09/22/11 323 W - + 7 - 6 Trees, Rules, Safety, and the Prank Video

Dave Statter's been providing ace coverage on the Macon-Bibb County prank video incident. His postings have generated upward of a 100 comments, over a trio of postings. After a few days of reactions-- and reactions to reactions-- below was my thought on the matter (posted to this posting), and an extrapolated perspective on fire service decision-making. Good point or just too much analysis? You be the judge. And what's up with that wacky tree metaphor...

With a couple days worth of reactions to the prank video (and reactions to reactions), we can tease some nuances out of the situation. Safety appears to be the primary reaction to the thing. Somebody could get hurt. But some others seem to put the greater wrong on the filming and posting. Somebody could (or will) get in trouble. Maybe this is fire service decision-making in a nutshell?

Why do you grab your reflective vest, before stepping out into traffic? Choose one: (a.) Because it may save your life. (b.) Because that's what the rules say. (c.) Because you might get in trouble for not following said rules. And maybe add, say, (d.) Because you're leading by example, and want the younger or less experienced members to wear their vests and (e.) Because you don't want your peers or the outside world thinking that you don't take measures for scene safety.

You get my point.

Same line of thinking can be teased out of the reactions to the video. Just about everyone is screaming Danger Will Robinson!  Most seem to see a potential for physical injury or worse. But maybe more than a few are looking past that– hey, firefighting's dangerous, hey, firemen play rough, etc.– and seeing the real harm involving "getting caught."  If a tree doesn't wear PPE in a forest fire, does the absence of getting yelled at mean it's still okay?

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