Welcome to the Fraternal Order Of Leatherheads Society
The Fraternal Order of Leatherheads Society (F.O.O.L.S.) is an organization that was started in 1995 by a group of Central Florida Firemen. This group, known today as the Founding F.O.O.L.S., had a passion for not only the camaraderie and brotherhood that is forged between firefighters but the rich tradition and heritage of the Fire Service. Since 1995, this brotherhood has grown to over seven thousand strong. There are chapters all over the world, with new chapters starting almost every day.
The Leatherhead is a term used for a firefighter who uses the leather helmet for protection from the hazards we face every day on the streets. The Leather Helmet is an international sign of a Firefighter, a symbol that is significant in not only tradition from the early years of firefighting, but one of bravery, integrity, honor, and pride. The helmet is a sign of who we are, not what we are.
The F.O.O.L.S., like the traditional leather helmet, has always existed throughout the brotherhood of the Fire Service and will continue to grow and flourish as long as there are fires to fight and emergencies to respond to. The F.O.O.L.S. are about the brotherhood and tradition that the fire service is based on. When we are in our gear, and trying to make our way down the dark Smokey hallway, we are all the same. All that matters is that you have my back, and I have yours. We do not care if you are a chief, a recruit, a volunteer or a career firefighter, a male, a female or the color of your skin. All we ask is that you are true to your brother and sister firefighter, and to the fire service. All firefighters are welcome to be a part of this great organization; one does not have to own a leather helmet to be considered a "Leatherhead". Our membership is growing every day, and we encourage you to start a F.O.O.L.S. chapter in your department.
The F.O.O.L.S. are not a political organization. We will not be involved in union, management, or any other political issue. We are about preserving the tradition and heritage of the fire service and taking care of our brother and sister firefighters. We have been involved with fundraisers, charity events, and helping disadvantaged children receive gifts for Christmas. We believe that this part of what being a member of the F.O.O.L.S. is all about.
The F.O.O.L.S. also believe in providing real fire training for real firefighters. We believe that it is our duty to be as well trained as we possibly can. This can only keep us, and our brothers and sisters safe on the fire ground. We owe it to ourselves, our brothers and sisters, their families, and to the citizens we protect.
We believe in Pride: In our departments, in our stations, in our apparatus, and pride in ourselves.
One last thing that we as the Founding F.O.O.L.S. ask of each and every one of you, let us never, ever forget those that have gone before us in the line of duty. Because those brave souls have given all, it is up to us to keep them alive in our hearts and our memories.
The F.O.O.L.S. exemplify the true meaning of the Brotherhood by providing training opportunities to Brother and Sister Firefighters worldwide. We organize benefits to assist not only a firefighter and their families in need, but our communities as well. The F.O.O.L.S. exist to strengthen the Brotherhood of our chosen profession and fuel the flame of passion we have for our calling.
FOR THE MEN - PROTECT THE BROTHERS (FTM-PTB)
A "Mutt" is someone or thing that will abuse and mistreat a Firefighter. This can be the City, the Mayor, the Chief in Charge, the habitual caller, or the homeless Person who starts a fire and leaves.
These are people that have never crawled down a hall or made the last room in an effort to do their job. If they can't get the job done today well maybe next week will do.
If we don't get the job done people might die and our brother and sister might also die. So we always lay it on the line and leave a little behind at every fire. I say that in a dark smoky hallway I can't tell the race, creed or sex of my fellow firefighter, I just know that they are with me. I don't care who or what you are as long as you are a firefighter and want to protect your brothers and sisters.
Leather forever. Stay low and let it blow!
Captain Mike Dugan, Ladder Co. 123, FDNY (ret.)
