What steps are you taking to prepare operationally for anticipated economic hardships?
What in your department's history is valued and passed down?
Read what our readers shared from their area.
Question: What affect has the economy had on your department’s apparatus purchase and maintenance programs?
Things were simpler a long time ago. Only wood and other common combustibles burned. Buildings were generally built with real “dimension” lumber. Today, buildings are built differently. Some are so large and the air-handling systems so complicated that they are run by computer and have engineers on duty 24 hours a day to tend to them. Windows in most modern high-rise buildings cannot be opened so they do not overrun or contradict what the computer wants to do with the air. (Please indulge me on this very simplistic description.)
If you would ask firefighters in Toledo who knew me from 1975 until 1989 or so to picture me in their mind during that time, that vision would probably have a cigarette associated with it. I smoked big time—probably three or four packs a day at work easily. I quit smoking in 1989.
September 11, 2001, has changed the fire service profoundly, not only in the United States but also around the world. New words (or words that were seldom used before), procedures, tools, and policies have been developed and implemented.
When I came on the job, we did not have minimum staffing levels. On occasion, engines would run with three, and trucks would occasionally run with two.
One of the basic rules of the fire service for most of us is “Prepare for the usual, and have contingencies for the unusual.
The process of hiring new firefighters has changed since I entered the fire service.