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2/4/02
Cara Dagenais
Montreal, Quebec

i am having an argument with my brother in law...he seems to think that woman are not given equale training in firefighting and in the army, like they make it easier for us...what i would like to know, becuase he wants statistic proof that woman and men are treated the exact same way throught training...is to know if woman and men are equaly treated in the training program.
thanks very much

((You would want to contact the International Association of Firefighters in D.C. They should have
statistics on gender. If you are looking for stats specifically from the Oakland Fire Department, you can call their training division.))

1/17/02
Terry Ericksen

Dear ITVS,
I have been a volunteer for Cowlitz 2 Fire and Rescue for 8 years, and had been an intern for three years durng this time.I currently operate the engine at our station as an engine leader. I have a fire science degree,EMT-B, Rescue Diver certification,
Wildland cert. (DNR),140 Hour Hazmat on a Technician level, State certification to work drug labs, Water rescue, Ship board fire suppression, Advanced fire investigations, a 6 year vet USMC force recon, and a graduate of multnomah county sheriff Reserve academy. I am a 38 year old white male 6'1', 238lbs. in excellent shape. I have tested for 40 different departments have even made it 4 oral boards, I still have not made it into a career, and I feel I am running out of time to become a career fireman. The bottom line is I will always be a part of the fire service paid or not for my heart is in the fire service. What amazes me is how a person that has this type of back ground verses a young person just out of high school who can take a fire test with virtually no experience and ace the test, become a fire fighter and virtually have no common sense when it comes to being out on the fire scene. Now you have waisted all this money and training on someone who is not even sure this what it he or she really wants t
o do for a career. It seems to me that as far as volunteers puting in endless hours on top of having a job and supporting a family and volunteering their time because they love the fire service are often overlooked for people who recieve a job in the fire service thinking that the fire service owes them instead of giving of themselves. It seems to me that a person should be hired based on how much time, dedication plus certain types of education and vast training for this should be what inspires departmental hiring procedures.I have seen how departments have changed where it becomes a battle for rank rather than priority to help others. We as firefighter and medical personnel need to remember those who have fallen before us and have dedicated their lives throughout history so that we are able to be better safer firefighters with dedication and honor.September 11th is a day for all of us to remember for this was the day that changed all of our hearts, souls, and our spirits and brought together a lost nation that in fact was dorment and now awake for the need of human heroism and compassion.I love being a fire fighter because I can make a difference and ease human suffering in their emergency situations. If all I can be is a volunteer I accept this with open arms for I know that my heart is in every response to the alarm. May God bless those who have fallen before us.
FF.

11/26/01
Ryan Kelley
New Melle, MO

I am writing in response to a opinion posted earlier.I am a ten year veteran of a volunter fire district. I have been involvedin plenty of "heroic" situations. The patients and victims are the oneswho use the word "hero". I have never heard any other firefighter callanother firefighter "hero". I don't do this job for recognition. When youare driving your vehicle down a secluded country road at a reasonablespeed and a deer steps in front of you, you swerve, lose control and hit atree, regain conciousness, pick up your cell phone and call 911, EXPECTINGsomeone with a level of training and expertiese to come and remove yourbeloved vehicle from you so that we can transport you to the hospitalbefore the broken leg causes you to bleed to death, so that your wife andthree children can see you in a bed instead of a casket. That is why I dothis. 911 is not some magical potion that makes emergency services appear.The commitment to training and education everyday that makes us appearmagical. Next time you get to go fishing with your father after his last he

11/26/01
Chris
Capac, MI

I am a part-paid FF/MFR (soon to be NREMT-B) in a rural MI community. While we do not have any women on our FD at present, other neighboringFD's do. I have had the pleasure of working on the fireground withneighboring departments on mutual aid calls, and I have never found afemale FF who couldn't handle the job. I have seen female FF's hump acharged duece and a half with the best of them. Truthfully, I refrainfrom distinguishing between male/female FF, since we are ALL FF... and anintegral part of being a FF is trusting another FF with your life, andbeing prepared to risk your life for them should the situation arise. There is no room for male or female identifiers in the fire service. Ihave taken EMS classes side-by-side with female peers and would gladlyride in a rig with them... since all FF & EMS personnel are held to thesame demanding standards, we ALL make the grade when we pass our state FFI& FFII exams and hire on. If I go down in a burning building, I couldn'tcare less about the
STAY LOW ~ BE SAFE!!

