As I get the occasion to visit fire departments I can tell so much about the department just by visiting their fire station and looking around. The signs and symptoms of their pride (or lack of) are all around for me to see. Little things tell so much. Clean trucks, clean floors, clean restrooms, empty trash cans, clean gear neatly stored... all signs and symptoms. What magazines are on the tables? Are they fire/rescue journals? Or are they periodicals on topics completely unrelated to fire/rescue? What's posted on the bulletin board? Messages about firefighter safety and upcoming training? Or classified ads from firefighters trying to sell an old car or motorcycle? How are the firefighters dressed? Nearly every day firefighters are going to get an opportunity to make a first impression on someone. Impression begins with "impress." Are your firefighters dressed to impress? Are the firefighters friendly and welcoming?
Think about how you judge a fast food restaurant. You want the restaurant to be clean and orderly and the staff to be kind and professional. So it is for fire/rescue services too.
Richard B. Gasaway, PhD, EFO, CFO