When someone calls you a “firefighting nigger,” you know it’s a compliment.
It’s a way to say, “Yeah, you’re a firefighting niggas.”
But what does it mean in terms of firefighting terminology?
According to the National Fire Protection Association, the term is used when someone is trying to save the life of another person.
“The term ‘firefighting’ includes all types of activities performed by firefighters in order to provide protection to the public, including fire fighting,” the association states.
“In general, it means the effort to provide a safe and comfortable environment to a person in distress.”
“There are a variety of terms that can be used to describe firefighting, and many are common in the industry, including ‘firefighter’, ‘man’ or ‘fireman’,” says David A. Hagerty, a fire safety expert and former firefighter in California.
“There is no common definition of what it means to be a firefighter.”
In the early 2000s, Hagerity worked as a firefighter in Orange County, California.
While there, he says he saw firefighters “fight fires in very dangerous conditions, often in the heat of the moment.”
Hagery says the term “firefighter” is “a broad term that covers many different types of firefighters.”
“I would say that ‘fire fighting’ is often used as a generic term for any type of fire fighting activity,” he says.
“Firefighting includes everything from fire fighting with a hose, to using a ladder, to a fire extinguisher.
But the definition of ‘fire’ is really subjective, and people have different definitions.”
Hagersty says when firefighters are asked, “Do you think you are a fire fighting nigger?” most people answer in the affirmative.
“But it’s not the only term that people might use to describe someone who is a firefighter,” he adds.
“For example, if you’re working in a building with a sprinkler system, people might say, ‘Yeah, I like to climb up the sprinkler hose, I just like the sound of the sprinklers blowing.’
Or you might use a specific word that you can’t possibly know what it is that they’re referring to, like ‘the fireman.'”
When a firefighter responds to a call for help with an extinguisher, they may use the term, “I am a fireman.”
But the term doesn’t mean the same thing when it comes to rescuing someone from a burning building, says Hagergy.
“It’s not always clear what they’re really referring to when they use ‘fire,’ so it’s really hard to say what the correct terminology is,” he explains.
“So if someone wants to call you a fire fighter, that’s great, but don’t call them a firefighter.”
When you’re talking about someone who’s working in an apartment building, or a home with a lot of heat, you might say “I’m a firefighter for heat” and then quickly change to “I work in a firehouse,” or “I don’t smoke.”
If someone is working with the intent of saving the life or limb of another human being, you may use “I fight fires in order for people to live.”
If you’re calling someone a firefighter when they’re in an emergency, and they are trying to help someone who needs rescuing, “that’s an appropriate use of the term.”
“Firefighter” can also be used when the person is responding to a report of a fire in an occupied building, he adds, when a fire is a threat to a dwelling or when a building is under siege.
But when you’re responding to calls for help, you can use “fire” instead of “fighter.”
Hagey says firefighters can also use “rescue” when referring to someone who has been injured.
“They may be trying to call someone who may be in a serious condition to come in and provide aid,” he notes.
“However, when they are using the term rescue, it could be used as part of the general terms of the profession.”
“When firefighters call someone a ‘rescue’ when they need to save someone, it is important to note that they are calling them to do a job.
It is not an excuse to call them names or threaten them,” Hager says.
Hagersy says he is surprised many firefighters don’t know the difference between rescue and firefighter.
“I think it’s the common misunderstanding that a rescue is a job, not a job description,” he said.
“A firefighter can be a rescue, but a rescue does not have to be an active firefighting job.”
But when it’s time to save a life, firefighters need to know what the term means, Hagersky says.
If you have a situation where someone is in imminent danger, you need to use the word “rescuemaster.”
Hagesy also warns against using the word ‘fire