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Hey brothers, glad to see a group on such an important subject. My department is taking a great step in a few weeks, and is inviting Village trustees, village president, and other officials to a demonstration showing what we do. My town, like many, is experiencing budget cuts and has been threatening layoffs. (Although they continue to put in brick paved streets, expensive planters, etc.) I about fell over when I found out "they" agreed to come out. This could be our big chance, and maybe our only chance to get "them" to have a better understanding of what we do. I want nothing more than this to go as well as possible. Does anyone have any ideas for some scenarios that we could put on?? Has anyone here ever done this?? We need to show why we CANNOT afford to give up ANY more manpower, and why we need MORE manpower. ( we run 2 engines, a truck, and a squad with a minimum of 3 per rig, and 2 ALS ambulances and a B/C) Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I'm ecstatic that we have this opportunity and don't want to blow it! Thanks again brothers, and stay safe...

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Run a mini fire academy. Take the morning to put them in gear and give them a quick lesson on SCBA, then take them in a burn building. Make sure it's hot, let them help put it out, then make them continue to wear the gear (SCBA and all) until all the equipment is back on the engine. Then explain to them this was just a bale of hay or propane simulator that is over in a matter of minutes. A structure fire takes much longer to control, then comes the overhaul and everything involve in scene management. If there are several participants, split the group and let one group do search and rescue while the building is smoked out. I'll guarantee they will miss the "victim" unless they get lucky.

If you do not have a burn building, smoke up a structure with a smoke machine. The gear will wear them out, then explain the additional heat the men have to deal with when making an attack. Again, do not let them take off the gear until everything is on the engine.

Later, showcase all your EMS, Fire Prevention, and any other efforts your department supports. Let them know you are more than fire suppression and they are getting a extremely large bang for their buck.

Hope this helps.
Thanks a bunch, Chief. Very helpful. We're still not sure if they have agreed to get into gear and participate themselves, but I would think they would be at least curious to do so. Having them keep the gear and airpack on until the scene is picked up is a great idea...WE know how taxing that can get. We are also going to demonstrate a cardiac arrest EMS call. I want to put the "mega code" dummy upstairs in cramped area to start the call. The ambulance crew arrives first to start working, and then the ALS engine company arrives and brings up the additional equiptment (backboard, stretcher etc.), and asssists with the code. We're going to take the "patient" down the stairs and out to the rig and all.

We're going to demonstrate pub ed, car seat installs, and service calls also. I really like your way of looking at it as for them getting "an extremely large bang for thier buck" ( I may steal that one from ya!) Because let's face it, it is all about the "bucks."

Thanks again for your help, Chief. I greatly appreciate it.
Congratulations on getting those officials involved in seeing what actually happens when your department responds! Contact the IAFF for the program they use called Fire Ops 101. They may be able to give you some ideas on what to present and how to present it (talking points). Also check with the International or the NFPA for programs that talk about NFPA 1710 Minimum Standard for Staffing and Delivery of Service for Career Fire Depts. I went to an IAFF seminar on implementing that standard and found it pretty enlightening in regard to how the standard was formed, what the standard says, how to evaluate your department by the standard, and suggestions for achieving the standard. One thing you may want to mention is that with your current staffing, 3 per rig your department is ALREADY below the nationally accepted standard. How supportive is your Chief of this process?
Thanks Chris. We did get some ideas from the IAFF and the fireops101 program. We ran our presentation last weekend, and it couldn't have gone any better. It was more of a demonstration than a participation event, as the trustees did not agree to gear up. We ran a full still response to a simulated structure fire in our training tower, a cardic arrest EMS simulation, a "firefighter down" rescue, and we had a sprinkler company come out with a flashover simulator. (very impressive by the way!) Our chiefs ran a play by play during all the demos, and they could hear all of the radio traffic. We also showed a couple of short videos on staffing and firefighting duties.

To say the least, they were very impressed, and had NO IDEA that all of those different things had to be done very quickly and effectivley in a structure fire, and it took ALL THOSE firemen. It also helped that between 8am and 11am, 8 calls came in! We also purposly scheduled about 5 car seat installs for that morning! The trustees even hung around for a while after the demos to ask questions. They SEEMED to really have a new appreciation, and even more important a better understanding of what we do. I guess only time will tell. And yes, fortunatly our Chief was actually the mastermind of the event, and has been trying to run this for a while now. (we're lucky in that way) Thanks again for your help, brother, and keep it safe out there...


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