I have been attending FDIC since 1998 and I must say, it's only getting better. Over the course of this week, I will be posting sketches and sharing some of what I see as the greatest gathering of Fire Service minds in the world. On a technical note: Please do not hold these sketches to the same artistic standard that I usually post. It's hard to draw, hold an espresso, shake hands, text, and eat a jelly-role at the same time:)
Seriously though, as always, I'm humbled and excited to be here - it's time to recharge my batteries.
After speaking with many of the Brothers and Sisters today, I was struck by how many of us are experiencing the same problems with budget cuts and manpower shortages. The conversation inevitably turned to layoffs, shrinking training budgets, and outdated equipment that are victims of the latest economic downturn. The overwhelming collective is when times get tough, city managers look to the fire and police divisions to make drastic cuts that literally cut to the core of safety for us and the public we protect. Unfortunately, there are no easy answers or solutions, for us or the folks dealing with mutli-million dollar (billion, in some cases) deficits. It is hard, however, not to see a target on the backs of just about every firefighter here. It's a miracle that so many found the support of their departments, or their own check-books, to attend this year's FDIC.