11/6/01
Sarah Fields
Maryland, outside of DC

Today there are many successful female firefighters and law enforcementofficers. Some even choose to be both. The tests are a challenge bothphysically and mentally and not just for women either! In my policeacademy class of 60 to start, we finished with 46 and all of those to dropwere men! I was supprised to see how unfit most of the men really were. Ihave been in the fire department since I was 16 when I started as and EMT,I am 25 now. I never considered that I might be able to be a firefighter.

However, my desire to serve and grow with my department lead me to beginmy training as one. I loved to workout! Granted, I am 5'5" and when Istarted I only weighed 120lbs but I was determined to be better since atfirst as an EMT they would not even let me lift the stretcher! I had toput on full gear everyday and practice with the highrise pack, shoulderload, in order to even get it up on my shoulder. I had to start with afolded up 50ft section of hose, running up and down 4 flights of stairs,then adding another section to equal 100ft of hose, thenfinally 150ft of hose. I was finally able to do it and in less than time than required! It is all in the practice and technique. Then when we did it in class-it was a man who passed out while carrying the hose up the tower!Not all women are suited and not all men are either! It takes guts, drive, determination, strength AND hand holding to be a real firefighter. I hope J.C. and others like him read this and change their attitude.(p.s.- Once I even out bench pressed another guy and I have never benched more than 90lbs!)Anyone wishing to contact me may do so at red_bull22@hotmail.com.

10/1/01

most firefighters i see are arrogant cocky white guys who like bustin uppeoples property with axes, or startin fires so they can be the first onethere

10/1/01
Merrie Beth
Hilton Head Island, SC

Many Fire protection agencies have adopted the Candidate Physical AbilityTest (CPAT)which must be passed in order to be considered for employment. Any individual can apply. This ensures that those that protect yourfamily have the physical endurance to do so. By the way, JC, it includesa 165lb Rescue Randy drag. They don't test hand holding in any portion ofthe test. An increase in diversity means encouraging those that seek tobe involved and can meet the physical standards to apply, not loweringstandards. There are many people in the Fire Rescue business who spendday in/out training, studying maps, improving processes and building theteam that may some day come to your house/life. I'm not sure how everyonedefines 'hero', but I'd imagine if it were your house or your familymember, those in this business would fit into that realm.
Merrie Beth
EMT
Beaufort County, SC

9/28/01
JOHN C.
PORTLAND, OR

WHILE I DO ACKNOLADGE THAT IT CAN BE A VERY DANGEROUS JOB.ONE HAS TO REMEMBER THAT BECAUSE OF BETTER BUILDING CODES THEY SPEND MUCHMORE TIME SITTING AROUND THAN ENTERING BURNING BUILDINGS. THIS IS THEMAIN REASON THEY HAVE BEGUN TO ADD EMT SERVICES. I CAN NEVER CONSIDER AMAN WHO IS GETTING PAID GOOD MONEY TO DO A JOB A HERO. THEY ARE DOINGJUST WHAT WE PAY THEM TO DO. A HERO IS SOMEONE WHO DOES SOMETHING NOTEXPECTED OF THEM. J.C

9/28/01
J.C
PORTLAND,OR

THE VAST MAJORITY OF WOMEN LACK THE NECESSARY UPPER BODY STRENGTH TO BE ANEFFECTIVE FIREFIGHTER. THE EQUIPMENT IS TO HEAVY FOR THEM AND THEY POSEMORE OF A PROBLEM WHEN ATTACHED TO A TEAM OF MEN THEN AN ASSET. THEPLAYING FIELD WILL ONLY BE LEVEL IF AND WHEN NATURE DECIDES TO GIVE WOMENMORE PHYSICAL POWER. I'LL PUT IT THIS WAY. IF I AM INJURED IN A BURNINGBUILDING I AM QUIT SURE A MAN COULD CARRY ME OUT. WHAT WILL A WOMAN DO ?HOLD MY HAND UNTIL HELP ARRIVES.J.C

9/26/01
Brooks Johnson

I have known for many years that firefighters have been brave, unselfish and underrated and underpaid for all they give to their profession. They are a part of some of America's greatest heroes, as was so well documented in the recent terrorist attack on our home soil in the US. These men and women deserve so much more that than they have gotten and will ever get financially, therefore, that leads me to believe they are some of the most dedicated professionals in our country's past, present and future! I would also like to add that they be provided with every source of training and protection during these critical times!

I apologize for not expressing my feelings long before this time! I, too, need to express my sorrow over the loss of some of America's finest! I am so sorry and no words can express my deep respect and my wish to lift the burdens of the families that lost a loved one at anytime, most especially, those lost so bravely during the attack on our nation!

