

No license issued pursuant to this section shall authorize any person to carry a concealed weapon or firearm into…any elementary or secondary school facility…

Which would seem to make this a valid arrest, until you look at the statute like an attorney, At that point, you see that the legislature treats school facilities and school grounds as two different animals. See 790.115(1) (relevant parts):

(1) A person who exhibits any sword, sword cane, firearm, electric weapon or device, destructive device, or other weapon… at a school-sponsored event or on the grounds or facilities of any school…

The legislature could easily have said grounds, had it meant grounds. Instead, it chose to use the word facility. In fact, looking at the definition of “Educational facility” in 159.29(22), we see that facility DOES mean buildings:

(22) “Educational facility” means:

(a) Property, limited to a structure suitable for use as a dormitory or other housing facility or a dining facility, that is operated in the public sector and used for or useful in connection with the operation of an institution for higher education…(snip irrelevant language)

(b) Property that comprises the buildings and equipment, structures, and special education use areas that are built, installed, or established to serve primarily the educational purposes of operating any nonprofit private preschool, kindergarten, elementary school, middle school, or high school…


Even if the court decides that this reading is incorrect, it is only a Class 2 Misdemeanor. I don’t even think it will get that far, however. Because he was arrested on the sidewalk in front of the school, this would not in any way constitute the “facility.”

The second problem I have, is that since the weapon was concealed, and the reporter safely on the sidewalk, the police officer in this case had absolutely no probable cause to search him to FIND the weapon in the first place. This entire arrest smells. Perhaps this reporter was reporting on things the local gendarmes found offensive.

Cheapness

I teach classes. I teach CPR, ACLS, PALS, PHTLS, EMT, and Paramedic. I also teach the instructor courses. I had a woman call me today (from a daycare center) who wanted an adult and child CPR, AED, and first aid class for 10 of her staff. This class takes all day, and requires 2 instructors, as well as books and training materials. I quoted her a price of $400. That works out to $40 per student.

The books and materials cost me $20 per student. That leaves me with $200 to pay myself and another instructor, as well as all of my other overhead. She was angry over that, and says I am too expensive. She says my competition is less than half of what I charge. I pointed out that they charge extra for books and materials, so the end price is the same.

She wanted to pay $15 per student. I told her that I can’t do that, so she hung up in a huff.

Whatever, I can’t afford to GIVE my time away.

Sex with Robots

A major news outlet, and they are reporting National Enquirer style news.

“My forecast is that around 2050, the state of Massachusetts will be the first jurisdiction to legalize marriages with robots,”

Wow, think about it- I can get all of the tax breaks of marriage, the robot won’t cheat on you, and will never steal the remote. the article goes on to say this:

“If you have pedophiles and you let them use a robotic child, will that reduce the incidence of them abusing real children, or will it increase it?” Arkin asked. “I don’t think anyone has the answers for that yet — that’s where future research needs to be done.”

Keeping a robot for sex could reduce human prostitution and the problems that come with it.

However, “in a marriage or other relationship, one partner could be jealous or consider it infidelity if the other used a robot,” Levy said. “But who knows, maybe some other relationships could welcome a robot. Instead of a woman saying, ‘Darling, not tonight, I have a headache,’ you could get ‘Darling, I have a headache, why not use your robot?'”

Then the article goes on to talk about how the scientist is writing a paper on the ethical treatment of robots. You have got to be kidding me- the robot equal rights movement is born.

Early resolution for the new year

Since it has become apparent that we are about to get us a shiny new president, and all of the front runners for both parties seem to be anti-gun, I am going to see if I can buy one gun a month from now until inauguration of the president.

So, that is 15 guns to buy between now and January of 2009. Anyone else wanna try this with me?