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  • 08/26/2001
  • WildlandFire.com Team
  • 0 Comment

Hi guys……just one of those nights (3am) so I decided to write my letter to the editor but instead decided why not go to the top…..so here is my letter to President Bush. My husband just said as soon as the President realizes who I am married to, he will call right away,,,yea right. Of course I will formalize it and include our names and address…… Ya never know…
August 26, 200
Dear Mr. President,
I am writing to you as one parent to another to ask for help. Our son is a wildland firefighter. He is a vibrant, strong, intelligent young man who has chosen a career that is so dangerous it is incomprehensible to most of us. I don’t understand his excitement, his dedication, but I support him. (My husband and two daughters are also in the fire service.)
I know exactly the moment he made the decision to fight fire. I accidentally took a picture of him when he was 18, standing in the glow of red hot flames as they consumed our neighbors’ home. To us, that picture is worth all the words ever written about the heart of a firefighter. He has spent the past four plus years training. He spends hours and hours going to classes instead of being out with his friends. He absorbs every bit of wisdom he can from the men and women who personally know what he faces and also want him to be as safe as possible. I thank them for this.
These young Americans are super trained. They are following in the footsteps of people who have been on the fire lines. Safety is taught over and over. It is mentioned in every briefing. It is drilled into them at every opportunity. They practice repeatably. Firefighters are taught to think and react. They know how to save themselves and their co-workers. I know he is safer on the fire line than driving to work.
He is one of thousands of young men and women who right now as I write this are out there in the dark, on some mountain or desert fighting an enemy that is more unpredicible, more powerful, more deadly than any army. According to the National Incident report there are over 22,000 firefighters in place today in the Western U.S.
When our son was little we bought the best car seat. We had fire alarms installed in our home. We have fire drills and have safety plans in place. Now I have to watch him leave our home knowing he is depending on a piece of inferior equipment he might be forced to use to save his life. I am talking about the famous “shake and bake”. The shelter. Just the slang name itself is scary.
The leadership in the fire service has known for years the shelters in use now are obsolete. They are inferior to the products that could be available if whom ever is in charge would act and get them tested and on the production line. We both know Mr. President that America can do anything. We can jump thru hoops faster than any country. We can also drag our feet slower than any country.
Our children are being injured and dying Mr. President. This is unacceptable to me and all the other families out there, who are also up at 3am worrying about their sons and daughters, husbands and wives. I have enclosed a bulletin about the fire shelters that I wish you would read. Someone has made this a complicated issue but what I understand is, we “MIGHT” have a new shelter model ready in 4 years.That is too long….this should have been done years ago.
We need to know this is not being treated like the “hurry up and wait” paper producing projects our government is famous for. Please Mr. President, help us give our firefighters the best. After all they give us the best.
(Attachment: Federal timeline for fire shelter testing, approval, production.)


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