Wednesday, February 24, 2016

"How Do You Open the Door?"

It's been more than twenty years that four former and current emergency first responders decided that it was time for a quality TV show about the brave men and women of the Fire-Rescue services. We started by working in the new television genre called, "reality." We went through three complete iterations and pilots. However, unless you lived in the Middle or Far East, you never saw it. Although it's said that "imitation is the best form of flattery," one cable network actually took our format to produce their own show. Sure, we used some legal wrangling to stop it, but it certainly didn't advance our cause.

Since then, we developed numerous treatments for many different types of shows that all involved the fire-rescue service. Then, several years ago, we decided that maybe reality television had evolved beyond a format conducive to this type of program. Instead, we developed a limited series drama, still about the fire-rescue service, but with key elements that have worked for many of the top television dramas of the past and present. We even secure the cooperation of the city and fire department where the show would be "shot." This show would not only entertain, but educate as well. There's no doubt that is would score a bulls-eye in the desperately sought demos of advertisers. Plus, with over one million firefighters, plus EMT's and paramedics, plus their coworkers, family and friends, a multi-layered audience is assured.

Thus the title of this post, "How do you open the door?" Sure, we understand that every Tom, Dick, Jane and Harry are scrambling to send in their pitches to every broadcast or streaming entity. However, sometimes you have separate the chaff from the real kernel and see that there are some excellent ideas that come through. We've gone so far as to write the entire pilot script and outlined a three-season, limited-series run for the show. Twelve episodes a season for three seasons.

Listen, no one knows better than we do that we are not big name producers with lots of credits on our resumes. Yet we've tested both the synopsis and script with dozens of folks both within the field and civilians. Every single reaction has been, "excellent - 5 stars."
What's the problem? The problem is that firefighters are only "popular" after a major incident. We see a great rescue or major fire on the news and everyone  ooh's and ahh's. The next day, the firefighters are the root of all the budget problems facing the community.
Unlike most of you who might be reading this post, the men and women of fire-rescue, whether they are career, volunteer or paid-on-call, risk their lives every single time that they answer an alarm. If you have an emergency and dial 911, you want them there immediately no matter what they were doing when the bells rang.

Or maybe it's because too many people believe that firefighters have a real cushy job these days. True, the numbers of fires are lower than twenty years ago, however the ones that do occur have become much more serious due to the materials being used in them; let alone the several hundred-fold increase in EMS calls, where fire-rescue personnel are first to respond. 

All we are asking for is a chance. A chance to present the concepts, synopsis and script for a compelling drama that blends some of the most successful TV themes with the fire service. If you'd like to read either of our documents, drop us a line as
Posted on my LinkIn(R) page this afternoon.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Answer is No!

A quick note to announce that Amazon Studios notified us today that, after evaluating, "CAUSE & ORIGIN," they have taken a pass.
Our thanks to the 30 people who, in the last 30 days, took the time from their busy schedules, to support our endeavor.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

"Are You Kidding Me!? You Want Me to Do What?"

Firefighter Health Initiative 2016

Do You Have the "Guts" To Do It?

As firefighters, a lot of folks look at us with a special eye; they often see us a heroes. Most of the time, like the gentle folks that we are, we brush it off saying, "Thanks, but I was just doing my job." However, some of us, actually see our selves as heroes. Big, strong, brawny men; tall, strong and fit women, who climb any ladder, hold onto a powerful and wild firehose and other feats of great prowess. There's almost nothing we won't do. Except one.
We hesitate and often refuse, to take care of ourselves.

Thanks to so many of our great fire service leaders and many of our fire-related organizations, some of us are beginning to not only hear, but listen to their message. Just as we are not impervious to injuries and even death from flames, from smoke and from falls, we are not impervious to the most insidious disease that wreaks it terror on man and animal alike: CANCER. And it doesn't discriminate whether you're career, volunteer or on-call, neither does it matter if you're still on the job or retired.

As of late, there has been a good push for those of us still active on the job, to be more aware of what our PPE looks like. We all remember the each time in our careers that we received brand new PPE, clean beige, clean black, clean mustard-yellow, clean white. Not anymore. It's dirty, grimy, smoky, covered in all types of burnt residual material that very likely contains numerous carcinogens. 

All too often, we've used our dirty, grimy, filthy PPE as a badge of courage. We can no longer afford to do that. We must make a real effort to create a set schedule for making sure that our PPE is cleaned to the standards set by both fire and health officials. Good, but that's just one step. 

Here's another. Although the American Cancer Society recommends that both men and women have their first colonoscopy at age 50, it might do us well to realize that our chances of developing cancer are greater as firefighters as are those of "Joe," the barber or "Nancy" the owner of five pack & ship centers. No one can deny that even with our PPE, we still average a higher exposure rate to carcinogenic material that our "friends" mentioned above. And with that in mind, we never know what type of cancer we may be diagnosed with. Just one quick review of our dearly departed brothers and sisters who worked on the 9|11 pile and the vast array of cancers that they suffered, should be enough of an incentive for us to be proactive.

I'm not a doctor. But I will tell you to speak with either your fire surgeon or your personal physician and ask him/her what their opinion is regarding when to have your first baseline colonoscopy. And let's not forget that the dangers are not just from our jobs, but from all the crap in our food, water and environment. Sure, everybody is exposed to that, but we have that extra exposure from our work. Put them together and you'll start playing, "Go to the head of the class!"

