After the year we’ve just gone through, it’s impossible to sit back and make any concrete projections for the coming year. I can’t even predict how much longer my three boys will be able to go to school in person let alone what’s going to happen over the next year.
I’m writing this in October. The presidential election has not taken place yet. There have been setbacks with COVID-19 vaccines. Debates over whether or not to wear masks continue, as do protests. And, the protests are stopping highways. Have you adjusted your response procedures to address not only responding to but returning from incidents? If you provide emergency medical services, are you taking a look at your routes of travel and figuring out what to do if a protest blocks your route—especially if that route is a highway? https://cdn.jwplayer.com/players/u67BSDop-tnSrKeUa.html
Interesting times indeed. Training has changed, purchasing has changed. Fleet maintenance can be impacted. COVID-19 has forced us to change our operations in more ways than just donning new PPE. Procedures in the cabs have changed for responding to incidents. Time at the firehouse has changed. Amidst all this, what’s coming for 2021?
To paraphrase Rich Marinucci, it’s not easy and often impossible to predict what is to come. What is for sure this year is that into 2021, although how long is anyone’s guess, we are going to continue to be in flux. Recent reports are saying that positive cases for COVID-19 are on the rise again. What will this mean for us? We were just starting to relax some of the more stringent guidelines we’ve had in place this year. From my point of view, it looks like we’re heading back in the other direction.
So, a state of flux for the time being. Which, for us, means we’re going to continue to have to innovate. We’re going to have to figure out a way to get back to safe hands-on training. Lectures delivered digitally are only going to go so far. Additionally, we’re going to have to figure out new ways of getting product information to stay on top of what is new. COVID-19 hasn’t stopped our fire service industry suppliers from researching and developing new products. If you haven’t had a chance yet, be sure to check out the FDIC Product Network. From product showrooms to meetings with company representatives and live product demos, the FDIC Product Network is an extension of FDIC International that allows you to get as close to new products as possible.
In some ways, many departments will have to reinvent the way they do business next year. There are many departments that rely on various fundraisers that involve close social interaction to raise funds. In most communities, these departments are pillars of the community and in many ways are the communities’ centers. Not being able to meet in person for fundraisers doesn’t mean there aren’t digital avenues to take. Take online ordering, for example. Take-away chicken barbecue is going to be as good as what you’ll get at the picnic table. For hundreds of years, our communities have kept these organizations going, and our residents are just looking for a way to support us. Think outside the box and let your communities know how to help.
By the time our December issue is published, we should know who the President of the United States is, and we will either be in the midst of a COVID-19 resurgence or hopefully a stabilization. Whichever the case, what is undeniable is that our communities are going to expect us to respond to their calls for service and to be ready to get to work when we arrive—whether that’s for a fire, a cat in a tree, a cardiac arrest, or a rescue. It is incumbent on all of us to ensure our organizations are ready with equipment and fire apparatus that are ready to go. That doesn’t mean absolutely having the latest and greatest. It means making sure what we have is in good order. It means that we cannot stop training to keep our skills sharp.
2020 has been unprecedented in many ways. Our daily lives have truly been turned upside down. Going to school means going to a desk at home. It’s the same for many who used to go to work at an office vs. going to a desk at home or to the couch with a laptop. It has been an adjustment for all of us, and hopefully 2021 will see a return to some semblance of normalcy. Until then, keep innovating, and stay safe.