How Far Would You Go?

Recently a member of a fire company was fired.

During the investigation, several members were, indirectly, accused of throwing this member “under the bus.”

LT Lemon’s post The Brotherhood is a Lie got my creative juices flowing on a  number of topics, including this one. It’s really about levels of trust. You’ve heard the saying, “trust is earned” right? I would say that the “Brotherhood” is a level of trust that you have with the people on your company. If someone violates that trust, they have violated the brotherhood.

Trust to do what, though? Trust that they will be doing their job correctly? Trust that they know what needs to be done and it just gets done at the right time? That they will back you up when you need help? Trust that they will get you home safe or won’t put your job at risk by their own stupid action?

How far would you go to perserve that trust? Would you protect someone with a lie to preserve “the brotherhood?” Think about that one.

I offer you this to think on: If they were true to the brotherhood to begin with, then you wouldn’t need to lie.

I have been hanging around fire stations and firefighters for about 12 years. I didn’t grow up in it (my dad was in recreation management) so I kind of had to learn about it as I went along, and that’s my theory. Why should I have to lie to cover up something someone knew was wrong in order to protect them? Part of the brotherhood is not unnecessarily putting your brothers at risk, and a lie to your employer runs the risk of termination, which no one wants.

It is a great disservice to ourselves and the people we protect to purposely lie to protect someone who puts others at risk to convienece themselves. It is the ultimate in selfish behavior. Those people should be identified and corrected, and if they can’t be corrected, they should be removed. I have worked with companies I wouldn’t trust as far as I could throw them and not because I didn’t like them personally, their work ethic and knowledge of the job convinced me that if it came down to it they couldn’t peform. I hear that all the time, “he/she’s a good guy/girl/person.” My answer is almost always “yeah, but evidence has shown he/she’s not a good firefighter/EMT/Paramedic/brother/sister.”

Here we call them “slugs.”

I wouldn’t lie to protect a slug, and I shouldn’t have to.

If you haven’t, go read LT Lemon’s post, the comments, and the links to other commenters on his post.