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Where do you see the firefighting profession in the future?

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  • Where do you see the firefighting profession in the future?

    Where do you see our field going in the next 20 or 30 years ago. Its weird I ask this question but what triggered it was I was watching a show where they were building a building and showing the fire standards of today against the fire codes back 40 years ago.

    Basically what i'm wondering is if there will be a need for as many firefighters in the future with all the new codes and standards in place

  • #2
    Simple answer....Yes. Even though a building today (tomorrow) is built stronger and able to withstand fire, the contents inside will still burn. Also...money is always tried to be saved and you see things that are cheaper (trusses, glued truss so on) these tend not to withstand a fire load as well. Even if the building material is non combustible and the contents (made with many synthetics) are on fire how well will that building material stand up to the heat. And lets not forget the rescue aspects that are still there.

    Sad part is that engineers, designers, city administrators will see this as a way to reduce FF staffing. Unfortunately it will probablly take a life of one of our own for them to see that was not the best answer.
    The thoughts and opinions posted here are mine and mine alone and do not reflect the thoughts and or views of city or dept affiliation.

    Comment


    • #3
      Ok, I'll bite.

      First of all, there will always be a need for firefighters as long as there are stupid people, accidents, and design flaws in things. And face it, $hit happens too! I think the current trend of the occurance of fires will continue to go down, but it will never go away. There will be many more advances in building construction and materials to make it more fire retardant. This will also increase the danger to firefighters with more light weight construction for building collapses too. I think you will see improvements in fire and smoke detection, maybe even a few more laws requiring sprinkler systems.

      I would predict that the fire service as a whole will slowly shift to an "all hazards and services" type of department. More public service type stuff that is not classically associated with the fire department. We already are heading this way. For example, my department handles lock outs of a couple different assisted living places. If they lock themselves out, we will use our lock box key to let them back in. Happens every once in a while. I see less and less fires occuring but the fires that do happen would be more of the big one type. I see more hazmat, more ems, and anti-terrorism type activities of the fire service.

      I could also imagine there would be more advancements in the science of firefighting. Better extinguishing agents, improved equipment, and improved delivery systems. Maybe one day we will pull up to a house fire, toss in a couple "grenade" type deals, and the fire goes out!

      Again, I don't see the fire service ever going away. What's going to happen in 30-50 years when all the new pre-fab homes and "light- weight" construction houses and appartment buildings get old and start burning down? I do see the job description changing a bit.
      Jason Knecht
      Firefighter/EMT
      Township Fire Dept., Inc.
      Eau Claire, WI

      IACOJ - Director of Cheese and Whine
      http://www.cheddarvision.tv/
      EAT CHEESE OR DIE!!

      Comment


      • #4
        As long as there are Yates in this world, our work will NEVER be done.
        Psychiatrists state 1 in 4 people has a mental illness.
        Look at three of your friends, if they are ok, your it.

        Comment


        • #5
          Heard a quote while watching reruns of that 80's show Airwolf:

          "Obsolete is a word that gets tossed around quite a bit. You know what I've found? We still dig holes with shovels."

          Firefighters were thought to be a thing of the past when "fireproof" brick & steel buildings came about. That was what? 100 years ago? Only a politician could ever think such a valuable thing would ever become obsolete.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Dickey View Post
            I would predict that the fire service as a whole will slowly shift to an "all hazards and services" type of department. More public service type stuff that is not classically associated with the fire department. We already are heading this way. For example, my department handles lock outs of a couple different assisted living places. If they lock themselves out, we will use our lock box key to let them back in. Happens every once in a while. I see less and less fires occuring but the fires that do happen would be more of the big one type. I see more hazmat, more ems, and anti-terrorism type activities of the fire service.
            So you propose that we begin doing the work of plumbers, locksmiths and other people who are looking to support their familes by undercutting their line of work in the Private sector? The only reason we open locks if there is an emergent situation behind that door, (ie., EMS-assit entry, food on the stove, young children trapped on the otherside...etc.)

            It is simply amazing how many of you guys will do everything but focus on your job. You've become nothing but whores who will do anything (anyone asks of you no matter how absurd it is), but articulate why our jobs are important enough and an increase BS feel good Brunnacini duties are uncalled for. Focus on drilling and maintainnig your skills if you have nothing else to do.

            FTM-PTB
            Last edited by FFFRED; 02-15-2007, 11:44 AM.

            Comment


            • #7
              I can sum it up in one word...ARSON.

