Lieut. Ray McCormack speaks fluently about the acronym "DICERS-VO" on the fire ground, while defining it very well. I got to thinking the other day, many acronyms flood the fire service and why add another one. As tactics are a major part of the job, organizations are formed from the top, and many times the services/programs we provide are implemented from above the operations staff. No fire department can operate without funding, apparatus, manpower, and tools. The defined "Mission" can only be obtained by strong "TEAMWORK", and making your ideas happen.
If you hold a position in the upper part of the organizational matrix, an acronym should be just as valuable to you as they are for the field of operations. It is your responsibility to fight for what is right, giving your community and personnel the valuable assets to perform the tasks your community expects and deserves. It can be very difficult at times to put your thoughts on paper, in hopes of presenting those ideas to your elected officials.
Your team may have created the most valuable program in the history of your department, and may even be adopted by many other jurisdictions, but how do we get there. The acronym "DICERS", already being part of the elite fire service, will help you to get started in developing programs or projects. Please understand that this is just the start, many long hours and justification lie ahead.
Determine - Determine the needs for your community by completing a comprehensive self assessment. In this assessment, you will need to evaluate your past incident trends, current incident types, apparatus needs, manpower status, funding, and your community make-up.
Identify - Identify your goals for what you are presenting. The main thing here is to remember you must show some sort of benefit to the community, not because "you" want something. These goals can be simple or complex.
Communicate - Communicate your plans to your membership, elected officials, and the community. If your are representing an idea that's going to benefit the customers, it is better to have them on your side. If you do not communicate your intentions/ideas, they will feel blindsided.
Explain - Explain the process utilized to make it this far. Having a plan on paper is valuable, but if you can't explain the facts and figures of how you generated the plan, you might as well pack your briefcase.
Regulate - Regulate the process. Any good plan needs to be thoroughly assessed and re-examined. Do not rush a good thing. If you did your homework, your reward is waiting for you.
Simplify - Simplify the actions on how your plan will come to fruition. After you expelled hours of generating an elite plan, generate a simple policy or procedure on how and when it will be implemented. Just remember, if it involves firemen, keep it simple, we already have enough to remember.
Good managers should not be afraid to utilize something as simple as an acronym to get started with a project. As an organization, leader, and community service, you must plan for the future in order to keep the bay doors operational. Answering questions to the managers is without a doubt a never ending saga in our business. Allowing the upper echelon to walk all over us will result in ill effects, possibly having a long lasting effect on the services we provide.
So...if you are passionate about your job, use the simple acronym and definitions I have provided to help you get started. There is nothing worse than being in a position and cleaning up the past, as plans were unheard of.
Why reinvent the wheel of acronyms? It's already a part of the fire service..."DICERS" for administartion!
It's Not Just About Ideas...It's About Making Them Happen...DO IT!