This has always been known as the fire service. In my mind its refered to in the same way as the military. Were both paid for by taxes, so why not? Take away ego and geography and this could work. having a standard for training that you can't fake, and spreading the wealth around so that areas that are volunteer wouldn't need to be. But I beleive if this is going to happen it has to be at the national level. A single organized entity that doesn't have district lines.
But maybe a new system would make headway to resolving some of the LODD issues.
Instead of department level rules about training, response protocols, PPE, etc, it could be coming from a higher up authority and be in a consistent format to everyone reagrdless of who you are and what department you're from....
Lutan, That's an admirable idea, but I don't think it would work. There are simply too many variables at the local level - apparatus types and specifications, coverage area, building construction types, manpower...and you'd end up with the higher authority forcing "apples" rules onto "oranges" fire departments.
Agreed, but comparing the Oz fire service to the U.S. is apples to oranges.
Remember, our country was founded on the guiding principle of mistrust of government, unlike Oz or the rest of the Commonwealth. We're also a federalist system that is designed to put as much local power as possible in the hands of local government. That includes many small fire districts and volunteer fire departments that are not part of even the local government, recieve no funding from the government, and who would not benefit from a federalized fire system.
I'm a fan of standardization - for the local level - but if standardization is mandated on a national basis, it stifles innovation. The U.S. fire service has a pretty good track record for innovation, much of it at the local or sub-local level. A national fire service has the potential to eradicate that innovation here, and I'd hate to see that.
The national system works fine for Oz - great. I just don't think it would work here, even if you took 25 years to implement it.
Exactly my point. The departments who take it seriously and comply are generally the safer departments. Since it's not considered "law" and "enforced" it is more of a guideline. It shouldn't take a death to bring change that gets enforced.
If you review this month's discussions on FFN, you will see these:
"Volunteer F.D.'s- A soon to be organization of the past?"
"Is the Fire Service a "Customer Service Industry"?"
"Some departments need to go back to the basics!!!"
"Should certs be excepted from one state to another?" (sic)
Each of these discusses a problem or problems seen in the fire service in the U.S. today. These problems may, or may not be solved on a department by department basis over the next generation or two. In some cases, LODDs will continue to happen until some of these problems are behind us.
In some areas we will continue to have six fire companies to serve three square miles; that's probably four to six rescues, a coupla ladders and umpteen pumpers to cover this small area. Is this good customer service?
How would these problems be solved unless a central agency steps in and makes the necessary changes to break down some of the fiefdoms and improve customer service? Or unify the certification requirements across all fire departments, both career and volunteer? Or make easier the consolidation of struggling volunteer departments who can barely keep the doors open?
Nationalization is already happening, due to the rollout of the National Incident Management System. We are already seeing the effects in my area: credentialing of firefighters, making NIMS training a requirement for all members; defining what an engine company consists of for mutual aid purposes; and so on.
The credentialing of firefighters to comply with NIMS will by itself reduce the strength of many volunteer departments, some considerably. It might be nice if "Big Brother" had a backup plan for when that day arrives.
Let's, just for a moment look at the incredibly large bureaucracy involved in running our fictitious
National Fire Service
First we have a Presidentially appointed Chief, no wait it's a "Czar", Chief is not imposing enough.
Now he has to have Deputies (advisors) in:
Emergency Response Task Forces
(Im sure Ive left out at least 10 subgroups here...)
Each of these is going to have a regional liason
figure minimum 10 regions (in line with FEMA) so 100 Regional liasons
then we have State Coordinators...thats another 50 x 10 divisions 500, plus the territories.
Then we are going to have state volunteer, career, EMS, vildland or ARFF managers, lets just say 200 more new government employees.
OK so we have roughly 800 new management level employees. And figure on a minimum of $100,000 each, folks that is a lowball number...
And that is just for the new bureaucrats involved.
Implimentation, standardizing of equipment, training...are at least 100 times that number.
So what is that?
$9 Billion a year, on top of the money spent today.
Remember the top level jobs are going to be political appointees, meaning every time the president changes, so is the Czar's cabinet.
Meaning there can and will be wholesale changes in philosiphical approaches to getting the job done.
Say we get a New President from Arizona, now we get a Brunicini disciple to head up the Department.
How does his direction play in New York or Philly?
How about a New York President...we get FDNY mentality running departments that are volunteer (they are so going to get a fair shake there...right?)
What about a President from Ohio who was raised in a volunteer fire service culture?
Does he hire a recognized leader in the Volunteer Service who then hires others from the Volunteer ranks...not that they are unable to do the job, but like having a Union raised Czar who looks down his nose at vollies, there will be some retribution (now we get political)
This is a really bad idea...
When proposing something along this line, you have to look at the entire scope of what a National Fire Service would do to the fabric of the American fire service.
While something like this could be good in the long run, the damage it would do to our ability to do the job for the next ten years would irrevocably stain our reputaion with the public.