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Controversy in Philly: Union says department is punishing heroes with burn policy. Commissioner says it's about safety.

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From KYW-TV, firefighters are upset over a Philadelphia Fire Department policy about being burned on the job. The union says heroes are being punished instead of praised. The fire commissioner says it's about safety.

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Comments - Add Yours

  • Neil

    If this is progress then I'll take tradition any day of the week.  This is not the fire service that I signed on for 15 years ago.

  • Mark Story

    I'm so glad to know that I'll still have a job if a house expodes or a flashover burns my ears,our mayor would buy me a meal and thank me for all I did.This is by far the stupidest company policy I've ever heard.Now if he ran in without his scba or his helmet on it would be a different story, but please someone please throw thumb tacks all in front of this fire commissioner and trip him please.

  • Dirk D

    My 1 cent – I am a career firefighter, and have been for a stint. It appears more and more that, the people in charge from the chief, to the commissioner on public safety, or what ever you – we – may be calling them, are so far OFF the reservation, it makes me want to VOMIT. Firefighting as a profession, is probably, in itself – SAFER than it ever has been. BUT, the job is still dangerous; it says that right in our GEAR, Firefighting is an inherently dangerous job that you can be killed, etc… As far as rushing in, yes no maybe so… You can be all buttoned up, like a new baby in a blanket, go into a fire and your hood, gets moved, pulled for a dozen reasons. Burning embers could go down the back of your neck, etc; the list goes on and on. They, the POWERS that be, whoever they are, basically want you to stand in the yard and do nothing. More and More, They do not have our BACK… What a disappointment, it is truly sad. And if the pace continues, you, we, are just going to say F###-it, let burn, because nobody, meaning them – CARE. In the end, the one whom will suffer the most, are the citizens paying our salaries, or funding the volley house. That 30 seconds that could have saved a life, will be LOST. I have seen it a few times in my career, with my own eyes, that a couple seconds made the difference for a child,  Hold your heads high my Brothers from East to WEST, you are my HEROS.

  • SFC

    The fire commissioner says it's about safety.  What a MORON!!!!

  • Anonymous

    What is this job coming to?? I guess soon we will all be standing outside.

  • Ray Mickol

    That has to be one of the most insane things I have ever heard. No more needs to be said.

  • Fire21

    My Dad played semi-pro baseball way back when.  One day he was instructed to take a pitch for a possible walk.  Instead he swung clear and hit a home run.  In the dugout, the coach railed on him for disobeying orders.  But that was it.  He wasn't sent to another team!!
    If, and I stress IF, this firefighter used his gear improperly, then give him a verbal reprimand.  If the behavior happens again, send a letter of reprimend.  But move him to another station, just because?  Gimme a break!!  How better to decrease moral than to mistreat the troops!!

  • Mike

    Why do I feel like we aren't getting the whole story. Is he being disciplined for not wearing his hood and getting burned or did he have it on and still getted burned? How was he not wearing his PPE for which he is being disciplined?
    I do think being transferred is overkill.

    • Anonymous

      All PPE was on and donned properly. The tag in the hood state's injury may occur with this hood on. If that was your family being saved you would think this FIREFIGHTER being transfered  is overkill 

    • Anonymous

      Your hearing the whole story mike and he did have his hood on…anything else u wanna know

      • Anonymous

        Just because you have it all on does not mean you will not get nicks.

        • Mike

          Thank you Anonymous. I didn't see the part in the story about him having his hood on. I am in complete agreement that the city is doing wrong then throwing firefighters like this one under the bus and I still believe that transferring someone is overkill.

  • Jonah

    There is a great Garth Brooks song about this policy, let me start it for ya….Standing outside the fire……

  • Gabe

    We have been cautioned that if we FAIL to wear our issued protective gear that workers comp could cut benefits by 15-20 percent. Let me reiterate the FAIL part. I think that it is acceptable to cut benefits because we don't wear what we have been given. If we wear the gear and the gear fails us it is covered. However, if we "forget" to put it on or leave it at the firehouse you are taking the risk that should you get hurt you may have to foot part of the bill. This burn looks like the nomex was not pulled over the mask all the way. That can happen to the best of us in a high speed rescue event. It would be intersting to see the whole story and not just the edited bits and pieces

    • itsallsix

      Way to help the comish with his investigation "Brotha".  Before you speculate about how a man was burned while rescuing two people, howabout asking for a full investigation that proved he wore the PPE improperly or that it didn't become dislodged?  It seems to me that if he wore it improperly or disregarded it he would have been burned alot worse.  Have any members of Da Club been disciplined?

