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More recently, I met a mayor who was astounded when I mentioned that his city's fire department had a reputation as one of the best in the country. He talked at length about every other aspect of city government and the innovative things that were being done but he didn't have a clue when it came to the fire department. It was incredible that this man had no concept of how good a job his firefighters were doing and how much respect the fire service had for his chief.
I hope it's not widespread but I suspect there are other mayors, city managers and public officials who are just as indifferent. That's why it's important that anything dealing with the welfare of firefighters should be in the hands of experienced fire officers who are genuinely concerned about the troops in the trenches. Along with protecting the lives and property of its citizens, a fire department must also be committed to taking care of its firefighters.