It is very rare that I look at Dave Statter’s page except to ridicule him and Rhett’s latest tiff they have with each other. This one caught my eye the other morning.
He basically mentions an article where the word “firefighter” was replaced with “safety workers.” He speculates that this is a new attempt or an approach to politically correctness. I would probably say that this is not the case and is probably more or less an attempt to show off a reporter’s vocabulary. But, it does bring up an interesting point that maybe have been attempting to roll ourselves into the “first responder” category instead of choosing to distinguish ourselves.
I think that these days, we are busy scrambling to save what pay and benefits we have left so we ally ourselves with others in public service in order to strengthen our own lines. What we get, however, is that we pay the same fate. If people think of just as “safety workers” or “public employees” we ultimately loose our identity. This makes a difference. If we allow ourselves to be projected as expendable, then we will BECOME expendable.
I would say that we that are having to fight for basic safety needs should make the distinction plain. We are not “safety personnel.” We are not “first responders.” We are firefighters. A group of public employees that perform specialized tasks (like police, but they’re outside my scope) and require specialized gear and equipment to perform those tasks, and should be set apart from others, as should the other groups be set apart in their own groups.