    • at a loss

      You, "brother", are exactly what is wrong with the fire service today.  Instead of praising a brother for saving to lives and doing his job with citizens wellfare above his own, you sit cowardly behind a keyboard or in your office questioning his actions.  If you want to help come back to the field and spend a minimum of 5 years in the real trenches then go back to the office to make decisions.  You sir are a cancer upon this great profession and should be shunned as such.

  • Fire3man

    Their chief must be related to LRB.

  • Old head

    Saving money under the guise of safety.  I like it.  Safety nazis unite!  Is all management this truly stupid!?  Good thing the world ends this year in December.

  • Former Chief

    I too think the transfers and discipline are overkill.  Did he not wear his hood?  Is this a recurring problem in Philly that such a strong stand is being taken?  Maybe someone from PFD can shed some light on this issue.

    • PFD Member

      7 companies were closed in 2009.  3 additional companies are "browned out" daily.  (This represents 1/8 the dept. from when I came on.) Since then, FF injuries are up 400%.  The city wants to cut these injuries; what better way than to discourage FFs from reporting them?  The FF had his hood on, and I'll allow that MAYBE he didn't fully cover his mask with it – it happens.  More likely, it got dislodged in the heat of action – it also happens.  Also possible – he could have been burned with no evidence of any damage to the hood, even with the hood properly in place; it says so right on the warning label in the hood itself.  ???

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  • R2

    We used to call these burns "racing stripes". They are very common, even when a hood is being worn.
    At it's core, this is a basic failure of leadership. Leaders, as opposed to administrators, take care of their people – especially when their people are taking extraordinary risks in order to save lives.
    The fire service has changed a lot over the last couple of decades, not always for the better. 

  • JBfromDC

    No Jonah this should be a Johnny Paycheck song take this job and shove it, face it folks it's not the job we grew up with .CS is the name of all these BS Chief's some of them were never called F/F's anyway and now they run the show, what a joke,glad i'm retired

  • ukfbbuff

    My 2 cents rom California.
    This is Stupid. The firefighter did his job.I
    If his equipment was damaged or failed, then disciplinary action is not warranted. (The transfer in itself may be legally challengeable). I can't see where in 2012 one would not wear all of their PPE.
    Recently it was reported that the "Weakiest Link" is the SCBA Face piece. Maybe a further review of our PPE "System" is the Flash Hood, where their is a gap between the upturned collar in some sytles of turnout coars. This may be a factor to look at.

  • Tower5Ladder

    This is absolutely ridiculous!  Thats got be a huge morale killer for the fireman in a great Fire Department that does work on a daily basis.   Not to mention the fact that all the safety sallys, and the do-nothings, now have another reason to stand in the front yard and pretend.  SMH……

  • Stuart

    For 18 years I've rode on a box as an EMT/Paramedic…I've seen a ton of firefighters injured THROUGH their proper gear…especially around the hood area where they don't seem to get the promised protection. I can not believe this story. What a load of crap!

  • Lineman

     Firefighters get injured and sometimes burned THIS IS THE JOB, too many sissy's have wanted to get into the fire service and then change the rules to suit them because they are afraid. If you aren't ready to give up your life in the line of duty to save another get out of this service and go be a nurse.

  • Frank

    It just goes to show how out of touch chiefs are when they use transfers as discipline. It shows that they aren't firemen anymore and have no idea what it is like to be in the firehouse working. Shameful and disgraceful that they would go so far overboard. The man saved 2 lives! This isn't a factory job where every injury is a failure of safety procedures, this is firefighting in a building you've probably never been in before. Firemen WILL get injured even when they do everything right.

  • Anonymous

    This is ayers vision of a culture change within the PFD.  He can claim risk management decision, but it's to break the traditional mentality of aggressive operations. My understanding is he spent most of his career in an office and has no real ff experience -just as the dcfd /FEMA administrator. I could be wrong but  with the antagonism of the rank and file and his social engineering  by dumbing the entrance test to the 5th grade level, why the guys continue to do interior attack should be brought into question. 

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  • Anonymous

    I don’t care if his hood was on correctly or if he ran into that building naked. That fire fighter should never, NEVER have been transfered for doing his job. He did his job. He saved 2 lives. He got hurt in the process of protecting someone else’s home. He should be praised, not punished. Whoever is running that department needs a lesson in humanity. He also needs a lesson on how to do his job.