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Does anyone out there have a 'mission statement' that specifically references your firefighters in a separate sentence from the civilian 'customers'? All these fancy statements are concerned with what we are supposed to do for the external customers (civilians). I never really thought that the fire service had a problem identifying its purpose. THE PUBLIC MAKES THE PHONE CALL... WE ANSWER AND FIX THE PROBLEM. very simple. But, calling our members "internal customers" is a lot of bull.
It places me on the same level as the public. I THINK NOT. Without me or any of my people, there is no-one to provide any customer service. Yet more often than not, we are not even referenced in the department mission statement. If you have a mission statement that you think emphasizes the firefighters well-being and satisfaction, why not post it here.
Just wanted to get some discussion going.
stay safe

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Oklahoma City Fire Department Mission Statement: "Respond, Quickly, Safely Courteously: Meet the Need!

It doesn't meet your criteria but its what we go by.

Our Vision Statement is: To provide Excellence through a Unified Department, that is Loyal,Accountable, and Safe.

We don't mention either directly, meaning the citizens or firefighters but I think any way that we can communicate why we do what we do, is good.

Our manual goes on and does emphasis the importance of brotherhood and making a good working environment.

You might not like my explanation as to why I don't have a problem with the term "customer" per say but here goes anyway:
What has this generation of firefighter heard their entire lives?
"The customer is always right."
Before you take the term too literal, my point is the word customer and not the word "right." The word customer has been beaten into all of their heads from their first jobs. It is spoken of a gazillion times on TV everyday. So it is a term that means something to them.

For some the word Brother or Sister makes the point, to others the word Customer hits the mark. When they come through the door to start on the job, I'll use a term that makes sense to them. I'll teach the meaning of brother.
Thanks for the reply. I guess I see too many chiefs out there who try to run the fire service like a business. It is a service industry. Unfortunately, it just doesnt generate money and that drives the city managers crazy. We as a whole have continued to evolve and take on more and more "services", but some chiefs loose focus and forget about the 'providers'. I have found that by keeping the members happy, they will do just about anyhting you ask (even die). No private sector business would ever get that kind of dedication. I guess that sort of "calling" should at least be recognized in the department mission statement.
stay safe
Well said brother. I can definetly agree with the term "customer" not quite emphasising what we do. As I write this another buzz word we tend to use that doesn't hit the mark is "provide." As you insinuated, to many of us this isn't a job but rather a calling. Ofcourse, that would be hard for a Human Resource Manager to justify during a hiring process.....

Thanks for starting the discussion.
I started the discussion about customer service one month ago and got 2 comments. My point is proven that there are NO good mission statements out there that address a vision for the firefighters= the PROVIDERS of customer service. With all the other basic issues STILL not being adequately addressed (manpower/training/fitness), thankfully having a mission statement is LOW on the priority list. How did we ever do our job all those years without one ??? !!!!
This "customer service" stuff is one of my pet peeves! I've long maintained that a "business model" is NOT appropriate for the fire service. We don't have "customers"- we have people in need. For the most part we are a legalized monopoly- someone with their house on fire is not going to go "gee, I think I'll call 912 this time, those 911 folks were rude last time". That places a tremendous responsibility on us to perform to the best of our abilities, NOT because we need the 'customers', but because THEY have no one else!

I got into a heated discussion with some fancy pants, high priced consulting firm who wanted to give us that 'business' stuff. I gave them a couple of examples that showed CLEARLY that we did not, nor DO NOT operate as a business. I asked if the fellow belonged to a fitness club. He replied that he did- it was just down the street from his home (we'll say it was "Ballys" for illustration). I pointed out that there were no Bally's franchises in our area & asked him what luck he think he'd have if he walked into a Cardinal Fitness Center and said "I know I don't belong to Cardinal, but I do pay to go to Bally's & I'd like to use your facilities since there isn't a Bally's here". He said they'd probably think he was nuts & toss him out on his ear- imagine thinking that just because he paid for services at one place, that entitled him to services anywhere. I pointed out that that was *exactly* how the fire department works. Probably the great majority of our calls go to provide service to folks who don't "belong" in our taxing district; folks that are just passing through on the roadways or commuting here to work, but live elsewhere.

