Welcome to Turn Out.

First, a hearty thanks to Bill Schumm, a.k.a. Firegeezer, and Mike Ward, Fossil Medic, for their support and nearly infinite patience over the past year as I learned the “blogging ropes.”

Turn Out: It’s a phrase we are familiar with.  It conjures up images of a dash for the rigs or a turning on to the street.  The masthead graphic calls up the rich history of firefighters turning out over the centuries well before steam, combustion engines or horses, even.  For us, it has come to mean both the act of responding as well as the gear we wear.

Of course, it means other things too: how many people voted (what was the turnout?), and being tossed out of the bar on your ear (We turned’em out.)  It also refers to a wide place in a highway where a vehicle can turn left or right.

So, in keeping with the various definitions, I will endeavor to provide some variety here, too.  We might even talk about an election along the way, and possibly even veer to the left (or the right.)  Being predictably unpredictable is much under-rated.

If you are joining me for the first time, I suppose the briefest of bios is necessary.  I became a volunteer in 1971 by employing the dubious tactic of lying about my age. (15) Later, I served as a career firefighter for 22 years and retired in 1998.  I also worked at the IAFF beginning in 1999.  I retired from there in 2010.

I have now blogged enough to figure out that generally speaking there is an accepted range of thought and views in our community and that if you get too far outside that range you will be called out.  I have on occasion been called a contrarian (a person with a preference for taking a position opposed to that of the majority)  There may be something to that.  (I have also been called just plain contrary.)

But, I also think the contrarian label is pinned on people who may be inclined to take a second or closer look at some of the ideas or positions we hold sacred, as in sacred cows.  The lack of tolerance for alternative views does not necessarily bode well for a profession where mistakes can be fatal, literally.  I guess being stodgy is the price we pay for protecting our grand tradition.

As I write these words I am  struck by the fact that out of all the images I could have chosen to illustrate the blog I went for the oldest, and by extension the most traditional, that I could find.  Perhaps that means I want things to be progressive except when it suits me to have them traditional.  If so, I am in good company with most of the firefighters I know.

Till next time.

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