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Points to Ponder; about the Fire Service

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  • Points to Ponder; about the Fire Service

    I have been reading the heated debate that has been going on regarding the plans of the Bush Administration to not renew funding for the FIRE Act for the next fiscal year.
    I must say that it's nice to see a topic generate such a lively debate -- I just wish that we could debate so lively about other topics.

    Do I think that Firefighting is a national problem ?? Yes, and No.

    Nationally, meaning - across this nation - there are problems that confront the fire service as a whole. These range from manning levels, to funding, lack of SOP's, SOG's, poor - or no equipment... etc...

    Are these problems for the nation to solve as a whole? No - I just don' think that it would be possible. Simply stated, 'Department "A" might not like the way Department "B" does accountability- and wants to use a different way'

    As a whole- we seem to be able to bicker about every damn thing under the sun. From whether or not Fire trucks should be painted red, to what length a pre-connect should be and what type nozzle to have on it.

    People ask why the cops get funding? Easy - they are unified in their goals, and have tremendous lobbying power in Washington, D.C.
    Do I think that crime is a national problem. NO. Do I think that Police Officers should receive federal funds for Ballistic Vests -- when rural FD's can't afford the proper gear for their members - NO.

    However - I think the problem that the US Fire Service faces is much bigger. We are completely divided, paid vs. volunteer, urban vs. rural, and so on...

    You can't even get firefighters to agree on whether or not the NFPA is a good thing; half of you out there think they are good, and the other half think that it's an evil secret society, that serves no purpose -- other than to steal your money.
    The same can be said of ISO-- some of you hate it/them ; others of you (LHS* - I know you're out there...) can't stop talking about them.

    I don't know anymore -- it seems to me as if there is no organized leadership to, or for the Fire Service....

    We have a common goal: To save lives, and prevent property loss due to fire.

    Then there are other things we do for our communities. Rescue, EMS, Code Enforcement, Fire Prevention, Urban Search and Rescue, Swiftwater rescue..... the list is endless.

    Why can't we organize? Why can't we set goals and pursue them?

    Please -- give me your thoughts.....


    "In Omnia Paratus"

    -- The opinions presented here are my own; and are not those of any organization that I belong to, or work for.

  • #2
    it seems to me as if there is no organized leadership to, or for the Fire Service....

    It seems that way because there isn't. Look at how many groups want to claim leadership for Americas firefighters - ICHIEFS, IAFF, NVFC, NFPA, USFA/FEMA....

    And each of them have their own agenda.


    • #3
      We have to quit comparing firefighters to cops. I don't know how else to answer this but to say that cops are unified because they have one job to do, and that is to enforce the laws. We on the other hand have everything from fire suppression, fire prevention, emergency medical, haz-mat etc. etc. etc. How unified are we in these duties. We have fire departments that have no ems responsibilities and fire departments that wouldn't have anywhere near the staffing we have now if it wasn't for ems. Should we have vollunteers or part-timers to take up the slack? Why!! So we can tone them out 20-25 times a year for these few 'workers' that we do get. We can handle everything else with 3 people. I don't have anything against vollunteers when the taxbase truly cannot afford career staffing (to at least some extent) but when a city goes to the taxpayers for a change in the charter for increased fire AND ems protection and the main opponents to this is the part-time firefighters then what hope do we have for ANY unification!! I do live in a township with paid-on-call fire protection but I'm satisfied with it because I know the township can't afford a full time department. But I will tell you one thing, the police officers in our township are certainly getting paid. Someone will have to dig up some statistics on the percentage of volunteer police officers we have in this country.


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