Thoughts from Florida


“To successfully integrate EMS in any department, let alone one steeped in tradition, is a daunting task.  I have met and worked with Chief Rubin on a couple of occasions and I know he is a forward thinker.”
Those are the thoughts of Terry Schenk. Terry retired as fire chief of Seminole County, Florida in 2005. He was reacting to yesterday’s entry titled “Rubin, Rubin”. Terry goes on to write: “I also applaud his efforts to promote customer service within the department.”
Terry and I exchanged emails in recent days where I was razzing him a bit about efforts, when he was chief, to have oxygen masks available that can be used on pets suffering from smoke inhalation Other departments around the country followed Terry’s lead in that area.
“You mentioned the pet masks the other day and that initiative was directly related to customer service since people so value their pets.”
It may sound silly, but it is those type of things that the public remembers.
In speeches I’ve given at various fire department functions over the years, I have often said that the public can tell you how many times a police patrol car has been through their neighborhood. They will let government leaders know if they aren’t seeing enough of the cops on their streets. Few of those same citizens are able to tell you how many people are staffing the local fire station.
Is it possible that this idea of more interaction with the public, that goes beyond just showing up for their emergency, will help make citizens more aware of how fire and EMS department’s operate?
Is it possible that a by-product of this type of customer service, will be strong ties with citizens, who might be willing to give politicians grief when there is talk about cutting a fire department’s budget?
Or, am I just spouting nonsense here?
Full disclosure. Terry Schenk is a friend. Besides his career in the fire service, Terry is a meteorologist and teaches meteorology. I have spent many days on the road chasing storms with Terry. When the storms weren’t happening (and that was often), there was plenty of time for us solve all of the problems in the world of fire and EMS.
By the way, you may have noticed we came up with the name STATter 911 for this blog. Our web guru Rick Garner said of this idea, “Great, just like the show Rescue 911”.
I said, “No, more like Reno 911”.

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