I also aksed him if he thought the first thing the discoverer of Viagra did was to immediately call every other pharmaceutical compay and tell them the molecular formula and invite them to use it & see if they couldn't figure out an improvement on it. He allowed that it wouldn't be much of a business, or an entity that would be in 'business' very long if the first thing they did was give away al their secrets to anyone and everyone. Again, I pointed out that was *exactly* the way the fire department operated. No further proof is needed than this blog!
Great topic. The fire service seems to always straighten itself out...Mission and "Vision" statements are early 90's management schemes designed to mask operational inadequacies and public contempt. How many hours were spent in your organization designing, developing and implementing the drivel the Kool-Aid committee came up with? During that time, how many bad stretches, searches and fires occurred? Any committees set up to handle those? If we are "internal" customers, then how about putting enough people back on the rigs, train on fighting fires, not lawsuits, and get better at putting fires out; that's the least we can do for the taxpayer; and that is what they want from us matter how "nice" we are when we do it...
Hey Mark,

The following is our Company Mission, Vision, and Core. It represents who WE as a COMPANY want the public to know that we are a highly qualified, well trained team of firefighters that can serve them, but also protect ourselves while serving them. We as firefighters will always be #1, but our mission is to protect the public. Keeping that in mind we can achive the goals we strive for no matter how its worded. I come first, team mate comes second, public comes third and the victim comes last. But we all know what happens in the real world !!! "Quality Emergency Services" it's a reflection of us as Firefighters !!

STAY SAFE !! Dennis


To provide the public with the highest level of fire protection and safety through Quality Emergency Services, Fire Prevention, and Safety Education Programs.


Our vision is to be a progressive company that embraces change as an opportunity to expand our role in providing quality, value based services required to exceed the changing needs of our community

Core Values

The Desire To Serve
The Ability To Perform
The Courage To Act
We made ours simple by defining who we are, a family inside the firehouse and a family outside knowing family takes care of each other

"Our family protecting your family because we care"
Hey Mark,
You are totally correct there are no mission statements that address what city, or chief is going to do for US. All the business analogies, and corporate models that we see thrust into the fire service serve one purpose: make the Chief and the City look good to the taxpayers. The fact of the matter is that so few fire chiefs are advocates for fire safety vs the dollar, nevermind about advocating for the one section of the population that is exposed to every fire in a given community; US! Some city managers and chiefs puff up in the chest and say, "Of course I support the firefighters! Just look at all the new trucks and equipment they have!" Never mind that they may not even be able to get out the door due to criminal staffing levels. Last time I checked with an apparatus salesperson they hadn't invented a truck that will respond on its own and extinguish an fire. I am a realist. I understand that the public wants government to be thrifty and still provide great service and the chief and his boss have to try and toe that line. However, when are they going to realize that it's PEOPLE that do the work.

Someone told me a story about Tom Brennan when he was chief in Waterbury, CT. As I heard it, the city council were balking at the cost of the chief's budget to make sure the rigs were properly staffed. The chief was asked, "Can't you do better than that?" and he replied, "Sure I can. Just give me $2000." The council was shocked and delighted,"Now you're talking chief!" Our man said, "Yep. All I need is $2000 for more body bags to put on the rigs!" Now THAT is an advocate for fire safety and firefighters.

If it sounds like I'm down on fire chiefs in general, I'm not. I have the utmost respect for someone who takes on that duty. It ain't easy. On top of it, I had the opportunity to work for a chief who really put his firefighters first. While I worked for him there were no grievances 'cause he and his staff followed the rules. Every educational opportunity that came down the road he supported, even to the point of paying for college math classes for guys who matriculated into a fire science program and needed general education credits. When the city council wanted him to put pressure on us during negotiations or back down from a stand for fire safety, he said no. And personally when I was looking to go to a bigger department he supported me 100%. To this day I would go to the mat for this guy no matter what he needed and I haven't worked for him in 10 years! I still see him occasionally and he still greets me as "brother". He is legendary throughout New England as a fire chief and a friend. I won't embarrass him by name, but if you want to meet a firefighter's fire chief stop in the town of Dennis, MA on Cape Cod. There you'll find a chief that understands that his job is to support the troops in the trenches who are getting it done everyday to make their community safe.
Oh yeah. One last thing. My current boss actually refered to firefighters as "widgets" right to their face and noone batted an eye! Think there's an issue there on both sides of the fence?!
You make an excellent point brother.

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