Vulnerability

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“What a profound thing it is to call for help. How astounding, the number of people fate allows to float through this life never once confronting their own mortality. One of the benefits of the fire and rescue business, if you will have it, is a near-constant sense of vulnerability. A recognition that at the […]

Peace and Chaos

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It’s Sunday morning in Dade County, Florida. I’m working on Engine 66 and so far, before noon, we’ve run on a woman suffering from delirium tremens due to alcohol withdrawal, a “male having a breakdown”, threatening to kill himself and his wife, and a sweet 93 year old lady born in 1921. So much for […]

Career Day

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A few weeks ago, I and my fellow friends, Susanna Oatmeyer and Kalynn Cresse attended Career Day at Kendall Lakes Elementary in Miami, Florida.  Although we are all certified firefighters with MDFR, we appeared in the garb of our different roles: Firefighter, Special Ops Helicopter Pilot, and Special Ops Flight Medic .   We staged […]

The Academy

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My recruit class was an experiment.  Miami Dade Fire Rescue needed firefighters and in an attempt to put two classes through simultaneously, sent my class, 99, to a neighboring county’s academy. Let’s just call it BFE.  (This was ten years ago and instructors & attitudes may have changed). BFE wasn’t a big fan of ours […]

A Firefighter’s Parade

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I am not a parade kind of person.  I find peace and solitude far more appealing, (which does not explain my choice of careers, I know!) yet I wanted to find a place where Triple F’s Fabulous Female Firefighters could come together from across the country and have a chance to meet in person. Somewhere […]

Triple F MindSet

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Triple F is a mindset.  An attitude.  It’s a determination to forge our mind, body, and spirit into an indomitable flame. Indomitable means “impossible to subdue or defeat” and flame is pure energy and light, so I find indomitable flame an inspiring metaphor for human potential.  To become this indomitable flame means taking the path less […]

Browned Skin Girls and Belt Buckles

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One thing I love about the fire service is its deep tradition and emblems of brotherhood.  Representations of our trade abound linking us all as a common tribe.  Generally, though, the figurative images tend to be white and male.  In America’s earlier days the Irish were fierce firefighters and I appreciate that, but as they […]

Bring Your A Game

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One day, many years ago during the fire academy, we had to search for a downed firefighter and then drag a dummy out of the tower.  That part was relatively easy.  Getting it back up numerous flights of stairs was another story.  I remember standing at the bottom of the tower with this enormous hunk […]

Triple F 2013 Recap

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Inspired by my Mother’s recent passing in late March of last year, I founded Triple F-Fabulous Female Firefighters!  In that time our membership has grown six hundred strong.  The beginning of a new year is upon us and now is a fitting time to look back over our past accomplishments.  So many of you have […]

Safelight: A Novel by Shannon Burke

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Safelight is the spare, haunting story of Frank, a young paramedic and amateur photographer working the streets of New York in the 90s.  It is a time of crack wars and blazing neighborhoods, and Frank responds to a constant stream of carnage with disconnected apathy, shooting meticulous pictures of the injured and dead while his […]

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