Fire Departments and Politics

Our nation's economy remains in a significant slump in many of our towns, cities and states. Difficult funding decisions continue to be made that impact the level of resources available, as well as the effectiveness and safety of the members who have...


Our nation's economy remains in a significant slump in many of our towns, cities and states. Difficult funding decisions continue to be made that impact the level of resources available, as well as the effectiveness and safety of the members who have survived the budget reductions and remain...


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We can't necessarily avoid the troubling times being experienced by fire departments due to the current economic downturn, but you have to believe times will get better at some point. Establishing a strong community leadership presence and being a positive participant in the political process can position the fire department in a way that may minimize harm to the organization now and also benefit them in the future. We should put a high priority on learning as much as we can about the political process that controls so much of what fire departments do and the resources they have. Your organization will be glad you did.

DENNIS COMPTON, a Firehouse® contributing editor, is a well-known speaker and the author of several books, including the When in Doubt, Lead series: Mental Aspects of Performance for Firefighters and Fire Officers, and many other articles and publications. He is also co-editor of the current edition of the ICMA textbook Managing Fire and Rescue Services and the author of the soon-to-be-released book Progressive Leadership Principles, Concepts and Tools. Compton was the fire chief in Mesa, AZ, for five years and as assistant fire chief in Phoenix, AZ, where he served for 27 years. Compton is the past chair of the Executive Board of the International Fire Service Training Association (IFSTA) and past chair of the Congressional Fire Services Institute's National Advisory Committee. He is also chairman of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation Board of Directors and the chairman of the Home Safety Council Board of Directors.