Firehouse Friday Chat – with Jack & Mack

Jack and Mack Happy New Year 2021

As we reach the end of  2020, Jack & Mack continue their discussions on important topics, in their own indomitable style! 

Meet Mack – Asking him to speak is like watching a dog walk on his hind legs. Even if it isn’t done well, you’re amazed it can be done at all! 

Meet Jack – He ran a half marathon, this week ….actually that  sounds so much better than he quit halfway through a marathon.

Jack: “This past year has sucked! With the vaccine program underway we’re going to turn the corner soon. The quicker we push the wreck of 2020 out of the way, the better!” 

Mack: “Couldn’t agree more man. It needs to be nuked! I think your guys more than mine need a pat on the back! What are your resolutions?”

Jack: “Resolutions go in one year and out the other! When we beat this pandemic, I’m going to look for opportunities that are right under my mustache. I’m going to look around and get creative. See things that others don’t see. Mack, did I ever tell you the story of Betty Nesmith?” 

Mack: “Was she your first date?”

Jack: “I’m trying to educate you here! In 1951, Betty was a secretary who realized that the electric typewriter, while it was a great office tool, seemed to also multiply typing errors. So she concocted a mixture of water based paint and a coloring agent that matched the bank’s stationary. 

Soon everyone wanted to use Betty’s correction fluid. By l956, she quit her bank job and sold the fluid full time. In l979, Gillette bought her Liquid Paper Corporation for 47.5 million dollars. The sole heir to her fortune is her son, Michael Nesmith, was the leader of the 60’s rock group The Monkees. So for me in 2021 I’m going to take advantage of what’s staring me in the face.

Mack: “ Good story – it’s been a rough year!”

Jack: “Yes, you know firefighters have not been commonly counted among the ranks of frontline healthcare workers getting infected on the job, but of the 1500 plus front line deaths nearly 100 firefighters have lost their lives. A friend in DC told me that they had over 24000 cases and firefighters have been exposed over 3000 times. In normal times, our guys nationally respond to 36 million medical calls a year, that role has only grown in the last year, we’re pumping more oxygen than water. 

Some departments, including Houston and Dakota City, have taken on another burden: removing the bodies of those killed by the virus. You can’t unsee this stuff, the emotional toll, it weighs heavy on all of us, we’re battle weary but we soldier on, that’s what we do.”

Mack: “I hear you. We’ve ‘re-rolled’ to provide military assistance to the civil authorities. 

JPEO-CBRND is supporting our interagency partners in their response to the COVID-19 pandemic, from helping develop detection, diagnosis, treatment, and vaccines for our Warfighters, to tools that increase situational awareness of the coronavirus, all thanks to our team effort with industry and academia. 

The pandemic has impacted all of us, including some countries that  “are very fragile”, that are in various states of civil war, or they have violence internal to their societies, when COVID-19 is over we’ll see an increase in unrest, I believe as economy’s have tanked. There’s significant stress as a result of this COVID-19 virus on the internal politics in other countries, on their economies, on resources. There is an increased probability or at least a risk of instability, significant instability, in some countries.

We’ve got to take a hard look at how we, as a military, conduct operations in the future and what we need to do to apply those lessons learned and implement them so we can continue to be effective in a post-Covid world.

The CBRNe world is already studying lessons learned from the pandemic, including how it employs equipment and brigades, which require large numbers of troops to be in close quarters. There also are plans for a larger, interagency review. All the PPE and ventilators we’ve dealt with have given us a lot of lessons and implications, not just for the military but also for all parts of first-response.  Jack, Knock Knock!”

Jack: “Who’s there?”

Mack: “Abby.”

Jack: “Abby who?”

Mack: “Abby New Year mate – stay safe!” 

Jack: “You too buddy, decontaminate often!