I was invited to the United Kingdom (England) to represent the Canadian Fire Services in their National Memorial Day for all of the U.K. L.O.D. in 2004.
A visit to England:
In 2004.... looking back.....I received an invite to the United Kingdom Fire Fighters Memorial Trust Dedication of a new statue at St. Paul's Cathedral honoring over 2500 members killed in the line of duty.
I took Alvina Drennan from N.Y. who represented the United States Fallen Fire Fighters Foundation along with out team from Canada and family members of firefighterveterans of the Canadian Civilian Overseas Firefighters who served on the front lines as Canadian Fire fighters in WW2. This was truly an "international event". The Canadians served with the U.K. fire service during the Blitz of WW2.
Under war time conditions the following took place:
The U.K. fire services in WW2 used a trailer pulled behind a taxi or a 3/4 ton dodge truck, yes a taxi, with a gas powered climax coventry pump on a trailer along with hose positioned in a rack at the back of the trailer.
They fought the great fire bombings of London by the German Air Force using water from the Thames river and relay pumping wherever they had to. These were "gas powered rigs"!!!. The taxi drivers took a 3 man pump or 4 man pump crew with them.
Outriders on motorcycles led the way through damaged streets. Most of the motorcycles were crewed by women. Many were killed doing this vital work. See firehouse651.com for the story of the "Canadian Corps of Overseas Firefighters".
They also used the "task force concept" and under that header during the greatest fires that threatened to consume all of London, they brought in over one thousand pumps along with fire brigades from as far away as Scotland. Everyone had to make it work using common practises and working with other departments that had the same "command structures" along with centralized depots, rehab areas, rest barracks, food and maintanence centers.
Are we so tuned in and networked in our local areas of responsability? Have we done the work before the "big one" as an event that will take all of our resources and put them on the front lines under a "maximum effort/push?".
I am posting this as a gauge of where we are for rigs and deployment of assets which are becomming increasinlgly harder to buy and put into service.
Where we go from today in the "here and now" is contained in the history of the fire services during war time. That America is safe...... is obvious. Howerver we look at the problem, the elephants called "finance, budget and restraint", have entered the room and it is getting very very difficult to move in any one direction.......
The "IF" and the "WHEN" factors in the future will play havoc with making budget descisions and the crisis we face with diminished funds will challenge all of us to find creative solutions......so.....
We can make our budgets work if we consider the entire picture and not just the local view from the hose tower of..... larger, bigger, better, faster.
....getting our heads up from the ledger books and balance sheets, one can find "innovation" in the services.
By "tailoring the fit to the need" we will bring fiscal restraint into the front line along with equipment that will get the job done. Another tool for the tool box and not just another fool in a fool box using the thumb under the weigh scale of creative financing.....