I've been off the "active" job since 1985. That was pre-AIDS, pre-BioHazards, pre-gloving & masking, etc. However, since my late father worked for major supermarket chain up north and was a former meat cutter, we ate steak every Monday night, meatloaf every Wednesday. On the weekends, we had plenty of eggs, white bread and real butter; not to mention real ice cream (frozen yogurt?) So, I was concerned when I had to go for my test.

I was concerned for what might be found, I was concerned about the "horrible, painful" ordeal I was about to go through. But you know what, it was all hype! That's right, there was no pain, no discomfort. The cleansing plan was relatively easy to follow and no, I wasn't running to the head every 10 minutes!! 

And when I went in for the test, your put under with what is called, "MAC" anesthesia, which stands for Monitored Anesthesia Care, otherwise knows as "twilight sleep." It's a very light sedation. You have no idea of what's being done. Best of all, you wake up clear-headed and bright, if if you have a great nurse like we did, she'll yell, "You wanna go home" Fart for me! As soon as I hear you pass gas, you're out of here. So start farting!"

Listen, what we do is dangerous enough. We've know that from day one. And it didn't stop us. We joined up anyway. But you can't shirk your responsibility to your family and loved ones, as well as your comrades and your job. Just do it!

BTW - one small favor: If you haven't made it over to Amazon Studios to help support our effort to get a really great show about the fire service on TV, please do. We really need your support. It doesn't cost a penny. It takes just a few minutes of your time. 
Just head back to the list of posts on this blog and find the one with the instructions on how to give us your support. 

Till next time...

Stay Safe and Every One Goes Home!


Thursday, February 4, 2016

Seperation Anxiety??

A strange title for a blog about firefighting, eh? Read on and let's see if some of you will know what I'm talking about.

First though, we do need to give you a reminder to please visit our Amazon Studios Profile Page. There, you can read all about us and the show and most importantly, leave your comments and a 1-to-5 star rating. Your comments can make the difference if Amazon will pick up the show! Thanks!

"Now, back to our program..." 
I've been out of active firefighting since 1985, after starting in 1977. That means that I've been out for a long, long time. I left for two reasons:
1. My injured knee (after three surgeries since 1978 at that time) prevented me from being on the front line. I was "reduced" to handling video for the department on drills and calls, a town Fire Marshall and a member of our Fire-Police unit. I truly enjoyed all three!
2. We were relocating to South Florida in the City of Hollywood, which has a career department. There were still a few volunteer departments, but none of them close enough for me to be an active member of any type. 

At the start, it wasn't too bad. We had never lived in Florida before and I was in a new job. The first few months kept me busy and focused, though maybe not one hundred percent.  You see, I was still keeping a BLS jump kit in my car, just as I had for the previous eight years. And for some reason, I wound up showing up at a bad scene right on time and was able to render emergency care until first responders arrived. And after a few months, when life had settled down, I started missing the "Red Devil."

I've often used (or overused) the old saying, "You can take the boy out of the firehouse, but you can't take the firehouse out of the boy!" And I use it because it's true for a lot of us. I miss being a firefighter, being an EMT, being a first responder. I miss the camaraderie, the joking around, the practice, the learning and the excitement of the response. 
If you're still young and active, skip this next paragraph! If on!

Now, you....yes YOU! Get up and walk over to the nearest mirror. Look at the person in the mirror. Watch carefully as he/she looks back at you. Now ask the image, "Do I miss the old days or have I put it all behind me?" So, what was the answer? I know what it was and what it will continue to be. The answer is, "Yes!" 

What to do about it, is the next question. I can't answer that for you, but I can tell you what I've done. And when you finish reading this post, go back through this blog and read the earlier posts. I, along with my best friend (whom I had met at the first fire department where we volunteered in NC) decided the fire service deserved to be on television. We started our company, Dalmatian Productions, Inc., with but one aim, to create a reality show about America's Heroes: The Men & Women of Fire/Rescue. Catchy phrase, huh? Good. That was actually the name of our first show. Along with our two additional partners, Tom and Jesse, we've all kept this goal in mind ever since then. And though we've had to let go of the "reality" aspect, we're still working hard to bring a fire show, a damned good fire show to TV.

But that's not all I've done to "feed the beast." For example, in every city I visit I attempt to visit at least one firehouse. I stop in, say hello and chew the fat for a short while. It brings back the good feelings. I feel like "one of the gang" again. 

And to really drive the stake in deep, I did something much worse, I wrote a book about my first four years in fire-rescue. I'm basically finished with the writing and now in the process of editing. I've included a lot of the experiences I had there, the good calls, the ones that sucked, the dangerous calls and the fun times in the firehouse. 

The funny thing about editing what you've written is that your forced to re-read it over and over again, correcting errors, adding missing words.....and reliving all the stories all over again. And again. And again.

And it's through this exercise that I've come to the conclusion that there's absolutely nothing wrong with how I feel....with how you feel, if you're in the same position I've been in. You know, we're very lucky to have done what we did and what we loved. 

Stay Safe and Remember, Every One Goes Home!