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Fall or Slip?

Words are important

At a house fire in Charlotte on Thursday, did a firefighter fall into the roof as this Statter911 story recounts, or did he slip on the roof as this FireNews story recounts? Which verb is most accurate, and does the particular word even matter?

There's a video of what happened, and readers can (and perhaps already have) commence merrily second-guessing the story writers. Of course, this isn't really apples to apples. The Statter story was posted earlier, and draws from news reports. The FireNews story came later, and includes information from the CFD PIO.

But this begs a larger question. How important is word choice, in communication about unusual (or significant) events on the fireground? It depends on the purpose of the communication, as well as the outcome.

Choosing your words carefully can downplay or overplay an event. You can minimize or maximize a reaction, by the amount of words (the detail) and you provide. This applies to anything from a quick e-mail note, to a fireground incident report, to a formal press release, to, ahem, a blog post about a fire.

Readers, what have you liked or not like about particular words when they're used in stories about fires? Just be alert of the impressions formed within you. As you rise in the ranks, so will the opportunities for wider and more impacting "wordsmithing." Anyway, here's the video. House fire on Eastway Drive. Member of Engine 3 was quickly rescued by crew. No injures. Good to hear.

Fireman falls through roof while fighting house fire

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From Bill and Mike:

Mike Legeros is a long time friend and unofficial photographer when we are at the Firehouse Expo.

Runs a North Carolina fire blog. Based in Raleigh, he is an author, historian, photographer, buff.

Check him out on Facebook

Comments - Add Yours

  • mr618

    Either you guys are getting REAL popular, or there’s a problem with your stat counter… 1.2 BILLION reactions?!?

    • http://www.firegeezer.com/ Mike “FossilMedic” Ward

      Amazing, ain’t it :)

      • Legeros

        Give me even a tenth of those as trackbacks and we’ll be somewhere…