THE CREDIBILITY CONUNDRUM

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We can’t all fight the volume of fires that some of the larger cities do, and if you don’t, please don’t act like you do! Some of the best instructors I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting are volunteer/part-paid or work full-time in smaller departments – and they teach excellent classes despite not having a structure fire every shift. The one thing they all have in common is they know who they are, where they come from, and what they know (and what they don’t know), and teach accordingly. Firefighters are extremely insightful, intelligent, and perceptive people and we see right through a poser. The quickest way to lose credibility is to pretend to be somebody or something you’re not.

The medals don’t make the instructor!

STAY FIRED UP!

Click link below to see more of Paul’s work or to buy prints:
http://www.artstudioseven.com/page-LE_Prints.htm

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DEADLY LUCK

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You walk into a department store and pick up that brightly colored shirt you’ve been looking for all over town. However, on the rack you notice a sign that reads Caution: Clothing Contains Known Carcinogens. Would you still buy the shirt? Would you wear it proudly and post a selfie posing rebelliously by the warning sign? My guess (and hope) is that you are saying no! Yet all too often we don our PPE with all the filth, crud, and grime from previous fires knowing what that dirt represents. We can no longer claim ignorance to the dangers not washing our PPE can bring, and the studies that show an increase in certain cancers when products of combustion are absorbed into our skin.

Benzene, carbon monoxide, hydrogen chloride, hydrogen cyanide, and other toxins/carcinogens/pathogens are just a few of the hazards we face when PPE is not properly cared for and cleaned. Is looking “salty” worth an incurable illness later in life?

If you have the facilities to wash your gear – WASH IT! If not for you, then for the family who wants to keep you around a long, long time.

STAY FIRED UP!

Click link below to see more of Paul’s work or to buy prints:
http://www.artstudioseven.com/page-LE_Prints.htm

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HUG ME!

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As an artist who has studied human behavior for the better part of my 49 years, I can honestly say “huggable moments” are a societal issue more than a generational one. It’s easy to point our fingers at the Millennials and Gen-Zs for this, but as an instructor for the past 15 years I can tell you that the Gen-Xs (my generation) are not much better. Let’s face it, we as a society have been taught, and have taught, that everybody gets a trophy (notice I didn’t say earned a trophy) and if you don’t get your way, well it’s time to pout, bitch, moan, and file grievances. No wonder we have such a messed up, politically correct, and politically insane environment – unfortunately, we did earn that!

Let’s all put on our big boy and girl underpants today, and move on.

STAY FIRED UP!

See more of Paul’s work or buy prints here:
http://artstudioseven.com/page-LE_Prints.htm

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WRONG KONG

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Yesterday was International Women’s Day, and I want to give a special shout-out to all our sisters out there doing the same job as us guys – yes, I said same! To show my support, I posted a painting that puts focus on tough women on Facebook, and the response has rustled up some spirited conversation – and emotions. Unfortunately there have been some shortsighted comments that prove women still have much to tolerate in this male-dominated profession, not to mention a few vile suggestions that I received via personal messages – you should be ashamed!

So, as I’m known to do when riled, I put pen to paper. This is a cartoon I created out of outrage, contempt, and frustration for what our sisters must still deal with. Men, enough – we can no longer be the gorilla in the room! I think most of us get it, but based on what I’ve read and heard over the past two days, some still don’t.

I could write more, but it would just be more of the same rant, and quite admittedly writing is not my strength. So, I have asked Chief Becki White to share her thoughts. I have known Chief White for a couple of years now, and she has proven to be one of the smartest, most dedicated, passionate, toughest, and biggest advocates for training that I have met, and I am damn proud to call her my sister! She is an inspiration not only to me, but to women in the fire service everywhere, and it’s an honor to tag-team this post with her.

Chief White… the floor is yours.

Since the 1600s, the term “firefighter” has been used to describe the people who risked their lives to save the lives and property of their fellow citizens. Many people don’t realize that there were women in the fire service as far back as 1818, and that there were all-women companies by the 1900s. Yet, even today, I get asked the most absurd questions about being a female in the fire service. “Do you have to take the same classes that the men take?” “Do you really get to drive the truck?” It used to annoy me that people were discounting my abilities like that, but I realized it was a reflection of our society. We have to work, united as a service—brothers and sisters side-by-side—to change that perception.

We need to celebrate the women who are in the service, give them opportunities to share their skills and talents so they can excel.  We shouldn’t be granting any special opportunities or breaks that we wouldn’t provide anyone else, because it just discounts the view of women across the fire service who could – and DO – meet those standards every day.  It reinforces negative beliefs about women and their contributions to the fire service.  Men aren’t often evaluated on the failures of other men, but as a woman, I hear story after story about other women who couldn’t cut it.

Discounting women’s roles in male-dominated fields isn’t new. In fact, our culture perpetuates it. We can deny it, but it’s there. Expectations on what women bring to the table are deeply rooted in our culture, those “traditional” and “nontraditional” roles that women should or shouldn’t occupy. We use terms like mailman, policeman, and fireman; even though they aren’t meant to exclude, they do. Phrases like, “throw like a girl” are used to show that the throw (in this case) doesn’t live up to standards.

It shouldn’t matter whether you’re a man or a woman, full-time or volunteer. What matters is if you’re a firefighter, you have a desire to be the best, and you surround yourself with the best.

__________________________

STAY FIRED UP!

SHARK TANK

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Today’s political climate is spiraling down some dark and uncertain roads – the kind of places our mothers warned us to never walk! Aside from the highly contentious presidential race, there are thousands of local elections this March and November that will shape local agendas and how many fire, EMS, and police agencies will be ran for years to come. And regardless of what many pundits like to boast, this is still a democracy where people get to choose their political leaders – so come to the fight armed with information and knowledge – and then go out and vote!

STAY FIRED UP!

See more of Paul’s work or buy prints here:
http://artstudioseven.com/page-LE_Prints.htm

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