As a student at Drake University I had the privlige of being a part of a study group that conducted research on ways that communities in central Iowa can share services and work togehter to provide a more consolidated fire service. In this project we looked at various aspects of emergnecy services ranging from closest unit dispatch to apparatus maintinance, training, and human resources procedures. Several coleagues and friends have asked to see a copy of the paper so I decided to post it here so that everyone can access it.
If you have any questions or comments please feel free to contact me.
As a part of my recent graduate studies I had the privlage of working with a team that put togehter a map showing drive times from each of the fire stations in this region. This map is a powerful tool because it gives us a graphic representation showing how far an apparatus can drive in 8 minutes.
This map is not an acurate representation of response times becuase it does not consider time to dispatch, or time out the door for responding units. It also does not consider responses of staffed stations versus volunteers who come to the station from home. What this map is powerful for is validating that the appropriate units are being planned for when we build our "Box" assignments. This map shows where we can meet an 8 minute windo, and using the overlap of multiple stations we can build better assignments.
Take a look at the map and let me know what you think.
A recent fire service social media discussion focused I the use of a axe as a wedge tool.
The following was posted on October 4th.
The shape of your axe is very important to its usability as a wedge. Here are just a few points to consider.
1. It's width at the flat end determines just how much of a gap you end up with. It also determines the nature of your striking service. Many people place the axe as a wedge and then drive the wedge with the halligan to improve their gap.
2. The length if the axe head as measured from flat end to blade curve determines the taper of your wedge. A fat wedge is harder to drive and displaces more mass than a long thin wedge.
3. Thickness at the blade. The geometry of true axes make better wedges than a maule. The thicker blade is harder to establish a purchase and it's thicker profile is more difficult to drive
4. The geometry of your blade is important. A flat blade offers you a limited number of angles to approach your wedge where a curved blade is more versatile.
5. Handle choice. A traditional handle is usually backwards for forcible entry applications. This is one reason why the PIG is gaining popularity. A straight stick style handle is better suited for this work.
Agree, disagree, let's hear it..
Many in the emergency services industry have been spouting the corporate idea of customer service. In a recent class conducted by a very effective marketing consultant I learned that most businesses fail because they do not do a good job of defining their customer. These businesses struggle to be all things to all people and they try to market their product to everyone. This sounds very similar to the fire and emergency services community. We try to be all things to all people. The instructor went on to share the story of one particular successful business and how they have succeeded in an industry that is failing.
Southwest airline is one of the only profitable airlines in the United States. They have become profitable because their business practices are simple and efficient. One way they do this is by defining their customer. Instead of trying to get every person who flies to fly south west they have chosen a specific share of the market. Southwest wants to appeal to the people who are making a trip and are deciding whether they will drive or fly. Southwest is not interested in people who are committed to fly and are deciding what airline they will fly. They are not interested in marketing to people who are deciding what amenities they want in their flight, or what perks they can get along the way.
By limiting their audience to only people who are deciding to fly or drive they can establish four criteria that will make their airline appealing to these identified customers.
These four decision points drive everything that southwest does. If you ask the leadership of Southwest if they will ever add meals to their flight they can say that those meals would 1. Add cost, 2. Potentially delay aircraft turn around, and 3. Add hassle to their customer experience. This flies in the face of what their identified customer wants, so they will never do it.
So, how does the fire service identify its customers? How do you define your customer?
Can you see how each of these definitions expects different things form your organization and that if you subscribe to an ill defined customer centric model of service you may be setting yourself up for failure?
If you are working in a "Warrior" profession you should know the writings of Lt. Col. Dave Grossman. He is coming back to Iowa to do a day long seminar. attached is the flyer for the event.
A quick throught from class tonight -
"What you permit you promote"
If your building an organizational culture you need to be aware of the decisions that you make, and the acceptions that you allow because the things you permit is actually what you are promoting.
Some of you are sick of seeing social media posts from me sharing some of the different runs and workouts that I have completed over the past few months. For those of you who aren't I thought I would dedicate some blog space to explaining myself and how I have changed a few things this year.
These two pictures were taken almost a year and 50Lbs appart.
Regular challanging fitness classes have added to my success
Functional movements that focus on body mechanics set the tone for my workout
I have always been big, and size has always been something to be encouraged and exploited. For all of my adult life this had been my atitude and approach to life. Unfortunaitly after the birth of my son I had several gut check moments that shifted my perspective. looking back on those events and Issues I am certain that they were all compounded by my size. Tipping the scales at 330lbs I was just to big.
As I approached christmas of 2011 I decided to make some changes in my life. Instead of making a newyears resolution. or setting a goal for a diet I decided to make some lifestyle changes. With both teh support of Christine as an evening workout partner, and David Johnston as a day time encouragement here is what I have done.
1. I stopped eating lunch out ant restaurants and started bringing healthier smaller portioned meals and snacks to work.
2. I committed to an exercise routine
Christine and I started off by working with a local trainer to start us on a simple path to fitness. She has built increasingly challanging workouts and kepped us accountable to the program.
In March I joined the Camp Dodge PT center's kettelbells class. This Monday, Wednesday and Friday offering is a very intense functional fitness program
I also comited to running a few days a week. These "runs" started off as slow walks, have progressed to multi mile joggs that are getting longer and faster each time out.
3. I commited to and participated in several fitness challanges.
This year I have run two 5K runs, the Warrior Dash, and I am signed up to complete the Living History Farms 10K
These three items have lead me down a path of discovery and personal improvemen. I am learning more and more about appropriate diet, fitness, and motivation. I have become a fan of the Crossfit industry and the functional fitness movement that has sprung up over the past few years.
If you have ever been involved in a large incident with a really big staging area you know that keeping track of teams and resources within that system can be challenging.
In class this week I was introduced to a new tool for managing and alerting resources within your staging area. Keith from Kansas showed us that you can use restaurant style pagers to keep track of and alert your teams with just the push of a button. When resources arrive and check in you simply give them a pager and when you have an assignment you page them.
This is a simple solution to keeping track of resources at an incident.
1. Responders will always do the very best job that they can do.
2. Disasters fail at the policy level.
3. Lacking clear policy and direction responders will implant their own policies based ion their own training and experience.