EVERYBODY GOES HOME (EGH)
Sulum reverto domus
Although 'EGH, Everybody Goes Home' is not always possible, it is part of what we strive for. It is why we train, it is why we read, it is why we interact with each other. We need to share the knowledge. The more we share, the more we pass on what we have learned, the safer we will be. The fewer funerals we will have to go to, the more of our Brothers and Sisters that will go home. Because it is all about protecting each other. (Pressler, 2002)
Author unknown, possibly Old Gallagher
REMEMBER FALLEN BROTHERS (RFB)
Memor cado frater
The Fire service, as a whole, is collectively still trying to recover from the effects of Sept. 11. The 343 members of the FDNY who made the supreme sacrifice that day will always be in our hearts and forever on our minds. As part of our FOOL's "signature", R-F-B, "Remember Fallen Brothers", these heroes should never and will never be forgotten. This should also include ALL of our fallen Brothers, no matter where they were from, or the matter in which they died. Their names have been added to a long list of those that have laid down their lives so that others may live. (Pressler, 2002)
KEEP THE FAITH (KTF)
Keep the Faith. With all that has happened, we must believe. We must have faith in ourselves and in the others that think like us. They can transfer us, they can make you cut your mustache, the can tell you what you can't wear on your helmet, but never let them break your spirit! (Pressler, 2002)
DO THE RIGHT THING (DTRT)
Operor vox res
With everything going on in our lives, both personal and professional, this may be sometimes hard to do. We are always pulled in several directions when there are tough decisions to be made. Even after weighing all the possibilities or options, decisions are sometimes still very hard to make. But, under closer examination, there usually is a "right thing". It may take personal sacrifice, it may not be what you really would want to do, but it is the correct thing to do.
Lieutenant Bob Pressler, FDNY (ret.)
Bonds that even death can't separate. Responding on all sorts of calls, some good and some bad. On every fire we trust each other with our lives. Trust, that if we fall on the fire ground our brothers will be there to rescue us. Humor is at every firehouse and is a big part of the job. Every firehouse you go to, you will see your brothers in every firefighter you meet. Remembering the pranks you have pulled on a "probie". How great it is to have a home away from home. Off the job, we are still family. Our families are close. Days, months, and even years will pass but don't fret for we will meet again.
Firefighter Duke Juanitas
Eldridge Fire Department
DUTY, PRIDE, TRADITION (DPT)
Chief Ed Enright & Chief Mac McCastland (RFB)
SouthSide F.O.O.L.S., Chicago, IL
I have been asked to express some thoughts on "DUTY, PRIDE & TRADITION" for the F.O.O.L.S. web site. In doing so, it shall be my intent to instill a strong sense of awareness, stressing the importance and value of firefighters to themselves, their families, fire departments, and their communities. THAT WILL BE MY "DUTY".
"DUTY" is defined as at one's post or work, a task or chore one is expected to perform. It is answering the bell and being asked to perform tasks that challenge our physical and mental toughness under extreme conditions. It is our duty to prepare for these tasks through training, leadership, and "Esprit De Corps". It is our moral obligation to be doers in the fire service, to prepare for, come at and meet the enemy..."BATTLE READY". The fire ground is a battleground. It is the "DUTY" of the firefighter to form a barrier with his/her body against fire. Quote: "THAT PAIN MAY CEASE, HE YIELDS HIS FLESH TO PAIN" By Joyce Kilmer KIA in France in 1918.
"PRIDE" is defined as a state of feeling of being proud, a reflection of credit upon oneself. Pride is feeling good after a job well done! It is a feeling of goosebumps as you recount your actions; by going somewhere nobody else can go. By making a rescue and saving a life by being a part of a unit that successfully achieves its goal. Pride is wiping a tear from your eye and swallowing a lump in your throat, as you are hugged and kissed by a loved one, thankful you have returned safe and sound. Pride is a glow in your kids as they brag about you being a firefighter. Pride is wearing your uniform, proud of your colors, proud of your co-workers and fire department. Being a member of "THE NOBLEST BREED".
"TRADITION" is defined as the handing down of statements,
beliefs, legends, customs, and information from generation to generation. A long established or inherited way of thinking or acting "Courage in the face of danger is a tradition of the fire service". Firefighters of the past stand by us today, passing on their legacy and dedication to us, and our fire departments.
Tradition is the maintenance and connection of values with our heroes, pacesetters, and examples set by our idols! It is our foundation.
"Duty -Pride - Tradition" gives an individual the desire to serve - the ability to perform and the courage to act.
"DUTY" IS DOING IT.
"PRIDE" IS WEARING IT.
'TRADITION' IS LIVING IT.
Thank you for the opportunity to express my thoughts and
Edmund J. Enright
Chicago Fire Department (ret.)
*Copyright 2007 SouthSide F.O.O.L.S.
All rights reserved
Official F.O.O.L.S. Toast
In the grips of death, we depend on our sisters & brothers, through smoke and fire we protect each other.
Our calling is clear we shall not wander, when protecting life it’s death before dishonor...
And here and now we raise our glass, a toast to the fallen heroes of the past.
Tradition, Brotherhood, Duty Forever, for this could be our last drink together!
Thank you to Matt Johnson (South Florida F.O.O.L.S.) for your contribution.