Tuesday, July 10th, 2012 9:07 am
For Firefighting in Canada‘s Volunteer Vision, June edition
I have had an opportunity to attend, present, and be a delegate at various firefighting seminars and conferences across the country over the last 24 months, and it is quite apparent that change is taking place in the volunteer fire service.
That is no surprise, as we have been changing since the modern fire service was born. What is remarkable, in my view, is that in the last five years, change has accelerated, and because of that rapid pace, the magnitude of that change is very intimidating to many firefighters, myself included. As we train for our work, and then serve and do our jobs, and continually try to update our professional development, it’s hard not to wonder if we are doing all we can do. Hence, the feeling of intimidation.
Not only is the fire service changing in terms of firefighting tactics, but also there is considerable change in communication and technology. Couple that with the generational divide among our personnel, the change in the way we do business from legal, moral, and accountability perspectives, then consider the volunteer firefighter who is experiencing change at home or at work. All these changes are among the reasons that many firefighters find it a challenge to keep up, and may even decide to leave the fire service.
Individually, all these changes would not be overwhelming, but when the world throws them at us all at once, it takes extra effort to sort through the challenges so we don’t become so overwhelmed that we question what we are doing in the first place.
To keep up with all this change, the world has devised communication technology and smart phones that supposedly make things easier for us. Instant communication and instant recall/research has become the norm.