By: Robert Avsec
The other day I received the following message via LinkedIn from one of my Fire & EMS colleagues, Chief Ragnar Opiniano, the Fire Chief at the U.S. Army installation in Huntsville, Alabama. Chief Opiniano wrote:
Was wondering if you could do me a favor and list what you believe to be the most significant changes/trends in the past 10 years of the fire service.
I’m going to be interviewing applicants for an assistant chief vacancy we have and wanted to refresh the bank of questions from which I usually pull.
Having a few minutes to spare in my writing schedule, this is what I sent back to the Chief:
Here’s what “popped into my head”:
CAFS (Compressed Air Foam Systems). The technology might be older than 10 years, but the interest and understanding of how much more fire suppression capability a CAFS can deliver has probably never been higher.
Lightweight building construction. Also an issue that’s been around for more than a decade, but it’s an “animal” that keeps “evolving”. The architects and engineers are driven to build it at the lowest cost and new materials and construction techniques continue to provide them new “ammunition.” The result continues to be buildings that are great at resisting the effects of gravity, fire not so much.
See Related: Frank Brannigan was wrong…
Computer technology. It’s everywhere: from our tablets to our phones to SCBA to the fire apparatus…and it continually becomes more integrated into what we do, not just how we do it.
High End, Heat-Limiting Technology. This technology, when installed on an electric stove or range top, eliminates the possibility of cooking oil or fat being heated to its auto-ignition temperature.
Re-engineering the fire service culture. These are trends for sure; still much work to be done. Couple of points on this one:
• Eliminating as much as possible, unmanaged risks and making safety the “default” mode everywhere, everyday;
• Eliminating fear and intolerance in the workplace towards anyone who’s “different” than us;
• Bringing prevention, education, code enforcement, and automatic fire suppression capabilities to the forefront of what we do
Social media. Not sure what the environment is like on a DoD [Department of Defense] installation, but the use of social media by first-responders, particularly the posting of images to the Internet from wireless devices seems to be getting individuals and departments into “hot water” on a daily basis.
You’re welcome! 🙂