              People will always find a way to burn something down. About 80% of our fires down here are arson. Even with protective measures in place such as sprinklers, alarms or better quality building material with fire walls or fire resistant material; arsonists will always find a way around it.
              "In general terms, firefighting isn't always about putting the fire out; its about making sure anything else doesn't catch on fire. What's burned is burned. Once you understand this, your tunnel vision is replaced by effective strategy."

              Comment


              • #8
                40 years from now? It won't be as different as some people will want you to beleive. The buildings in your district will still be there except they will be 40 years older. Yeh sure some will be torn down and technology buildings will take its place, but for the most part what you see now will still be there with new paint and new facades.

                I do beleive we will be wearing different ensambles. Maybe a fully encapsulated suit. Maybe like a fire and heat resistant haz-mat suit with more mobility. I think all air masks will have thermal imaging in them. Cool vests will be standard, but made from a different material.

                Then again maybe nothing will change at all! Remember we a firefighters and we hate change!!! We won't look cool anymore if the outfit changes!
                IAFF member, Love this job! Remember the oath!

                Comment


                • #9
                  thanks for all the replies. I'm just trying to decide if this is the right career for me. I hear so many different things from different people.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    40's year from now, what will be different?


                    Overcrowding will worsen and cheapened construction will become rampant.... thus creating more hostile fire conditions.

                    Can you say Haz-Mat?

                    Think back 40 years ago....

                    Was there any many deadly chemical's back then conversing the American highways as there are now?

                    Now, picture another 40 years into the future and think of what it will be like.

                    So yes, there will always be a need for firefighter's...

                    Only problem now is that most cities want them to be a jack of all trades and that will probably worsen....

                    But, only time will tell...

                    Twenty years from now, we will probably be doing the water department's job too.


                    And to quote FFFRED...
                    only reason we open locks if there is an emergent situation behind that door
                    I wish that was true for many....

                    But, most try to view the ones who call as Customer's and customer service is important.

                    IF they arent happy... then they will not vote your bond in the next election.

                    It doesnt matter that you are taking away supper from the table for some poor locksmith..... what matters is that the customer is happy.

                    Sad sad times
                    The Box. You opened it. We Came...

                    "You'll take my life but I'll take your's too. You'll fire musket but I'll run you through. So when your waiting for the next attack, you'll better understand there's no turn back."

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      At the 1939 World's Fair, it was predicted that we would have flying cars by the 1980's...

                      The five biggest causes of fire are men, women, children, stupidity and arson.

                      Most of the answers here are right on... but I do differ with FFFred on the trades issue. Like FFFred stated earlier in his post...

                      The only reason we open locks if there is an emergent situation behind that door, (ie., EMS-assit entry, food on the stove, young children trapped on the otherside...etc.)
                      I agree with this, but when we get a call for a single or two family owner occupied residential lockout, we will first see if we can get in through an unlocked window or use the smoke ejector hanger to gently spread the jamb enough to allow us access to the door striker. If we cannot, then we tell the [people they should call a locksmith. We also tell them that yes, we can "break in".. bitut the locksmith is cheaper than repairing the damage. We also have them sign a waiver.

                      Commercial and buildings.. we scope out the situation and advise them to call the property manager. Car lockouts are done only when the vehicle is running with a child or animal inside.

                      If we get a call for a water leak and we can stop the leak by shutting off the water.. we do it.. then advise the resident to call a plumber.

                      In a department the size of the FDNY, you can probably deflect these types os service calls. In most small and medium sized FD's, you can't. We don't get all that many calls for lockouts ( I think we did a total of 50 for the year), so it isn't that much of a burden on us.
                      ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
                      Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Lock-outs

                        He (Dickey) specifically stated that the places they assist on lock-outs are assisted-living places. I am not sure how an assisted living place ends up locked out, but assuming it happens, should elderly people who cannot care for themselves be left to wait while the locksmith comes? It seems to me that this situation is pretty analogous to a child lock-in.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by FFFRED View Post
                          So you propose that we begin doing the work of plumbers, locksmiths and other people who are looking to support their familes by undercutting their line of work in the Private sector? The only reason we open locks if there is an emergent situation behind that door, (ie., EMS-assit entry, food on the stove, young children trapped on the otherside...etc.)

                          It is simply amazing how many of you guys will do everything but focus on your job. You've become nothing but whores who will do anything (anyone asks of you no matter how absurd it is), but articulate why our jobs are important enough and an increase BS feel good Brunnacini duties are uncalled for. Focus on drilling and maintainnig your skills if you have nothing else to do.

