Monday, January 18, 2010

Is Your Fire Department a Service Delivery Organization or Just a Social Club

I remember back as a child (40+ years ago) watching the Flinstones. Fred and Barnie had joined the local fire department. This sound pretty normal for two average guys. However, at a specific time on Tuesday nights the fire siren (a pterodactyl) would sound. All the firefighters would rush to the fire station for a supposed call. Then they proceeded to play cards. Service Delivery or social club.

Unfortunately that same scenario may not play out exactly like that today but I would challenge you to look around you closely. How much service delivery is truly going on? How much of a social club exists in the fire service today? Ok, before you beat me up too much, I am the first person who loves the commrodary of the fire service. In volunteer organizations the ability to be part of a group is important! But lets face it...we have a bigger issue. Some organizations only let in who they want...aka the good ole buddy system. they could care less if the person was a great addition to the team. I know departments that will get applications and tell the individual there is a waiting list and turn around and ask another individual to be a part of the group. Guess being in the "clique" has advantages. I know you are thinking here I am bashing volunteer fire departments. That truely is not the case as I am involved in one my self. Career departments do the same thing and it goes as far as being on a station or company level.

What should we really be focused on? First and foremost it is the service delivery we provide to the community and the citizens. We should be working tirelessly to make our communities better prepared, educated and safer from fires, disasters and the everyday hazards that exist. This means that we need to be expanding our realms to new demensions. We should be taking proactive approaches to mitigate hazards, disasters and fire before they occur. I know most firefighters don't get as pumped up about helping properly install a car safety seat as fighting a working structure fire but where do you have the greatest potential for impact?

Here's a challenge:
  • Do an intra-inspection on yourself and orgaqnization... what do you see?
  • When you see these issues occuring be the change agent.
  • Don't fall into this trap yourself.
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