On September 16, a columnist published an op-ed piece about a change to firefighter work schedules in her city. She disagreed with the increasingly popular 48/96 schedule, in which firefighters are on duty for 48 hours straight and then have 96 hours off. She called the schedule "cushy" and said she wanted to be a firefighter because of all of the "perks" of the job as she sees them:
"Spend on-the-job time buying groceries, sleeping in the station most nights, polishing up the fire engines, exercising, playing cards, and getting handsomely paid for all this."
This from a person who likely spends her days pecking at a keyboard in a climate-controlled environment, the greatest hazards of which are paper cuts and bad coffee, and then goes home every night to her family...
The thing that irritates me the most is that this writer apparently didn't make any effort to actually find out what a shift in the firehouse entails. She merely spoke with "a few" firefighters and a city official about the new schedule (all of whom supported it), and then proceeded to throw her tantrum anyway.
If you want to disagree with something, fine. That's your right. But you'd better present some hard data to back up that opinion if you expect to maintain any sort of credibility with me. As far as I'm concerned, this person has none, which is why I refuse to print her name or link to her article in my blog. Just Google "firefighter cushy job" if you want to read it.
Of the more than 350 comments, most took this writer to task for her "disrespectful" and "condescending" attitude as well as her "embarrassingly lazy journalism." A firefighter union official wrote a rebuttal which did lay out the facts nicely. Over my next few posts, I will endeavor to make a similar effort because I feel it's important for the public, and for writers, to know exactly why being a firefighter isn't the "cushy" job that some people - people who are determined to remain misinformed - want to think it is.
I'll start with two brief facts: Firefighters know the risks when they sign up for the job, but that doesn't mean their deaths should just be accepted as "one of those things." In the eleven days following publication of the opinion piece in question, at least seven U.S. firefighters died in the line of duty. The 15th anniversary of 9/11, which saw the deaths of 343 FDNY firefighters, occurred just five days after this article was published.
How's that for cushy?
How's that for cushy?