                          FTM-PTB
                          Listen, first I want to say I respect your opinion and what you do. I also would say I look up to you on some things because you are FDNY and see more fire than I do. Now, you're not going to like the rest of what I have to say.
                          I see there is the attitude of the old school big city firefighter too. You are not in an administrative position in your department. I am more administrative and in a Command position more than I am on the hoseline since I became a captain. You do not have to deal with the public in ways I do. Public in a small town is a lot different than it is in a big town too. Fire service in FDNY vs. Altoona, WI is like night and day. You do what works for you, and I do what works for me. DO NOT put words in my mouth. I said nothing of the kind of us having to learn plumbing skills, lock breaking, or anything else.

                          My Department does small things like letting an old lady back into her apartment, shutting off water to a building when a pipe breaks, installing and replacing batteries in a smoke detector or do residential fire inspections because that is what we do. We serve our "customers." We feel it is the service in public service. Protect life and property, THAT IS OUR JOB! How we percieve to do our job and how you percieve to do your job is the difference between you and I.

                          And another thing....Myself, nor my department, are "whores" who will lay down anytime someone tells me to. I happen to agree with most of those "BS feel good Brunnacini duties" that promote "customer service." You need to update yourself with the times. Just because you are FDNY does not mean you are an expert, it means you are experienced and you do not know everything. There are many many ways to skin a cat my friend. Talk about arrogance if you are so closed minded to change. With that kind of thinking, there is no way you could possibly try to understand my point so we will agree to disagree on this issue.
                          Last edited by Dickey; 02-16-2007, 05:28 AM.
                          Jason Knecht
                          Firefighter/EMT
                          Township Fire Dept., Inc.
                          Eau Claire, WI

                          IACOJ - Director of Cheese and Whine
                          http://www.cheddarvision.tv/
                          EAT CHEESE OR DIE!!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Thanks Dickey I think you saved me a lot of typing. Fairfax Co does "lock-out" PubSvc calls - a lot of them if you sit and listen to the dispatch. Mostly to comm sites, but the odd residential address will come up. There are a lot for vehicle lock-outs too, although I am not really sure why they call us for those - but we do carry basic "thieves" tools.

                            As Dickey basically alludes to, Differn't Strokes for Differn't Folks. Do I see a "Jack-of-All-Trades" fire department for the future? No, but I see one that might for its own survival (in some regions/areas) becoming more public oriented. By that I mean that we are "in the streets" a bit more, doing public service calls like opening locks and other things like that.

                            Its been said many times before, we are our own worst enemy. Other than the Yearly Open House, and a few other functions, no one sees us except for when the lights and sirens go off, and we go [email protected]@ing down the road to a call. KeithA8 brings an interesting point about PPE. While I intrinsically support "bigger" better PPE, with the better protection comes greater responsibility in the training department.

                            By that I mean, the better the safety equipment, the greater the risks an individual will be willing to take, the greater hazard he will get into before it becomes deadly. We already see enough of that in the LODD pages. So with greater protection should (hopefully) come greater education. Education for the individual to learn the limitations of both himself AND his gear. I know that we already do this, but I think the stats speak for themselves about the success or not of it.

                            Building constuction, no matter how wonderful the new technology for materials gets to be, just like the Space Shuttle ("Made in Taiwan") the new buildings will be created by the LOWEST bidder. I always ask myself (only because I have no one "In The Know" to ask) why we always, or nearly always select the lowest bidder when it comes to construction projects? Intellectually we know that he has potential to use sub-standard materials, and cut corners for other things that might be the difference between the floors and ceilings actually holding their own during fire conditions.

                            Future Evolution of the fire department will depend on:

                            the individual regions/towns/cities that each service - and the requirements of that service

                            the individual Chiefs of Department and the crews he leads - to be pro-active in that evolution

                            the firefighters themselves - to be pro-acitve with their communities, and the citizens they service

                            the advances of technology - in fire prevention/intervention, firefighting equipment and apparatus, building materials and constuction.

                            All of those things have determined the way the fire service has evolved from your basic 10 man firebucket teams of 2500BC to the most up-to-date firefighting teams of today.
                            If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

                            "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

                            "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

                            Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

                            impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

                            IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by firenewbie View Post
                              Where do you see our field going in the next 20 or 30 years ago.
                              I see alot more fireman ducking in the yard because they are being taught it is more important to stay out there and hold the old ladies hand and make her feel good while explaining that insurance will replace her belongings because it is much too dangerous for us to be in there putting the damn fire out like we used to!!
                              RK
                              cell #901-494-9437

                              Management is making sure things are done right. Leadership is doing the right thing. The fire service needs alot more leaders and a lot less managers.

                              "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


                              Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

                              Comment

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