Over the last couple of years we have seen the effects of the economic turndown for sure. And if we are to believe the latest economic news, there may be more to come. Most of us seem to follow the same old patterns of behavior, some of which defy common sense. Think about it. We are trained to plan for emergencies: unusual incidents that bogle the mind of most people. Why don't we plan for our own, but on a long-range basis?
First, most of us have no plan. Second, we lay off public education and prevention personnel: the least expensive and most effective long-term solution to the fire and injury problem. Next we have knee-jerk reactions to government administrators and the public by creating a sales fire drill ( "the burning baby") to justify our equipment and suppression folks when the fire rates are declining over the country. Like I said, "common sense." Think about it like this. When you create a pre-fire plan or you lay out an ICS system for a particular kind of incident, you expect to follow the plan in some general way don't you?
So why would you not plan long-term for the very suvival of your department so you can continue to do this job and protect the public? Imgine the following scenario. We have a multiple-alarm incident at an apartment complex. We realize we are having a very large fire we didn't expect. Instead of having and following a pre-fire incident plan, we ride out with a couple of engine companies ready to pull some preconnects to see what we've got. When we relize that we are faced with a rapidly growing inferno, we then decide that we had better have a plan or the whole block might burn down. In this case it's your fire department.
Wake up and smell the smoke; it's you that's on fire. In today's environment there is no excuse for not grasping the very real need to have a strategic and marketing plan. Our fire fighters, the future of the fire service and our citizens' safety deserve nothing less than the best our brains can give them. That starts with common sense that's not so common.