There are three "cuts" that can be used to help fire-rescue services survive the current economic downturn.
You may have to cut back on your use of metered services, fuel for non-essential apparatus movement, and out-of-town training. This includes keeping the thermostat at 68 degrees F, turning off the lights when everyone leaves the room, using energy-efficient light bulbs, bringing the meals to work instead of going shopping in the engine, and training locally as much as possible.
Caution - Look at the economic downturn as a chance to do more back-to-basics training at the firehouse, in your 1st-due area, and at your department’s training center if you’re lucky enough to have one.
If your department does a lot of extras, you may have to reduce the number of extras you provide. If you spend a lot of overtime to provide public education classes, Risk Watch training, CERT training, and the like, you may have to reduce the overtime and use on-duty personnel to teach these classes. You may need to reduce the time spent in fuel-intensive training and increase the amount of time spent in sweat-intensive training. You may need to reduce the number of firefighter uniform choices from seven to two or three.
Caution - Don’t use the economy as an excuse to skimp on the essentials – good response times, adequate manning, and good PPE.
Have some fun. It’s easy to subscribe to doom and gloom and to join the Morale Busters when your department can’t just throw money at problems. Taking the time to have some fun can lighten the mood, increase company bonding, and keep work fun during an uncertain time.
Caution – Don’t have so much fun that you embarrass yourself, your department, or our profession. We don’t really need to see you on YouTube with fireworks shooting out of the lower end of your digestive tract.
Use the three knives to help your department through the economic downturn, but be careful how you use them. We don't want to cut so deeply that we leave ourselves bleeding.