Professionalism in the Fire Service

Issue 7 and Volume 164.

BY MICHAEL J. BARAKEY The fire service is in a natural state of flux. Baby boomers are retiring, leaving after serving for the past 30 years. As the Generation X firefighters move into leadership and fill the resulting gaps, they must step up and produce. With these retirements, years of experience and knowledge are leaving the fire service. Today’s officers are responsible to fill these voids and plot the future. They must remember and respect the past yet lead with confidence. Our decisions, behaviors, and leadership will define the fire service for the next quarter century. Today’s leaders are facing lean and responsible government that holds the fire service accountable for productivity and responsible spending. Municipal councils and managers cannot continue to protect public safety during budget cuts. Likewise, technology is improving firefighting techniques; traditional firefighting tactics are becoming automated and automatic. Residential sprinklers are coming; state legislators are more…

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