IAFC Member Profile: Introducing Denise Pouget
November 15, 2010
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IAFC On Scene: November 15, 2010
Denise Pouget is an assistant chief in the Alexandria (Va.) Fire Department. She has a bachelor’s degree in fire science management from American Public University and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in emergency disaster management. She's been a member of the IAFC since 2004.
IAFC: If you could tell the fire and emergency service three things, what would they be?
Pouget: I believe that great working relationships will thrive when people communicate, coordinate and cooperate with each other. Oftentimes, we tend to be very critical of our fire service family. Ensure you do not portray yourself as a victim of the challenges the fire service is currently facing. Challenges create opportunities! Be a participant in making your organization the best it can be. Remember that you are responsible for your own happiness! Always put principles before personalities!
IAFC: What fire and emergency issues keep you up at night?
Pouget: One of the many fire and emergency issues that keeps me up at night is a need for four-person staffing. Several studies have presented supporting science that indicates four-person staffing is more efficient, effective and productive on the fireground. Three-person staffing is simply unsafe and makes it difficult to perform critical emergency tasks in a timely fashion. Communities and community leaders need to be educated on the critical need for four-person staffing so they can support the funding necessary to make this minimum requirement for fire engines, trucks and rescue squads.
IAFC: What’s your passion?
Pouget: My passion is my family and my faith!
IAFC: What’s your department doing that’s worth noting? What are you doing that you’re proud of?
Pouget: The Alexandria Fire Department is working very hard as a team to better the organization in every way. We recognize that challenges lead to opportunities to change our department for the better. This mission will never be complete. We will never let ourselves be asleep at the wheel! We will ask ourselves every day the question, “Are we doing everything we can for this department?” I am proud to work for a fire chief who truly lives that message everyday and sets the example for his executive team to lead the sections of the department in this direction.
IAFC: What’s something that, if others knew this about you, it would surprise them?
Pouget: I love education! When I was younger I couldn’t see the value of it. Now I see it so clearly! To see the broad perspective we must be willing to open our minds to new thoughts and ideas! I love going to school!
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