Good afternoon from the Jumpseat. How many times a day do you pick up or visit a publication like Firehouse and see cuts being handed down from city hall? It seems like a constant stream of cuts and cutbacks due to today's financial problems are being faced by everyone. So what can we do to help deal with these cuts when they hit the street level firefighter? Let's take a few moments to talk about when city hall's axe hits the jumpseat! Let's talk about the things that you can do while performing as a backwards riding firefighter.
With city hall being faced with new challenges to meet budgets, fund pensions, and recruit new volunteer's we are faced with forced cutbacks and even worse, layoffs. Some of the best advice in dealing with this problem is to become a active member in your union or association's to push for change in the political arena, but let's keep this discussion at the fire scene.
No matter how many brothers and sisters we lose due to these cutbacks the rest of us are left to carry on with reduced members and resources. So how do we deal with it? One word, adaptation!
Adaptation: The action or process of adapting or being adapted. This means that we need to change our way of thinking in approaching these situations. Maybe we should look for new ways of managing emergencies. Perhaps we should look at additional units being dispatched on the initial call for service. Or maybe we should take more responsibilities upon ourselves to be better prepared!
Maybe that involves learning how to maneuver a ground ladder more efficiently by yourself or taking the time to load the hosebed so an attack line can be deployed by one person. This could mean that you need to prepare your rescue tools in a box with wheels so one person can carry and deploy!
With these few examples in mind,I vote for being more responsible for the things that I can control. While city hall is asking me to do more with less maybe we can do more for ourselves! By taking on this challenge with increased training, more drilling, and increasing our fitness we can protect ourselves from these cuts! Constant training in real world situations will provide you with the tools need to survive these cuts while functioning in today's new fireground! Improving your fitness can better prepare you for the increased workload that is being asked of you. If you are continually drilling you will lessen the chances that you will not be prepared for the next emergency!
So if you get the news that the axe is coming your way, maybe it's time to sharpen up your skills to make sure that we all go home!