The men and women that serve as firefighters put their lives on the line every time they show up at a fire. They train for months and years to know how to think and react in the reality that they have to fight a real fire.
But there are moments when a firefighter has to defy all odds and regulations to save another person’s life. Even if doing the right thing turns out to be the wrong thing to do in the eyes of other people.
Captain Daniel Thomas Dwyer is under fire because he decided to reenter a fire and save the life of an elderly woman. The senior was in her home when a fire broke out. His life was in jeopardy when Captain Dwyer showed up on the scene.
Dwyer was put on a team that was supposed to search the home for people and other life that was in danger because of the fire. Other firefighters were assigned to put the fire out.
The rumor was that the lady was still inside the home when the fire got burning. The trouble started when he disobeyed orders and entered the home risking his own life.
Sallie Skrine was the 95-year-old person left to die in the fire. But Dwyer rushed in and got her out. The sad reality is that they could not revive her.
And this is when the trouble started for Dwyer. The policies of the station were broken by choice by Dwyer and now he would face suspension because of his heroic act.
The complaint that was filed against Dwyer stated that he was going to be suspended for four days because he did the right thing. The complaint read that “You entered the structure without your crew members which are in immediate conflict with no freelancing, accountability, and maintaining crew integrity.” The policies are there to protect the men and women that serve.
The Fire union that is led by Paul Gerdis is pushing back against the suspension. He states that it sends a message that is not favorable to the fire station. He maintains that at some point there needs to be exceptions made for those that make quick decisions because time is crucial. The life of Skrine was on the line.
Dwyer is a hero in the eyes of his fellow firefighters. His commander may even be grateful that he did what he did that day, but it still does not mean that order has to be maintained.
The actions of Dwyer sends a message that it is ok to defy the orders and commands of those in charge. The rules are in place to protect everyone. Even though a suspension was handed down Dwyer is still a hero.
The commander of the station stated that the suspension is created to “encourage safety and order.” The commander is right about what he has stated. The suspension does not send the wrong message, but it encourages everyone to obey the rules for their safety.
There will always be the exception to the rule when a decision has to be made because life is on the line. But that does not mean that punishment has to be ignored.
Fire Chief Randall B. Slaughter has stated that “It also seeks to establish clear expectations in both emergency and non-emergency situations. At this time, it would be inappropriate to publicly discuss individual disciplinary cases that have not been resolved.
The City of Atlanta has a process in place where each employee is afforded the opportunity to appeal proposed adverse disciplinary actions with the Civil Service Review Board.”
Dwyer is a hero in that he risked his life to save another person’s life. He knew the consequences and yet proceed to put his own life in danger. Sometimes it is right to do the best thing for another person.
The men and women that serve the country by volunteering their time to fight fires, patrol the borders and protect abroad deserve the full support that they are getting from President Trump.