By now you have probably seen my insinuation of something interesting via Twitter, a la #FRED. A few weeks back I was listening to some chatter and it popped into my head as an idea to examine further, where I see a round-table session on the future of emergency services. It apparently has some traction because I have heard from some of you all pretty regularly about it. But while I envision what it could be, I just don't see it in the same format as what a bunch of people seem to keep suggesting, so I figured I'd write about it in more length here and see what pops up.
First off, I see that the issues of emergency response are very similar. Someone has a problem that exceeds their resource level, be it knowledge base, ability, skill, equipment or whatever, and we have the means to help them. So while the service we provide differs between fire response, rescue response, emergency medical response, or disaster response, these are all areas in which our shared resources make a difference in the community. Thus, FRED.
Now before anyone asks, "Where is law enforcement?" I will tell you. When I came up with this I didn't see them involved, but now I don't even know and have been thinking that especially in regard to homeland security, we need to be closer partners than we already are. So maybe we need to make room at the table for them too. Or maybe all of this is wrong. The question is, do you have an open enough mind to the possibilities and are you willing to share ideas, not ridicule, and not be an elitist? Do you have the ability to check your ego and be willing to believe anything is possible?
When we were building the South Carolina US&R Task Force, I had a philosophy I shared with the other principals in the formation of the team and they embraced it as well, which helped us get to where that asset is today. I wanted to see our group be inclusive rather than exclusive. I envisioned that if someone really wanted to be part of the team, whether they were in a small department or a big department; career or volunteer; EMS, fire, or both or none; or regardless of prior experience – we wanted them. We wanted desire to commit to excellence over technical skill because honestly, if you have the desire to do a great job but not the skills, we can teach you the skills. If you have skills but a crappy attitude, there's not much I can do to change your crappy attitude.
Likewise in this endeavor; if you want to learn, this is going to be a forum to do so. But it's on a grander scale than whether we get a new fire truck next year. The vision I want to discuss is what we see the future of delivering emergency service to be.
I have begun to research some places in which we can host a round-table situation and how to best moderate it. It might be a panel of individuals, it might be sessions leading up to a grand session, or it might be something I haven't thought of personally and you will come up with it. But the storm of change is coming and no matter how hard the sparrow beats his wings, he can't stop the rising winds. I think we have the readers on Firehouse Zen who get it and really want to be the agents of that change.