We have to change the culture of the fire service, McNeil said, calling for a cultural shift away from mandatory firefighter education. At the federal level, agencies such as the FBI and Department of Homeland Security have already begun, but in McNeil’s words, a monthslong process. He said he has more of an issue with university and college acceptance than firefighter training. He wants fire departments to focus on preparing and maintaining crews that are lean and mean and will answer the calls that come in.

That, he said, is the problem. The lean firefighter isnt the problem, the fat one isnt the problem. The firefighter that has to change is the one that has no job but that has to be convinced that there is work, meaning there is a job available.

This isnt to say that everyone has to be a member of the department, McNeil said. Every department has the same members. Focus on what you can do and what you can do safely and the rest will follow.

McNeil said his proposal is the opposite of what the FD has been saying. Theyre worried about offending anybody and want to protect their jobs, he said. Theyre not really concerned about doing their jobs and theyre not really worried about doing their jobs in dangerous conditions. The problem is, they dont trust the profession to tell them what to do.

Theyre afraid of being embarrassed or being hurt. The members that will suffer most are the ones that have to change, McNeil said.

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