A storm is brewing. A perfect storm. Just like the movie starring George Clooney in which a confluence of three different weather patterns converged into one spot over the Atlantic Ocean, the fire service, I predict, will be facing it own perfect storm over the next one to four years...
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Bottom line — here's what you will see over the next one to four years: a tough economic period with less tax revenue because governments lag behind any recovery with the collection of taxes; more bashing of firefighters on pay and pensions because fire departments account for a large percentage of local government budgets; EMS call loads continuing to increase as baby boomers age; private ambulance companies positioning themselves to strike while the iron is hot; and city managers and politicians looking for opportunities to cut departments. You can see the perfect storm is developing.
GARY LUDWIG, MS, EMT-P, a Firehouse® contributing editor, is a deputy fire chief with the Memphis, TN, Fire Department. He is chair of the EMS Section for the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), was appointed to the National EMS Advisory Council by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation and is a member of the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) EMS Standing Committee. Ludwig has a master's degree in business and management and is a licensed paramedic. He can be reached at www.garyludwig.com.