Covid, Courage and Firefighting

Eric Lamar
3 min readOct 31, 2021

Let Me Get This Right

The public says of firefighters “They run into a burning building when others run out.”

It’s a reference to the fear of the unknown which firefighters routinely push through during an emergency.

(Fear of the known is addressed through training, discipline and experience.)

Fires and other emergencies are dynamic, each with unknowns, but crews arrange the available facts, create a plan and move forward.

Sometimes the risk is quite substantial, the danger real.

Firefighters accept, even embrace the “we run in…” and it becomes part of the elan or style of the job; it has a whiff of the Foreign Legion about it: different, exotic, fearless.

The Legion

But then came Covid-19 and suddenly, the tiniest risk is not to be tolerated.

Frightened by our own shadows, we are.

It’s a “let me get this right” moment.

You’ll take a window out with a ground ladder, climb it and belly-flop onto a spongy floor with fire rolling overhead to search for a trapped infant but a vaccine is just to risky?

Sorry, mate — something else is in play and it’s not fear of negative health effects.

Covid-19 vaccine refusal has become a surrogate opportunity to express dissatisfaction over the state of affairs nationally.

Our union has disguised the issue as one of failure to negotiate.

On-duty FDNY firefighters even drove their rig to a nearby NY State Senator’s office and accosted the staff in a scene reminiscent of the U.S. Capitol on January 6. Their action is a textbook example of anarchy brought to you, in part, by union officials riling up the knuckleheads.

Ladder 113

The IAFF and other unions are pandering to a disgruntled minority and putting members at risk by advocating for the right to refuse the vaccine and remain on the job.

IAFF President Kelly Firing Up the Troops.

IAFF leadership promotes a workplace where members are continually exposed to the virus unnecessarily and worn down both physically and mentally by the workload.

Planting the IAFF flag on the quicksand of negotiating vaccine acceptance in a pandemic that has killed at least 66 members is evidence of a profound leadership failure.

It’s the politics of appeasement when lives are at stake.