….. And Wait For Your Number To Be Called.
You may have seen this article about how neighborhood fire stations are to become health clinics in one California county. I guess a fire department in my county is a trendsetter then because they opened a new station last year with clinic space in it, but for a slightly different reason. It's a place the affluent of the community can come have their vitals checked in comfort by a friendly fireman. That department only makes five or six calls a day, protects one of the busiest stretches of interstate in the country, a couple of major petrochemical research labs, a hospital, and about half a dozen highrises. It's true that they don't have many fires, being an affluent bedroom community, but I guess that means they don't need to train on any of that other stuff or even be too terribly ready to respond.
Scott County Public Health Service
As usual, this is part of a trend that attempts to maintain relevance by broadening services. I think the real way to maintain relevance is not to broaden services, but to deepen them. We need to be better at the things we legitimately do and quit pretending like no one goes to fires anymore. We have plenty of emergency functions that most departments didn't have 30 years ago and we have plenty of action in the totality of them to warrant maintaining focus on emergency response. There is nothing we should be doing that should ever take precedence over emergency response. Except for emergency response, nothing should take priority over preparedness.
Too many people in the fire service act like every town was the South Bronx once upon a time and that now the firefighters are just barely holding down the wool over the eyes of the citizenry. Stop saying we just don't go to fires anymore! We do still go to fires, in many places we go to a lot more, and besides that, we go to rescues, hazmat calls, and major medical emergencies. The fire service seems to wallow in self-defeating rhetoric that the public will misperceive and absorb when making decisions about supporting their local fire departments. If you say things that downplay the importance of emergency response then you should not be surprised when your officers, city bureaucrats, and public opinion leaders favor things that have nothing to do with emergency response and your funding and strategic vision shift accordingly.
………. Patrick Mahoney
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Also on FireGeezer…
- Let’s Talk About the “Crucible of Fire” – a Commentary – July 25, 2012
- Should Fire Training Be Banned? a commentary – April 22, 2013