A: Communities have long recognized and appreciated firefighters heroic efforts that result in lives and property being saved. Over the years the fire service has developed several methods of measuring how well these goals are achieved, such as response times, lives saved and historically, “fire loss”. These methods of assessment may improve firefighters response tactics, but they fail to recognize the financial benefits provided by departments when they respond quickly and effectively and save businesses.
In a politically complicated, finance-focused environment in which we find ourselves having to defend our budgets, this study that shows that just 3%-5% of the total work firefighters do (fighting fires in commercial buildings) saves communities millions of dollars each year. In other words, our salaries, pensions and overall infrastructure are justified without even considering the other 97% of what the fire department does every day.
The fire service will continue to go about risking our lives to save people and property and we will do it with the same level of passion and humility we have always given. But at a time when the fire service has come under attack by those who try to put a dollar value on what we do, attacking our pensions and salaries and failing to recognize our greater impact to the community, departments have to react and show with accuracy and scientific precision that we provide tremendous, if unnoticed, value. It is time that we bring to light the significant financial impact our efforts have on our communities. It is time to shift our focus from “fire loss” to “what we saved.” …click here to learn about the study and read the whole article.