Not the poles!
New York City firefighters are losing their poles:
In New York City's firehouses, veterans have a deep affection, even a zealous sense of protection, for their poles. But now, the department has begun shrinking their number sharply as it builds new firehouses and remodels old ones to bring them up to current building codes. In many cases, ventilation systems have been installed where the poles and their surrounding holes used to be. [NYT]
But not without a fight.
For a department intensely loyal to tradition, even a gentle weaning - away from, say, four poles, positioned alongside the engine and truck, to one centrally situated pole - can seem like a seismic shift to veterans, who say they must recalibrate their well-honed exit maneuvers to include a more time-consuming jaunt down a flight or two of stairs. "It's the first thing I do when I work somewhere else: find out where the pole is," said Lt. Jeff Monsen of Engine Company 23 on West 58th Street in Manhattan.
It's the end of a grand era.
Lieutenant Monsen said he had had to train every new firefighter at the house the proper way to slide: legs crossed at the ankles with the pole resting between the outer ankle joints, chin tucked to chest, and hands firm, not clenched.
As a New York City taxpayer, I feel somehow cheated.