Canít run from ignorance
The title reads "Restoring the Flame at the U.S. Fire Administration" and makes reference to the America Burning Report of 1973. A report which was almost identical to a similar report during the Truman Administration in 1947.
Both reports provide the basis and foundation, as well as a heck of a strategic plan, for the fire service. Problem is the fire service has largely picked and chose what it follows, adopts, and practices.
The article states "If the fire service wants to remain relevant." While this line in the article references the USFA's federal involvement, it should relate to every fire station in America.
Society is changing along with what it values. These reports began to identify that change years ago, but the fire service's love for itself continues to pursue its service delivery more to maintain self image and needs than public service.
Very sad. If youíre a firefighter read these reports. If youíre an officer make sure your firefighters are educated. If youíre a chief officer and have not read them shame on you!
I want to give you the benefit of the doubt, but when you make statements like "the fire services love for itself" you come across like some one with a chip on his shoulder.
I do appreciate the benefit of the doubt. But in the interest of discussion I will be honest.
Maybe it is a chip on my shoulder. I love the fire service and everyone who wears the uniform. I consider each my brother/sister and would do anything to keep them safe. However the fire service by and large continues to approach service delivery via suppression only. Why? Why would a firefighter or fire officer choose to sit in the station in a response mode only knowing that the next response could kill or injury one of his firefighters and not TRY to do anything to prevent it? We are a brotherhood are we not? Would you let your brother walk into a situation that could hurt him if you could prevent it? Even if preventing it was a long shot, would you not still try for your brother? Why then do we do this in the fire service?
Walk into any fire station and what do you see on the walls? Pictures of blazes, melted helmets, charred tools; every statue of the fire service is a firefighter rescuing a child or another firefighter. Why? How often do we make rescues? Don't we rescue adults and senior citizens to? Why does EVERY fire service TV show or movie portray every fire as a life or death rescue?
We need to be proud of what we do no doubt! Firefighters still go the extra yard to save a life and deserve all the medals and recognition we can give them. What we do for our community is unmeasurable! BUT....
But again, WHY is the fire service constantly portraying themselves in such a manner, and continue to live in a suppression orientated manner when there is a better way.
Prevention is not glamorous! But it works! Departments who focus their efforts in service delivery have documented decline in fires (study's and facts). Countries who approach our profession in the same manner also have a significantly less fire/fire death ratio than the U.S.
So why do we continue to approach fire from a focused suppression standpoint if it were not for the love of ourselves; the melted helmets, the statues, the movies, the posters?
Why is it that we dedicate more articles, training, and money on RIT/RIC teams and training (saving ourselves) when the number of firefighters who die on the fire ground performing suppression activities and die in a situation that a RIT team could have stopped is almost minute! Yet between 2500 & 3000 civilians, largely children and elderly, die in fire every year and every fire started from a known preventable reason (these are the people have sworn to protect and why we come to work and exist) yet how much to you read, train, or budget to prevent that from occurring?
Right now there are thousands of firefighters sitting in the station waiting to be put at risk, one of our brothers may be getting ready to go to his last alarm. Yet we sit and make little to no attempt to prevent that - because that's not why they make statues.
Yes we love ourselves and have become very selfish.
Prevention is not glamorous, nor is it free. When agencies are strapped for cash, the first thing to go is the proactive stuff. They focus on reactive instead, as they should. What city would keep a big staff of prevention personnel while laying off engine & truck members?
I don't give a hog's balls if I ever have anything I've done commemorated on a statue, plaque, or 8x10 glossy. It's not why I do it.
But even for those who do get their jollies from the newspaper ink and the film at 11:00, I am quite sure they aren't out there hamstringing anybody's efforts to do prevention, or their department's efforts to fund and staff it. If it's done at the expense of the rank and file, maybe, but generally no.
This is just the ugly reality of tough budget times.
My point exactly. I do agree, and it's sad society is like this, but you can prevent 100 fires but let one building burn down because you didn't have the right tools. Agreed.
Originally Posted by EastKyFF
BUT! Why does it have to be suppression AND prevention? Why can't the engine companies and ladder companies left behind do prevention activities. That's the fundamental problem in the fire service. It's us against them. Suppression vrs prevention.
Should not be that way. The fire service as a whole needs to see one of their primary missions as prevention.
Not going to happen brother.
Originally Posted by Daniel Byrne
As much as I would love to see the fire service focus far more on prevention, the culture at both the company and command level simply does not exist to support that vision. The fact is that most of todays career members, and sadly volunteer personnel, whose communties (where extended response times and limited personnel) could benefit even more than career departments from expanded prevention personel have embraced suppression as our primary role and have shunned true, meaningful and comprehensive prevention efforts to the side.
While there are progressive forward-looking career and volunteer departments that continue to embrace prevention as the way to reduce the department workload, unfortuanlty there have been many alrger, less progressive departments that have chosen to slash prevention as short term way to keep suppression staffed without fully llooking at the long-term affects this will have on mitigating unsafe behvaiors that will simply create more fires in the long-term.
I wish that i could see prevention as something that most departments view as thier primary purpose, but ssadly bro, that is not the case and I see little chance of it being so in the near future.