ORGANIZE YOUR RIG THE SENSIBLE WAY
Storage Boxes and
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Wadsworth Fire Department
Perrysburg F.D. delivered their new apparatus
to Sensible Products and we worked with their
committee on an equipment mounting plan.
All equipment was mounted, organized,
labeled and completed in only 4 days.
hampered patient transport, though all were saved who could have
been saved. [Those lessons learned were cited by the Clark County
(NV) Fire Department as having proved critical in the fire and
police response to the October 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas.]
All emergency agencies need to train together and get to know each
other. While this is done today much better than 20 years ago, the
trend needs to continue even more so now that fire departments are
a key line of defense in national security.
TRADEOFFS BETWEEN PREVENTION
AND OPERATIONS STAFFING
Developing a strategic plan for community risk reduction
requires making tradeoffs between prevention and operations
within a given budget. Often, today this tradeoff is based on gut
judgment, political pressure, past practices, and inertia. You can’t
make the tradeoff optimally by these factors alone. You really need
to know such things as how many lives and how much property
are saved by having four more firefighters in operations vs. four
more in prevention. Not only do we not know that, but raising the
very question is heresy. I was literally forbidden to fund a study of
this tradeoff when I headed the United States Fire Administration
National Fire Data Center—because of political pressure.
THE FUTURE FORM OF THE FIRE SERVICE
Might as well stick the biggie in here, too. Given that 70 to
80 percent of 911 calls are for EMS; about two percent are for
fires; and very small numbers of calls are for very critical hazmat
incidents, MCIs, and other high-risk events, what should the fire
service look like going into the future? There is too little attention
being paid to discussing this at fire world meetings and classes.
How do fire departments become more adaptable and remain
affordable? Should they be like the Marine Corps. (fast and
mobile) vs. the Army (large forces great for fighting big battles)?
That is probably unfair to the Army, which has devoted lots of
brainpower and money to consider its posture in a changing
world. This issue has been discussed in the fire service but more
backstage than front and center. We can do what we usually do,
which is to slowly evolve over time, but that did not save the
dinosaurs when there was a catastrophic event. The more agile and
adaptable small mammals survived.
Some of the above issues have been unresolved for the past 40
years that I have been working with the fire service. I hope by laying
them out on the table, some people might be brave enough to tackle
them sooner rather than later. The answers will provide a more
quantitative basis for the fire service to make sound decisions for
community risk reduction, argue better for budgets, and be safer
Philip Schaenman has advanced degrees in electrical engineering from Stanford and Columbia Universities and is a Fellow of the Institution of Fire Engineers. He first headed groups working on data issues for manned spaceflight
then management science for the Bell System. Schaenman’s career morphed
into applying those skills to data analysis for the fire service. He was associate
administrator of the United States Fire Administration for five years, heading the National Fire Data Center and Technology Program. Schaenman then
founded TriData, which does consulting and research on public safety issues,
especially fire protection and EMS.