Two hundred years of tradition unimpeded by progress
23 July 2006
At least that’s what Ernie Misewicz calls the fire service. It’s been several years since I had his class at UAF, but the line still evokes a smile. Particularly since for the last couple of years, the amount of proactive thinking in magazine articles, conferences, and Tuesday night drills seem to be increasing. Battalion chiefs, training officers, and others are getting the word out about working smarter and safer.
I had time to reflect on such things this morning because the farmers market crowd in Volcano was small, and very few people came by the firehouse to talk. I think that, in addition to internal work on increasing safety and effectiveness, the biggest goal for emergency services is external communication to those we serve about how we work. People expect that 911 calls will be answered and responded to instantly, if not sooner, and many firefighters and emergency responders maintain high standards of professionalism. But if we who respond don’t communicate what we need to do our job, and what is involved in doing it, we can’t expect a lot of support from the public. Seeing science organizations open up many more possibilities when they explain why they do what they do is perhaps a good model for fire departments.