Firefighters captured the nation’s attention the last several weeks as Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Michel battered portions of the Eastern United States and Gulf Coast. Our men and women representing the fire and emergency service were front and center during the initial and ensuing responses.
What struck me most deeply about Hurricane Florence was the outstanding national response model that utilizes numerous agencies to deploy rescue resources. Firefighters work very well with partner agencies in large disasters such as Hurricane Florence. Resources such as FEMA’s 28 task forces (USAR), state search and rescue resources, military resources, volunteer citizens and law enforcement combine to ensure a highly effective, unified response.
Collectively, America has become more resilient and prepared thanks to an emergency-response system that begins at the local level and is supported by state and federal resources.
On another note, October is Fire Prevention Month – our annual opportunity to direct the community’s attention to smoke alarms and home-escape plans and the education needed to maintain a fire-safe homes, schools and businesses.
As fire service leaders, it is our duty to arm our customers with information and resources. We do this very well by integrating with partner agencies to maintain building fire-protection systems, review building-code requirements and support training and fire drills.
A critical aspect of our duty to protect our communities is minding the delicate balance between school safety and fire safety. Recently, we have noted a trend with some who encourage schools to install locking devices that are not code compliant. It is critical that we work closely with educational institutions and law enforcement to ensure that we utilize and integrate safety resources appropriately.
I am asking each of our members personally to examine our future strategies to holistically protect our communities. Whether we are working with other agencies on an incident or our daily response, please cultivate these relationships. Collectively, we are much stronger.
Fire Chief Dan Eggleston
President and Chairman of the Board