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Culture of FDNY groupies rages out of control as 'badge bunny' obsession turns scary

12 posts in this topic

Wow.

It's outrageous that the NY Post is lumping "Buffs" with "Badge Bangers". Especially in the same group as this EDP. Then again, what else can we expect from the NY Post, sensationalism on the front covers, and supermarket tabloid reporting. This has got to be one of the worst articles I've ever read, and a real slam to the reputation of the "real" buffs and fireground photographers. They even blame the fire service TV shows and online buff groups and Facebook pages.

She was hot for the FDNY.
Christine Cuocolo, 34, started out as a typical firefighter “buff,” one of legions of groupies to the hunky heroes.
But her desire to get close to the smoke eaters spiraled into a “Fatal Attraction”-like nightmare.

She joined a mushrooming number of online groups that honor the Bravest, such as Support FDNY, FDNY Midtown, and NYC Fire Wire. The groups, whose memberships have skyrocketed since 9/11, follow the Fire Department with the same intensity as young Justin Bieber fans.

Some buffs listen to scanners and chase sirens, taking spectacular action shots of blazes to display as trophies. “You guys are sooo awesome,” a female fan recently cooed on one page.

They take some blame for being kind to the tourists and “regulars” who flock to Manhattan firehouses. Their warmth can be misinterpreted.
“Some mistake our niceness for something more than it is,” one said. “Some people don’t realize it’s a job. They think it’s our job to entertain them. These people are interfering.”

The FDNY later removed beds, video games and TVs from all firehouses.


Read more (NY Post Full Article: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/badge_bunny_gone_rabid_VbP9j1kPIN0lmDvD2RXgRJ

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I just had an interesting thought- Isn't a reporter who works the police fire ems beat a buff themselves?

Reading the article makes me think what exactly is a buff whacker etc? ( I think badge banger is fairly obvious.)

To me a buff is someone who appreciates anothers work, respectful to their work, and merely a booster

A whacker is someone who takes it too far, has a scanner and tries to help out a scenes putting everyone in danger, and harms the view of the work someone does by not responding to requests to stay away when not needed or wanted

I do agree with your assessment as I think obssessed would have been better than buff. (I think the word usage is. Similar to how some mos use the word bus than ambulance. Not a perfect analogy but doesn't help either in an mci situation).

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This artice makes it sound like Buffs are synonomus with badge banger, which is certainly not true. I will say that it is a fine line between letting people into the fire house. I know at least one local department in my area who has a special needs member, who does what he can, and I'm sure that there are similar situations in the FDNY as well, which leads to the question, who do you let in and who do you keep out. No offense, but if someone shows up at my ambulance bay with free food, I'm not turning them away, granted I'm not in a target rich environment like NYC where someone is more likely to harm first responders.

On a side note, after looking at the woman's picture, if there are any FDNY fire fighters who "dated" her, I don't get it, unless they're the type of guy who will do anything cause it's there.

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Some firehouses are in neighborhoods with incredible foot traffic. Some are close to tourism centers. The attention can be very flattering and having a good relationship with the visiting public is good for the image of the fire service.......and t-shirt sales! ;) Kidding aside, I assure you we all value the attention to some degree for it's importance on many levels. However, if you're visiting a firehouse, don't over stay your welcome. I've had out of towners stop by and it's great for a bit. A little tour, a chat and then that's it. Example: 54 engine and 4 truck are in the theater district. They run like crazy, like 5,000+ runs for the engine and 4,000 for the truck. Squeeze in a drill period in the afternoon and evening, a couple of meals and you're not left with a lot of time in the day.....

P.S.- I'm a buff. I resent that term being associated with this skank.

Yes, but are you a "badge banger"?

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I agree with "FirNaTine's" post. I've been involved in emergency services for about 30 years, 23 of which with the same career fire department, and I am still proud to say I am a "buff" and have been one since I owned my first scanner at 12 years of age. I believe that a "buff" is merely a person who enjoys following the activities of firefighters, even if they themselves are a firefighter. They may listen to them on scanners, and even respond to scenes to watch or take photos. The one thing a true "buff" will NOT do is interfere with what is going on. Being that I am in a "command" position now, I have no problem with someone coming up to the scene to watch or take photos, especially if it is a working fire. However, they need to respect what we are doing. In fact, depending on who they are (e.g., prominent citizens or politicians or local business people), "buffs" can be your best ally when dealing with the local council or commission when times are not going so well.

We even have some "regulars" that come in to our firehouses to hang out for a little bit and talk with the crews, but we all know them and again they have respect and don't interfere with our daily routines.

A "whacker", on the other hand, is something completely different. Fortunately, where I work there aren't many of them. I have yet to really come across one in my career here ... but I know they exist in other parts of the country. It is a shame that this reporter lumped the "buffs" with the "whackers".

FirNaTine likes this

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M'ave why you gotta make an example of my place lol. Yes we have an incrediable amount of foot traffic and buffs that come by everyday. The mentioned EDP tried to do the same thing at my house but we had gotten the heads up from 65. Yeah we get our share of buffs from all over trying to tell us how we should do our job and how our rigs should be laid out had a 19yr old buff from pa tell me this about how 54 should have pre connects lol. And how we should have a prepiped water way on our truck. Don't ge me wrong I'm not bashing vollys or anything like that or buffs cuz I'm one myself. If your a buff u want to know how we do things not to tell us how to reinvent the wheel. And yes she was def a bellevule patient

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Don't get me wrong I'm not bashing anyone we've had our share of brothers from Detroit Chicago Dallas Houston and brothers from volly and smaller paid depts and it's def cool to see how some of these other cities work. Don't get me wrong I won't turn anyone away from coming in when you knock just don't be a douche like that kid was or like the EDP then your good lol

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My buffing, stem whacking, whatever anybody wants to call it, has been going on for about 40 years.

Had a few years as a volly and about 30 years on the job. I never had any problem either buffing the jobs or stopping in at a firehouse. But I did make the mistake of every once in awhile bringing a guy who would tell these guys how much "he knew". Pretty embarrassing to say the least.

I always admired the firefighters in the cities that I regularly buffed. Boston, Providence, Bridgeport, Newark, a few others and of course the FDNY where I had a pretty steady diet of that place. Watching these guys in action taught me a lot more than any book on the subject.

Now at 64 years old, I'm not able to run down the street as fast as I once did. I carry an extra 50-60 lbs around now, and what hair I have is all white. But I still enjoy it as much as I did then. Only thing is the faces have changed. Other than that, lines still get stretched, ladders get raised, and water still puts out fires.

And now as a buff, who is on the outside looking in, I certainly admire these firefighters for what they do. You certainly have my respect.

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Personally I think there is a big difference between badge bunnies, buffs, whackers etc...

A badge bunny is someone looking for a relationship with someone in the emergency services solely because they are in the emergency services.

A buff is someone who is interested in/gung ho about the emergency services regardless of job status

A whacker is someone who walks the line between being legal and having a police officer empty a ticket book on them for various VTL violations relating to emergency lights, sirens, wording on their vehicles etc. Also applies to people tangently related to the emergency services trying to pass themselves off as real deal PD, FD, EMS.....i.e. a TSA screener who claims to be a Homeland Security agent....CERT volunteers who claim they are OEM employees etc

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