Sunday, December 28, 2008

Open Your Eyes In 2009

What have we learned in 2008? Are we better off here on the threshold of 2009 having experienced so much in the last year? Or are we destined to repeat our mistakes? Are we advocating better cardiac fitness for our troops? Are we beating the seatbelt issue into their heads on a daily basis? Are we telling them that it's silly to fight fire without using proper PPE and are we telling them that unoccupied buildings aren't worth jeopardizing their lives over?
Are we using better methods for finding fires? Are we using more modern technologies for communicating on the fireground or at the scene of disasters? Are our communications systems interoperable and are we even speaking the same language?

Are we any closer to a National Mutual Aid Box Alarm System? How about working with the military on domestic disaster issues? Are we getting the typing and credentialing issues resolved?

As much as we have learned about ourselves, our industry, and the environment in which we operate, how much of it has translated into positive change for the good of our service? How much is dependent upon funds that are being eliminated? How much is dependent upon that ill-educated politician? How much of our mission is being sacrificed by the self-serving and the egotistical for their own gains?

If we can open our eyes in 2009, and we can look past our own needs and look to the greater good, the communities in which we serve and the brotherhood of the fire service, if we can put our egos aside and agree to work together, career and volunteer, rural and urban, North and South, East Coast and West Coast, labor and management, we can achieve greatness. The fire service is as unified as it is finely divided. Until we can put aside our differences to realize that we DO have some common ground, and focus on solving those core issues, we will continue to fight these same battles. What's more, we'll be fighting them generations from now (if we still exist), because we have been fighting them for generations heretofore.

Have we really learned from our experiences? Or are we doomed to repeat the past? I guess 2009 will tell.
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3 comments:

  1. Well said! I am constantly amazed with those who cannot bring themselves to build on our "Common Ground" and minimize the issues that divide us. The inability of some to advocate the interagency benefits of the tenets of NIMS and real value of interoperability, suggests that true leadership is still lacking in our profession

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  2. Some will repeat their mistakes. Change is slow to come in the fire service. In a culture where repetition hones our skills, it also sees us making the same mistakes over and over again; maybe out of habit.
    Better cardiac care should be in everyone's 2009. We should see the number of MVAs involving fire apparatus go down and seat belt compliance go up.
    More attention to risk vs. gain should be paid. Old buildings deserve to die; firefighters do NOT!
    More and more departments are getting TI cameras as prices continue to fall. Radio technology has flourished. Unfortunately, the human factors limits the effectiveness of this great communication tool. Some still want to use 10-codes, some Plain English and still others, something cooked up on their own. Run silent; run deep.
    I would love to see a national MABAS. Response to a national emergency would improve ten-fold.
    To change the fire service even more, more have to get on board. We are not helping if we simply complain. That concern has to be channelled in the right direction; to local, state and federal politicians. We have to stop the leak in FIRE Act money. With standards changing every 6 months, we cannot afford to lose money that would cover any increase in costs. Our politicians should know that their future could hang in the balance with every regression that we see in funding, attitude or perception.
    Fire service legislation should not be after-thoughts, amendments or riders to other legislation. It should be open,honest and straight forward.
    On the flipside, we should not allow any "pork" to be "pulled" into our bills, in order to slide them through.
    I think that we have spent so much time dealing with large-scale incidents on our own that we find it difficult and offensive to abdicate any authority to someone else. We have been told for so long that our fire departments would die without us that we are now legends in our own minds.
    Perhaps, Dr. Phil can be in that first meeting to remind us that it ain't about us!
    You're right, though; 2009 is anyone's guess.

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  3. Lets hope we are closer to a national mutual aid system in 09. Anything that makes sure that everyone is on the same page and talking the same language can only help us

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