GOD BLESS ALL OUR FIREFIGHTERS FOR THEIR BRAVERY AND OUTSTANDING COURAGE AND DEDICATION! GOD BLESS AMERICA, OUR HURT IS DEEP AND OUR MEMORIES ARE LONG AND SURELY IN GOD'S PLAN FOR SUCH LACK OF RESPECT FOR HUMAN LIFE, HEWILL SEE THAT OUR DEBTS ARE PAID IN FULL MEASURE.

9/25/01
Jeanie Seawood
Saginaw MI

As so many Americans, I have become complacant and take A LOT FORGRANTED... Among those things, are public safety officials, Firefighters,Police Officers( I do live in a high crime area and have many friendsamong police, as do both my children, who are adults now and EMS people. After 9-11-01, I have grown to have enormous respect and admiration forthe Fire fighters, and the rest of the public safety peersons) who "run inwhen everyone else is running out" THANK YOU ALL FOR ALL YOU DO, and putyourselves in harm's way for those people you don't know and pput yourlife on the line each and every day that you show up for work, and show upwhen you aren't working...... You all make me Proud to be an American. MAY GOD BLESS YOU and keep you all in the palm of his hand and protect youin all your effortsUnited we stand and MAY GOD BLESS ALL OF YOU AND AMERICA AND IT's PEOPLE

9/25/01
Janet Fisher
Topeka ,Kansas

I grew up in a family of firefighters and policemen.My passion was being afirefighter. At an early age(10) you could find me see me guarding thehose at an intersection. Hose and coupling made different then. My unclewas a master mechanic.I followed him everywhere.After high school intraveling the USA and working, you could find me at at any volunteer firehouse, working fires. There is no better family to be with. I had the sametraining as paid firefighters. It was a site to see me straddle a hoseuntil someone showed to help. Sometimes you are the first and you usewhatever resourse at the time. After thirty-three years I had to give itup. While in the Army,I had several positions in volunteer Houses. InStraton Meadows the first one at the station took the dispatch so themechanic could make the run. In St.George, KS the site on Sundays we couldbe in Sunday clothes fighting a fire or in my case,if I had the chance, Iwould change on the spot into my uniform.One fire was twenty-eight hoursin heavy smoke with only a voice calling directions as to go to. YES WEARE A FAMILY and a PROUD one. My prayers are with my FAMILY. GOD BLESS USALL. I still get out and direct traffic when need be.My home isCharleston, South Carolina and the early 40's and 50's things weredifferent.

9/25/01
Meg
Princeton NJ

recruiting minorities subjects white persons to discrimination. if thefire department was looking for white males, minorities would rebuttlethat the tests were unfair and racist/biased.

9/25/01
MASHY
LANSDALE PA

UNSUNG
UNSELFISH
HEROES
COURAGE
TO DO YOUR JOB
TO CARRY ON
NO MATTER WHAT HARDSHIPS YOU ENCOUNTER
GOD'S SPECIAL FORCE OF ANGELS ON EARTH
GOD BLESS THOSE WHO RISK THOSE LIVES
TO SAVE OTHERS AND THOSE WHO HAVE LOST THEIR LIVES SAVING OTHERS.
GOD BLESS THE FIREFIGHTER.

9/25/01
Teri Doran
Harrison, NJ

I knew long before September 11, 2001 that firefighters are heroes every single day. I grew up running in and out of the firehouse around the corner from our house visiting my Dad. (And we all know that "Dad" is every little girls first hero.) Now I sometimes drop by to see my brother. (Who since we got past that sibling rivalry thing has also become my hero.) In my family we had a tradition. When Dad, and later Edward, left for work we all called out "No fires!" instead of "Good-bye".

Fire fighters are tough guys, sometimes a little charred, rough and crusty on the outside, but like a burnt marshmellow, soft and sweet and gooey on the inside. Ever watch them with little kids? Especially scared little kids at a fire scene or in an accident? Then you know what I mean. To this day, when I walk passed an old fire house, I inhale deeply to get a good intake of the scent of the old smoke and rubber smells that meant safety in my youth. As I read the pages in the web site of this link, I could smell it again.

Firefighters have always been my favorite people. They're a little bit crazy, they'd have to be to want to do that job, but unquestionably trustworhty and generous.

Take a look at this site, then pray for your local firefighters as well as the FDNY members lost last week and those working this week, and next time you see a firefighter, say Thank You. Maybe even wish them "No fires!".

Let them know we appreciate them.

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