Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah..."When Life Gives You Lemons,,,,"

We've all heard it dozens of times, right? From our parents and other family members, former bosses, spouses (or is that spices?) and of course, our closest of friends, who've probably never tasted a lemon in the last ten years because they're too busy drinking their frappa-lappa-miko-apo! And as tired as we are of hearing the phrase, it does have a ring of truth and the Wikis and other online files can deliver plenty of true tales. Sometimes though, you can't jump directly from the lemons to the lemonade; you just have grab the lemon and bag of sugar and move towards the new action. And that is exactly what we (Dalmatian Productions, Inc.) are doing. 

First though, a word of thanks to those of you who read this blog, follow us on Twitter (@Dalmatprod & @CAUSE_ORIGIN) and/or listen to the podcasts. Without your understanding and support, we probably would have thrown in the towel a long time ago. So please, keep it up!

Here's the story - As many of you know, we have working for over 20 years to bring a quality program about our great fire-rescue services to television. First we tried early reality TV; the days of "Rescue-911,"  "On Scene: Emergency Report," and several others. That didn't work.We tried again when "reality" grew up a little bit like, "COPS." That worked - only a little bit and only outside of the U.S. or Canada. 

"What else can we do?" we would repeatedly ask ourselves. Here you had four first responders who only knew about the "real" in reality. We didn't know anything else. That brought us to around ten years ago or so, when I was just browsing the Internet, just to browse, not looking for anything in particular. I found a fire story that I liked, read that and it led to a few more. I was just reading some reports of working fires, rescues, etc. Then, after almost two hours, I came across an article about the Philadelphia Fire Department. This I liked. Why? Because my wife's sister and her family have lived in that area for over 40 years and we had visited often. And during almost every visit, I would visit firehouses all over Montgomery County and the City of Philadelphia. However, in reading this article, I learned something new - the structure of their Fire Investigation Office and how unique it was.

Besides the Fire Marshal, there were some unique investigators in with he mix; a firefighter who had also been trained in investigative and forensic work, a full-time detective with the Philadelphia Police Department, who was assigned to the Fire Investigations Office, an agent from the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms) and his dog, who were assigned to the city and others. 

"WOW!" I thought. "This could be a great show!" Then I reconsidered. They'd never let us do a "ride-along" with them for a reality show. But....what if it wasn't a reality show? What if it was a drama? Initially, I didn't share my idea with my partners. I just tossed it around for a while, writing a page here, a page there.That was the birth of "CAUSE & ORIGIN." (and yes, we understand that today, the more common phrase used is reversed to "origin and cause," but that just does sound as good as our, older version!) Yet, with no leads, we didn't know what to do next.

The rest of the story until now, is history, as they say. We have tried for the last 2-1/2 - 3 years to get this TV show picked up for the production of a pilot episode. But that hasn't happened either.

Thus, about three weeks ago during one of our conference calls, our L.A.-based partner told us interesting news about some of his immediate past work on a movie, some people he had met and some others who had re-entered his life. And he pitched the idea that with no progress on the television front, let's try to produce a feature film-length movie. Whether it played in a theater or through a streaming service, wasn't important. We would do it. 

That is what we announced yesterday. We are going to produce a film about the fire service, by firefighters, hopefully, supported by firefighters, for firefighters and all other interested parties.

Interested? Good! Stay tuned!

Be safe and let's make sure every one goes home!


Saturday, April 8, 2017

Our Personal Health - Who is Really In Charge

We're living in a time when we seem to be fighting about the rights we are accorded by our Constitution. Some argue that our Founding Fathers knew all they needed to in order to create a constitution which would forcefully and clearly demonstrate that we had thrown off the mantle of Colonial rule and that our citizens would be free and equal. OK, maybe free. OK, maybe mostly free.

Two hundred forty one years later, it appears that we're using the amendments as weapons of war - against each other, more than we use them to actually secure the rights and freedoms I believe our Founding Fathers intended. There are the arguments about the First Amendment that is supposed to guarantee our freedom to speak...about any topic we choose, other than outright treason, and even then, to just talk about it, might be protected too!

Then there is the constant bickering over the Second Amendment - the right to bear arms. Some argue that we have the right to bear any arms we want, because the Constitution did not outlaw any weapons. Still others want to forbid anyone except for the police and military to have arms. And we are no closer to working on a solution that we are for a manned expedition to Saturn's sixth moon, Enceladus.

Now I come to the crux of the matter - who is in charge of our health? Since we all agree that we use the possessive pronoun, "our," the answer should be perfectly clear, each person is in charge of their own health! But ask yourself, "Is that really true?" Let's say you are an accountant. Would your employer have any need to assure that you are in peak physical condition? Other than wanting you healthy so that you may do your work, we would probably agree, "No."

What if you are a teacher in a middle or junior high school, teaching math? Would you agree that what applied for the accountant, applies here? What about an attorney? A mayor? A refuse collector? A computer programmer...and so on?

But what about a firefighter, a LEO and/or an EMT/Paramedic? Forget what you feel; would you still claim that you are in charge of your personal health? If you, then I believe you are in the wrong profession. Because these three professions need you to be at your very best physical condition to perform your assigned tasks. And there is the very real risk of a domino effect if you aren't!

In any of these three professions, besides all else, you have taken an oath to protect the lives of others. We all know the saying, "A chain is only as strong as its weakest link." So what happens in the middle of an emergency situation in which not only a citizen's life is depending on you, but your partner and/or colleagues are depending on you, and you give out? Now the dominoes begin to fall.

The victim is in more trouble, your colleagues have to stop what they were doing to cover for you. And now, either instead of or besides the initial victim, your colleagues have to start taking care of you. You mumble beneath the oxygen mask, "Oh, I'm OK, I'm just a little tired" as you try to sit up, but find you have less strength than a piece on linguine. You're not OK. 

Now, one team is rushing you to the nearest ER. To hell with the scene of the emergency, they are focused on you, taking your vitals, administering medications, driving quickly, but carefully to the hospital. You realize for the first time that the siren you hear is not getting you to the emergency, you're the emergency it is screaming for.

When the initial emergency is over, instead of going back to patrol, the firehouse or the rescue base, most of your coworkers make their way to the hospital. They are going there, because of you. They are waiting for news about you. And as they wait, slowly at first, then more quickly as the info gets passed around, they realize that  your emergency was not due to an accident, fall, burn, collision at the location, it was because  you were ill! As they realize this, they pause for a moment and look inwardly at themselves. 
"Geez, could that happen to me?"
"Wow! We're about the same size - we switch clothes all the time. Am I like that, too?"
"Damn, I can't remember the last time I really looked at myself in the mirror!"
"I've been meaning to stop smoking, really I have!"

And then silence. Everyone stands a bit taller, but looking down. No one knows how to look directly at your spouse as he/she quickly walks up to the sliding doors of the ER, carrying one child in his/her arms and hold the hand, almost dragging a second one. The doors close. All is quiet.

And then, the scream.

The rules and regulations of your job will tell you what your physical requirements are. And when you signed up, you met most, if not all of them. But today is now - not then! You don't meet those  requirements any more. You've stopped trying. Or you say, "I'll start doing some exercises next week!" Yet, strictly interpreted, you do not meet the departments qualifications any longer.

Could you be threatened with being docked a couple of days? Sure, but what difference will that make. You'll stay home, do a few chores, then do exactly what you've been doing for ages, that got you written up in the first place!