An open letter.


An open letter to the members of the Washington, D.C. Fire and EMS Department, as well as all readers/fans of RaisingLadders:

Every single
day, Iím damn proud to polish my boots and walk into the Academy with our patch
on my sleeve. Some donít understand why itís so importantóall the lint-rolling,
the posture adjustments, and shoe-shining can become annoying, for sureóbut
itís necessary. Itís necessary because these actions are the outward
representations of my place within something so much larger than myself. This
fire department has garnered so much respect from those who have walked through
these halls before me, and will inevitably continue to do so for years after
Iíve been forgotten.

This is it,
friends.
This is the show. Itís where we all strive to be; nay, itís the very reason
weíve trained and waited for countless yearsóand Iím here now. Thatís a pretty
monumental achievement, and I think it would behoove every recruit (as well as
all potential recruits) to keep that in mind.

That being
said, there are a few things Iíd like to state for the record regarding RaisingLadders.
Call it a disclaimer if you wish, but I feel that itís time to clarify a few
items before they become larger issues.

RaisingLadders.com
was created out of a desire to chronicle my adventures through the D.C. Fire
Department. Being accepted into the Training Academy was one of the most
pivotal moments of my life thus far, and it will forever affect me regardless
of where I end up. I had always planned to write about my time with DCFD (as I
greatly enjoy writing whether I have a readership or not), but it wasnít until
about a month before I started that I began toying with the idea of publishing
a blog.

Perhaps it was
set in motion because I wanted to let my friends/family know why I was getting
up at 4 a.m. every day; perhaps I just wanted a way to write stories and not
have an editor breathing down my neck (
ďÖbesides,
who would really read it anyways?Ē).

Iíve received
emails from people all over the country who have asked me about my experiences
as a recruit. Most are DCFD applicants themselves; others have asked if I
wanted to be featured as a guest writer in their own blogs. Iíve shared with
them as much as I know, with no opinions or negative influences. Again, Iím
extremely proud to be a part of D.C.ís bravest, and I expressed as such to
them.

I do not write
this blog with any slanderous motives; nor do I write with an intention to
ďblow this whole thing wide openĒóRL is
by
no means
a journalistic expose.

Iím simply
writing about some of the best years of my life, spent performing one of the
most exciting jobs in the world. I love to write, and I love my careeróthe two
couldnít be paired more perfectly.

I write to
share the new emotions I experience, as well as to discuss my excitement at
becoming a firefighter (something Iíve wanted to do since I was fifteen years
old). I write to share what Iíve learned each day, in the hopes that maybe
someone else will be inspired to do the same. At the very least, I hope a few
armchair adventurers out there can live vicariously through me.

If any
person(s) involved with DCFD (which includes, but is not limited to: IAFF 36,
administrative members, firefighters, instructors, recruits) has any problems
or questions regarding my writings,
I
invite you to contact me directly (raisingladders@gmail.com) and/or leave
comments on the blog.
I welcome your ideas, and would love to know what you
think.

I will continue
to uphold my anonymity, despite the fact that itís
really not that hard to figure out who I am; I feel that I should
respect those around me by keeping their personal information private (I, on
the other hand, have pretty much passed the point of plausible deniability).

I will do my
best to properly present the Department in an honest light; so far, it has been
an exceptional experience and I simply cannot wait to see what the next day
brings.

I thank all of
you for taking the time to read RaisingLadders.com; I pen it with sheer pride,
and I can only hope you have as much fun reading it as I do writing it.

Sincerely,

/RL

P.S. Ė In case
anyone was wondering, the name ďRaising LaddersĒ came to me in a bolt of
inspiration one day. Yes, I know that if Iím assigned to an engine, it wonít
make much sense (seeing as the truck companies are the ones throwing ladders);
however, it struck me as a very apropos phrase. Ostensibly, it refers to
firefighting operations; but I found it well-suited to describe the many steps
Iíll have to take in order to become a working member of the D.C. Fire
Department.

Where I am now
in life is like climbing a ladder; I take it one day at a time, and I try and
learn something every step of the way. 

1 Comment

  • BC JY says:

    Well said RL.
    I have just passed 20 years this month and the time FLEW by. I applaud you reflections and attempt to capture the rapture of the academy. I have had some fun rethinking those days in light of my recent milestone. I hope those that are not in the fire service read your blog, I hope those in the fire service read your blog. Keep it coming and good luck, keep focused, and stay safe.
    JY

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Alex Capece

Washington, D.C. Firefighter and Paramedic

FE Talk: Humpday Hangout

Comments
stephen miller
St. Baldrick’ Support a Fellow Brother Fighting Pediatric Cancer!
Great job, brethren ... be bald (bold) even off the fire ground.
2014-02-22 09:33:24
John Struve
St. Baldrick’ Support a Fellow Brother Fighting Pediatric Cancer!
As I read all the above I wondered "How does it work?" Are fire personnel asking for pledges from the public to be paid to this charity when the personnel have their heads shaved? The ad above was not clear to me. I will read it again. The charity is certainly a very worthwhile cause.…
2014-02-22 06:20:28
“Social Media Policy”óhow does it affect the bloggers? | Raising Ladders
A word of caution for the chronic Facebook addicts.
[…] over three years ago, I penned a post regarding how firefighters and EMS providers were landing themselves in hot water by using various […]
2014-01-07 17:55:57
Jonny Hope
Farewell, brother.
So very well said Brother. Mike was such an awesome guy. Sure am gonna miss him and his stories. Mike touch so many people on and off the job. Mike will continue to live on in so many of us. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful tribute with us about Mike. 
2013-12-04 21:49:48
Scott Jones
Farewell, brother.
A Very toching tribute from a true brother. Thoughts and prayers to his family and his brothers and sisters in DC.  Scott Jones, BC Springfield, MO
2013-12-04 19:38:25
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