It seems that every day we become busier. The more time passes, the more I become aware of the dangers captured by the phrase out of sight, out of mind. It seems like it's a continue struggle to keep those most critical to us within our sights.
Despite long hours at the office, we hold tight to our families and close friends. Despite long hours behind desks, we constantly strive to provide support and resources to the members of our department. Despite really wanting to relax on a weekend, we spend the day at a community event talking to those we protect.
It's a constant battle to keep connected with those around us, but we do it because it's important to both their wellbeing and our own. The relationship makes us all stronger. It makes us better people and better leaders when we understand the needs of those around us and work with them to make a positive difference.
So what have you done lately to keep connected to your members of Congress? OK, so it's not exactly up there with our families (either the one at home or the one at work), but if we don't want to fall victim of the out of sight, out of mind phenomenon, we need to put some effort behind it.
I often hear that Congress doesn't care about the fire service or that what goes on in Washington has little impact on how we run our departments. I don't believe this is true.
While it may not make the evening news, Congress is making decisions every day that affect our ability to fulfill our mission either directly or indirectly. We need them to make the right decisions and they need us to help them understand the issues so they can do that. Good decisions create good election outcomes for them and improved capability for us.
Don't be out of sight or out of mind. If you can, join us in Washington on May 8–9 for the activities surrounding the Congressional Fire Service Institute Dinner and to meet with your representatives and senators. If you can't make it, call their home offices and make an appointment for the next time they're in town. Better yet, make yourself a regular visitor when they come home.
Chief Hank Clemmensen
President and Chairman of the Board