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Picture of exhausted firefighters from Australia goes viral. Thanks come in from around the world.

AU tired firefighters

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A couple of days ago we were talking about what the public thinks of firefighters. We all know it is at a time of crisis that your stock usually rises. Sometimes all it takes is one image to sway public opinion for the good or for the bad. The picture above of exhausted firefighters napping taken by Phil Hearne of the New Castle Herald, is reminding the world what firefighters in Australia are going through trying to deal with devastating wildfires.

This picture has gone viral. It has been seen by millions worldwide and drawn in hundreds of thousands of comments. One can imagine in our world of Compulsive Outrage Disorder, that some people out there will see the picture and the phrase “crew taking a nap” and jump immediately to the wrong conclusion. Thankfully the public figured this one out and the CODers haven’t raised their ugly heads (though I think I just gave the Call The Cops website a new idea for a bogus article).

Ashleigh Gleeson, New Castle Herald:

THEY worked through the night in horrific  conditions to help save Catherine Hill Bay  from flames but these firefighters don’t consider themselves heroes.

Hundreds of thousands of people across the world beg to differ, after an image captured by Newcastle Herald photographer Phil Hearne was posted online and went ‘‘viral’’ at the weekend.

The photo, which shows exhausted Wallarah Rural Fire Service brigade members sleeping on the road at Nords Wharf as flames lap close by, has been seen by 3.7million people on Facebook.

Matthew Jones-Power, 24, was one of the  crew taking a nap on Friday morning. It was his first break  since 2.30pm on Thursday.

‘‘That was pretty crazy, we just stopped for about two seconds to catch our breath,’’ he said.

‘‘We were waiting for the fire to come up to the road; we needed to take a break when we could.

‘‘It had been non stop for about 24 hours.’’

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Comments - Add Yours

  • slackjawedyokel

    That’s # 18 on the “watch out ” situations . Yep been there ,done that. Just wondering , do they have chiggers in Australia ? I know they do in Alabama. Found out the hard way when I took a nap.

    • Rob

      Yeah, but they’re called scrub itch mites/bugs. Not very common in the very dry areas and much less of a concern compared to the snakes, spiders and drop bears.
      Keep up the good work NWS RFS brothers!

      • slackjawedyokel

        what the heck is a drop bear ?

        • mark

          Close relatives of heffalumps and woosels. Not to mention jagulars. (I apologize if I misspelled, it’s been awhile since I’ve read Winnie the Pooh to my kids)

  • Capt

    Rest quick Brothers, the fight must continue!!

  • AbsoluteReality

    Sleep in the Green and you could very quickly become black..

    Sleep in the street and you could quickly become road-pizza.

    Kind of DUMB after surviving a deadly fire scene…

    • Rob

      It’s a still picture buddy, not a video. They’re not sleeping, lol, read the accompanying text.

      • dave statter

        Actually I believe the caption says they are sleeping.

        • Rob

          Ok, that’s fair. However, I give more credibility to the quote from one of the guys who says “we just stopped for about two seconds to catch our breath”

  • John

    Lets be honest. Three of them are laying down/asleep, one is sitting down, with a hose line in hand. And at least 3 – 5 others are walking around/watching the situation. Is the really a danger? Not really. I think again the KIC’s are making a bigger deal out of something that is really a non issue. Even if those 3 guys are asleep, is it really that difficult for one of the member who are awake/alert to awaken those guys in case of a situation shift?

    • AbsoluteReality

      Maybe and MAYBE NOT.!!!!

      Additionally, these unsafe practices could become a habit.
      Especially when toxic gasses are high.. as in fire smoke

      “It’s Always been Safe Before … What Could Happen.???”