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Fire Departments Are Famous For Their Many Traditions

Gossip and Small Talk

There is an old axiom that goes something like:  people who talk about others to you, will talk about you to others. At a time where fire department operations are under close scrutiny, this is not a time when we should engage in personal attacks on one another. Fire departments are famous for their many traditions. Grapevines, social media, informal communications links, and back room talk are one of those “traditions” which should have died an expeditious death decades ago.

Many point to this “tradition” in humor. They trivialize the cruelty of these personal attacks as “small talk”. But these are dangerous and dark paths we take. I am reminded of the following warning when I hear members of a fire department engage in this unsavory “tradition”.

The title: Gossip

Remember me?
My name is gossip. I have no respect for justice.
I maim without killing. I break hearts and ruin lives.
I am cunning and malicious and gather strength with age.
The more I am quoted, the more I am believed.
I flourish at every level of society.

My victims are helpless. They cannot protect themselves against me because I have no name and no face. To track me down is impossible. The harder you try, the more elusive I become.
I am nobody’s friend.
Once I tarnish a reputation, it is never the same.
I topple governments and wreck marriages.
I make innocent people cry on their pillows.

My name is gossip.

Author – anonymous

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Comments - Add Yours

  • Fire Critic

    Chief I agree with you on your thoughts except for the “social media” comment. Social media has so many positive aspects.

    Sure, there are some trolls out there that utilize social media as a way to gossip and spread rumor, but to vilify the power of social media is irresponsible.

    So many fire departments are utilizing social media to spread their word, brand their department, connect with their citizens, and stand out among others.

    Social media is not something that should have died decades ago. It wasn’t around decades ago…and it will be here decades from now.

    Rhett Fleitz