An Interview with FDIC 2011 Keynoter Mike Dugan

“The most pressing issue in the fire service today is that we are getting away from our core values and are moving to a business plan, and if you make the fire service a business, then youmake firefighting a job! It is not a job, but a calling and a vocation,” warns Michael Dugan. a 35-year veteran of the fire service and a world-class firefighter. Dugan, a captain and a 25-year veteran of the Fire Department of New York, is an FDIC 2011 keynote speaker. His message theme is in the form of a question, “Why Are We Here?” Dugan discusses this query from numerous perspectives, all the while reminding the audience: “The firefighting career is a gift, which you should enjoy.”
 
He urges fire service members “get involved with what is happening in their community and not to allow their community be run by people who have never gone into a burning building.” The most pressing issue in the fire service today, he states, is that we are getting away from our core values and are moving to a business plan, and if you make the fire service a business, then you make firefighting a job!” It is not a job, but a calling and a vocation,” he emphasizes.
  
When asked how he would change the content of his message if he were giving the keynote address 10 years from now, Dugan responded:
 
My message would be much different because I am much different today than I was 10 years ago. I have changed along with the fire service, and I am continuing to learn, so I sometimes have to change my position. In 10 years, I would hope that my remarks would be different because I have kept on learning and some of my ideas were changed by people with differing views and ideas from mine.
 
“One of the greatest needs/concerns for today’s fire service is to have young men and women get involved and stay current on what is happening,” Dugan stresses. “The fire service is in danger of being run by people who don’t understand or comprehend what we do and why we do it!” he explains.
 
Dugan chose his keynote topic because “it is time we started to ask ourselves some questions about what is happening in the fire service.”
 
Dugan firstattended FDIC in 1998, and “has not missed one since. For me,” he says, “FDIC is a time to renew old friendships and make new ones. I have met some of my best friends at FDIC. Every year, I look forward to the FOOLS Brotherhood bash for a chance to see people.”
 
Dugan serves FDNY as the captain of Ladder Company 123 in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, and serves the Halesite (NY) Fire Department as a volunteer. From its inception, he has been an instructor at the FDNY Annual Education Day and has developed programs now taught to FDNY members on that Day.

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