The world is changing rapidly and the fire service is getting caught up in the tornado effect of technology on our society.
More and more fire departments are smartly using web sites, e-mail and social networking tools like Facebook and Twitter to recruit new firefighters, share life safety information and to stay connected to their community. There isn’t much you can’t do with a mobile device today that took a super-computer to do less than 30 years ago.
And while we’re making strides in keeping our folks safer on the incident scene, there’s probably few bigger challenges today than to keep your folks out of trouble on social networks and the Internet. Sometimes ‘retention’ in the fire service devolves to preventing our people from doing stupid stuff.
I recently had the opportunity to facilitate a conversation titled: “From the Xbox to the Box Alarm” with a large group of fire instructors for the University of Kansas Fire and Rescue Institute wherein we discussed today’s and tomorrow’s generation of firefighters. The conversation focused not only on the challenges in understanding, motivating, training and leading this unique cadre of individuals, but also enlightened the participants as to the tremendous potential they possess for moving our fire service forward.
And, naturally, you can’t have a conversation about today’s generation of firefighters without discussing the importance of technology and the impact of social networking.
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