The presentation’s message is, “Being a professional firefighter has nothing to do with earning a paycheck but has everything to do with attitude, appearance, commitment, and dedication.” It also includes the following: how members approach the job, how they prepare and train, how they take care of their equipment, how they treat the public and their own members, and how they behave and interact with the public both on and off duty. Students learn that successfully creating and maintaining a professional image can help with membership recruitment and retention, an extremely important concern today as the number of volunteers are dwindling in most areas of the country; fund drives; and building political support within the community.
TOM MERRILL is a 31-year veteran and former chief of the Snyder (NY) Fire Department. He served 26 years as a department officer, including 15 years as a chief officer. He also is a professional fire dispatcher for the Amherst Fire Alarm Office.
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