Reconsider Your Photos
I have a comment regarding the photo by Michael J. Coppola that appears on the cover of the January 2014 issue of Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment. I would ask that you and your staff pay closer attention to detail before using a picture like this as a moniker for some apparatus manufacturer. I have always found many of the articles in your publication both educational and useful. I am using this photo as a training session at our department on what not to do at a structure fire!
Both Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and, I am sure, state or department rules are violated over, and over, and over. The photo depicts active fire in the center of the picture. There is one firefighter shown on the second-story roof to the left without helmet or gloves on. Really? He appears to be yelling some type of communication to the guy on the ladder. What, they have never heard of radios? The next firefighter is seen on the ground ladder without a helmet, gloves, or structure coat. He must be the hero firefighter since he doesn’t believe he has to wear his mandatory OSHA-required gear on the fireground. So when he falls off the ladder or it slides out from underneath him, what do you tell the widow when he dies? And finally, the superhero on the aerial with his designer shades and his bottle of water looks like a nice pose for some friend-no gear whatsoever! They call this professional firefighting? These actions are why every single month the fire service is burying firefighters or reporting another “close call.”
I understand this fireground scene had absolutely nothing to do with your magazine or your staff. But please, show some professional responsibility and do not publish photos that are so completely offensive to the men and women of the fire service who do it right every day. This truly is an insult. If you do not have a professional staff level fire officer to review photos such as this prior to publication, I would gladly submit my name.
Dennis D. Fouchia
Lenox Township (MI) Fire Department
Associate Editor Chris Mc Loone responds: Whenever a nonstaged photo is considered for a cover, there is a possibility that those in the image could be captured in a less than flattering light. With that in mind, the photos we choose focus on the apparatus operating at the scene of a fire. However, the advantage of using such images means that personnel are depicted in real-world environments. We encourage all readers to take cover photos and use them for teaching purposes.