1. #1
    FlyingKiwi's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2002
    New Zealand

    Cool Oh... Thats where our money goes.

    From the New Zealand Herald.

    Burning question for firefighters


    When is a customer not a customer?

    No, it is not the start of a bad joke - it's the question Fire Service managers have raised as they try to work out how to describe the people to whom the organisation provides its service.

    Western Fire Region manager Brian Butt said staff were being given the chance to vote on the most appropriate terms.

    They have been given a range of terms to choose from, including stakeholders, consumers, clients, victims and the public.

    And it's a tricky question.

    "Customer" might not be the best way to describe a person cut from a car or someone who has lost everything in a fire, but children or community groups cannot be called "victims".

    "At the moment they're called all sorts of different terms," Mr Butt said.

    But the idea has met amusement and cynicism from firefighters, who say the answer to the conundrum will have no impact on their jobs.

    Professional Firefighters Union president Mike McEnaney said that whatever title management chose, firefighters would probably continue calling the public what they always had - something simple such as "people" or "the public".


    Oh I give up, our Police were supposed to call criminals "Clients" a few years back.

    "Scotty, beam me up. There is NO intelligent life here."
    Psychiatrists state 1 in 4 people has a mental illness.
    Look at three of your friends, if they are ok, your it.

  2. #2
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    MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    Mar 2002
    Loco madidus effercio in rutilus effercio.


    Mostly in our dept we commonly and affectionately refer to our hurt people as "customers". To use the word "victim" implies that some one did something to an individual with malicious intent. Some of our patients don't really like hearing the word "patient" either. I have seen that in the eyes of some of them.

    So we refer to them as customers. It's a word that everyone seems to generally accept, and it has something of a friendly tone to it as well. Where as patient or victim have deep psychological tones in them, and another thing too, is that we never know the deeper history of our customers. Who knows what trauma they have endured in the past, that might make use of those words seem offensive.

    To refer to them as "customer" gives them a sense of security. Sorta like when you enter a Wal-Mart or a Target store, "Attention K-Mart Shoppers...."
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

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  3. #3
    Dispatch Dweller
    Jay911's Avatar
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    Sep 1999
    On the way to the station. Really. It's 12 kilometers away and there's traffic.


    Sorta like when you enter a Wal-Mart or a Target store, "Attention K-Mart Shoppers...."
    Hey, 27, do they really say that? In a Wal-Mart or a Target?

    Sorry, couldn't resist..

    We call our customers 'customers' too. I agree that there's a lot of negative connotations attached to 'victim', 'patient', etc.


  4. #4
    Forum Member
    DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    Aug 2000
    Somewhere between genius and insanity!


    Why not...

    Patients for medicals, residents or business owner for all other incidents and reserve the "M" word for the politicians who hate us!
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

  5. #5
    MembersZone Subscriber

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    Jul 2003


    I will call them whatever they like as long as they keep paying the bills.

    I guess customer would be a good answer

  6. #6
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    PFire23's Avatar
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    Nov 2001
    On a rock, surrounded by water


    I don't think I call them customers, they are my Pt's .... plain and simple. Both at work (even my decedents are pts) and when I'm doing my thing with the Fire Department.
    To the world you might be one person, but to one person you just might be the world.

    IACOJ-WOT proud

    GO WHITE SOX!!!!!

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Dalmatian90's Avatar
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    Mar 2000


    Gotta love the irony --

    The search for a specific term to call the most generic group -- when patients, victims, bystanders, and the myriad of other words in the english language fail to properly sum up all the affected parties. Hmmm, maybe Affected Parties is a good one. Ok, even better for bureaucrats, PABAOPIWACT's -- People Affected By Actual Or Potential Incidents We Are Called To.

    Heaven forbid we should crack open a dictionary (or click on over to merriam-webster.com), and look up Public:
    2 : the people as a whole;
    3 : a group of people having common interests or characteristics; specifically : the group at which a particular activity or enterprise aims

    Even worse (sorry Chief Brunacinni) let's look up Customer:
    1 : one that purchases a commodity or service

    With the exception of subscription Fire Departments, there aren't many people out their purchasing our services. Most often there's taxpayers paying for the service, and even responsible parties billed afterwards for costs incurred. But it doesn't mean the person we're helping is paying for services rendered.

    The usual model of the fire service is pretty simple -- we provide service to anyone within our geographic response territory when they call. It's proper to refer to the group of everyone within that territory as "the public."

    Now, the prompt attention of the New Zealand Fire Service in remitting my consulting fee for straightening that matter out would be greatly appreciated.


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