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I am in no way saying that firefighter training, gear and equipment should not continue to be a strong priority in our budgets, but it is my belief that the fire departments that are going to prosper in this current climate are going to be the ones that prove to their community and their politicians that education and prevention can save everyone not only money, but more importantly, lives. Isn’t the main mission of every fire department “saving lives and protecting property”?
If we in the fire service want our community leaders to support us, it’s time that the leaders (and we are all leaders) within our fire departments step up and take a strong stance for fire prevention and fire safety education. This stance, however, should not be just for our community, but within our own departments. Firefighter training needs to cover every facet of firefighting, and prevention/education is just as important as every other aspect.
I am fortunate that I am a member of a fire department that values prevention and education and commits firefighters full time to that position. I also realize that many departments are having trouble keeping enough manpower to barely accomplish the minimum required in their community. If for no other reason than that, every firefighter in every department should become more proactive regarding the prevention/education issue. All firefighters are looked upon with respect by everyone we protect, so let’s earn it by helping them be safe, which ultimately protects all of us. Isn’t that what true “brotherhood” is all about? Thanks!
Captain Dave Meadows
Safety Education Division
Fort Wayne Fire Department