“The fire service has institutional memory. We learn by telling and retelling stories. We learn something new and as a group we change.”
What is the cost of not knowing the truth about our past? That cost is ignorance, and in our business ignorance is the most dangerous foe we will ever face. We must see things through the same eyes. If we don’t start telling each other the truth, the next time could be our last time. If we cannot be honest in revealing the facts surrounding accidents and line of duty deaths then we might as well not talk about them at all.
I’m not particularly religious, but I hear that lying is a sin. So is killing. The more we lie, the more we contribute to future accidents, injuries, and death. The lies that we pimp as truth today, either in print or through oral history, are the seeds of tomorrow’s disaster. The more we cultivate them by perpetuating falsehoods the deeper the roots go. It is very difficult to uncoil the roots of what we are led to believe. They can grow into tumors knitted into the fabric of who we are.