Starting the second decade
Harvard paleontologist Stephen Ray Gould developed the theory of punctuated equilibrium:
The New York Times May 21, 2002 editorial on his death describes his impact:
The vast majority of the people who know Mr. Gould's name know him as a scientific essayist, not as a paleontologist or evolutionary theorist, let alone an expert on Cerion land snails.
They know him as a man who had an opinion on nearly everything and a way to turn nearly every opinion he had into a tour de force of analogy and historical example. His scientific colleagues found him almost as brilliant as his popular audience did, but considerably more exasperating as well. (link)
Many of his monthly columns in Natural History magazine, and twenty-some books of "popular science" explored the possible reasons why " … lineages often change very little for millions of years, and then change rather rapidly."
Organizational punctuated equilibrium
As organizations grow in size and complexity, they encounter challenges that force changes in structure and function in order for the organization to continue to thrive.
In fire departments, growth challenges requiring a rapid change include these four milestones:
- From all volunteer to adding daytime staff
- Expanding to 24 hour career staff
- Career staff larger than active volunteer staff
- Career staff exceeds 250 firefighters
Outside challenges also create the need for rapid change.
As we start the second decade after the September 11 attacks, we are in the throes of a persistent recession, public safety employees identified as the cause of municipal bankruptcy and experiencing significant change in fire company workload.
I liked Ray McCormack's post from Urban Firefighter Magazine:
You can not force someone to remember. You can not force someone to not forget.
What we can try to do is embody the principles of helping those in need.
There was no half hearted climb that day and for that we should always be proud.
For the FDNY family, we miss our friends and family. For the rest of the fire service, your support and remembrance is comfort and is appreciated.
Lt. Ray McCormack
Helping those in need
- Jerry Lewis is gone, along with the live 24 hour Las Vegas marathon on television. None the less, IAFF members raised an estimated $28.6 million for muscular dystrophy research and treatment this year. Eight percent higher than last year.
- In most areas, a responding engine company is on the way to a medical call 70% – 80% of the time.
- Fire stations have become Safe Houses, protected ATM location and where a teen can drop off an unwanted baby.
- Metro cities are seeing a rise in arson with a decline in fire companies and shrinking of the size of surviving crews.
- Metro fire companies are also dealing with a crumbling municipal infrastructure: defective water mains, collapsing buildings, decades of deferred maintenance on city properties – including the fire station.
What will the fire service look like by September 11, 2021?
Mike "FossilMedic" Ward
thanks to retired MPD detective (and Burke VFD Assistant Chief) Mike Brooks for the Rescue Operations Battalion picture.
Earlier 9/11 related articles:
2008: Reprint "The Anger Never Dies" (Dennis Smith's article)
Also on FireGeezer…
- Technician Kyle Wilson and the lessons we can never forget (repost) – April 16, 2013
- Teaching the next generation – October 12, 2012
- Liquid Carbon Dioxide creates 2011 near-miss in Phoenix – August 11, 2012
- The standard you walk past is the standard you accept – June 17, 2013