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Industry

How to Justify Your Fire Budget When Seeking Government Aid

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Institutions like well-funded schools and effective law enforcement are often a gauge for the value and health of any community. They attract business that is essential for growth and stability. For many communities, the public coffers are limited and desperate, forcing these public institutions to compete for dollars in any way they can. They’re using advanced metrics to justify their budgets while committees use these metrics to judge the institution’s value to the community. Throw in other concerns, such as real estate values and insurance premiums, and you can have a very complex system to measure the effectiveness and value of what one organization brings to the community.

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How to Improve Diversity in Your Fire Department and Why It’s Important

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Demographic trends indicate that women and minorities are the fastest-growing segments of the U.S. workforce. As of 2012, women accounted for nearly half of the workforce, while minorities made up 36 percent of the workforce. However, this growth is not reflected in the fire service industry.  According to the NFPA, women made up just over 3 percent of firefighters, while minorities made up less than 20 percent. As people of different nationalities, religions, and genders choose the fire service for a career, fire organizational leadership and firefighters themselves must adapt to the changing demographic of the communities they serve.

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Women Are Beginning to Take More Leadership Roles in the Fire Service

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Since the beginning of the women’s rights movement in 20th century America, women have taken on leadership roles all across the nation. From corporate executives to politicians, females have gained authoritative positions within numerous career paths. However, in some male-dominated industries, women have struggled to reach these leadership roles. One such industry is the fire service.     

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What are the Different Ranks of Firefighters?

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The fire service has a rich history dating back to the 17th century when New Amsterdam established the colonies’ first fire fighting system in 1647. During the early years, fire organizations were social groups within the community that sought to put out fires occurring in nearby metro areas. However, when fires ravaged cities like Chicago and New York, the lives of thousands of people were in danger. The public quickly demanded that fire service institutions be organized in cities and towns to protect life and property.

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How Drones Are Hindering Firefighting Efforts  

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As we move deeper into the 21st century, one of the prevailing issues of our time is the need for common sense to keep up with burgeoning technology and how it can help or hinder our response to all sorts of emergencies. Recently, the serious issue of civilian drones has come to the forefront of emergency services as incidences of drones interfering with first responder operations are on the rise. Sometimes, this has devastating effects.

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Three Reasons Why Firefighting is Getting Costlier

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It turns out that 2017 was a banner year, and ultimately a tragic one, for the bottom line among the world’s insurance carriers. Unparalleled natural disasters around the world will result in more than $135 billion in claims and losses. Total property losses, after you factor in uninsured property, will exceed $330 million. Only 2011, which included the Japanese earthquake and subsequent tsunami at the Fukushima nuclear plant, resulted in greater losses.

While it’s impossible to put monetary value on the loss of life, one can only imagine the scale of tragedy after so many floods, hurricanes, severe storms, and wildfires.

Possibly more distressing is the overwhelming opinion among the scientific community that these natural disasters, caused and amplified by a number of factors, will only increase in years to come.

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New Year, New Ride: Apparatus Trends for 2018

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We’ve all seen car ads boasting of the latest features in comfort, safety, and technology – automatic brakes, WiFi hotspots, and so on. By and large, these are nice things that make car travel a safer, more comfortable experience. While fire apparatus aren’t necessarily concerned with comfort, there are some interesting innovations and trends coming in the next year that will enhance safety and operational efficiency.

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Common Challenges Volunteer Firefighters and their Leaders Face

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The National Fire Department Registry (NFDR) published a report in April 2017 detailing the number and type of personnel who man the firehouses throughout the US.  The NFDR published that there are 27,192 fire departments that staff about 1,215,300 firefighting personnel.  One striking and surprising result of the NFDR study is that of the active firefighting personnel, 32 percent were career firefighters, 56 percent were volunteer firefighters, and 12 percent were paid-per-call firefighters.

The statistics compiled by the NFDR highlight a challenge faced by fire departments and the cities, towns, and municipalities they are sworn to protect.  The fact is that when you call for help or have an emergency, five out of ten firefighters who show up to render aid are volunteering. Volunteer fire departments cover vast sections of the country that are not serviced by paid fire services.  Traditionally these departments existed primarily to respond mainly to structure and wildland fires.  However, as funding for EMS services is reduced, volunteers are finding themselves responding to accidents, technical rescue, and other life-threatening emergencies.  The new administration’s unprecedented cuts have also befallen onto volunteer fire station budgets.  The budget cuts and reduced funding are raising concerns about the state of department readiness and the ability to respond with near obsolete equipment. In order for the volunteer agencies to succeed they must keep up with the needs, growth, and changes of their community and society.  Simply put, you simply cannot use 1960 technologies to service 2018 problems.

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California’s “New Normal” Demands New Staff and New Strategies in 2018

wildland firefighters

Some of the biggest headlines of late show that California has been on fire near continuously over the past couple of months. Agencies such as CAL Fire and the Forestry Service have beefed up their staffing in the face of these unprecedented blazes.

The staffing increase is especially underway in Southern California in the face of strong winds and continuous dry conditions throughout the recent fire season. Coupled with the extent of the burnt scrub and bushes from past fires, these blazes have already chewed up hundreds of thousands of acres and destroyed thousands of structures. In response to these fires, as well as in handling the aftermath with recent flooding and mudslides, various fire and forestry agencies have stepped up their hiring efforts. As these intense blazes become more aggressive, sufficient personnel will be needed to respond to these emergencies with equal aggression.

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Repairing the Damage: Female Arizona Inmates Serving as Firefighters

Building and maintaining a sufficient crew is an ongoing challenge for many fire companies, and several of these groups struggle to meet that challenge. It isn’t at all uncommon for fire companies to recruit and retain volunteers by drawing from the communities these organizations serve. However, for many areas and municipalities throughout the country, the need for qualified personnel is a bigger problem than the more traditional recruitment strategies can solve.

Arizona has discovered one innovative solution that has been implemented to great effect. Women inmates from the Perryville prison complex have been responding to wildfires for a number of years now, and the successful program is finally gaining the recognition it deserves.

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