Fire fighters are trained personnel whose work is rescue people, saving burning buildings and is trained on how to venture into collapsed buildings to save lives and to salvage some useful items that might have survived. He is well equipped to work in such situations.
This department is facing a lot of many challenges because of the complexity as well as the magnitude of the hazards. In response to this, the fire fighting units are investing a lot in research and development. Today, there are a lot of highly developed technologies that the rescuer’s remit use. This fire fighter unit is also referred to as the fire brigade or department.
As a student, I felt obliged to venture in to this dangerous department as a volunteer so that I can put into practice what I have learnt in class. The main reason why I choose to join the local volunteer fire department for my civic project is to develop networking skills, to learn how to co-operate with my fellow officers, organizing skills, to sharpen my listening skills, to learn how to communicate within the department’s context and lastly how to exercise patience.
The main tasks of the rescuers remit is to extinguish fires, saving burning buildings and other valuable properties as well as protecting our environment. These are no simple roles and one is required to go through a rigorous test before one is subjected to the real life situation. Apart from being taught on how to put out fires, one is taught on Para-medicine and what is referred to as technical rescue.
Most of the times, firefighters liaise with other emergency departments and the local police units because the fire scenes are prone to criminal activities. For this reason whenever there is a fire outbreak both the fire fighters and the police are the first to arrive. The fire fighters try to put the fire while the police collects the available data and at the same time protecting the valuable items that can be stolen.
I volunteered to work with our local fire department so that I can get the experience of working with others for the betterment of our society. I am well aware that everything that human beings use in our society is produced as a result of co-operation among human beings. If you look at a simple device like a radio, it comes to be as a result of coordinated efforts of many people each playing a particular role while towards the whole, no such a task can be done by one person as people are differently talented.
Therefore a person plays the part he knows best and the other one the same until that final goal is accomplished. The same reason force people to come together in doing civic work. Officers in the fire departments work together synergistically to achieve their mission, it an organization formed by people who co-operate thus I was sure I would learn how to work with others as a team.
I also joined this group so that I can network with various organizations and groups. Various organizations network so as to share common visions, values, borrow ideas and plans and to form a formidable unit that can be used in fighting for organizational rights.
I wanted to know how these fire units network with in their course of duty. Before you start thinking of networking you must question the authenticity of that deal, you must have clear expectations from that networking so as to know who you should look for, you must also try to contact as many organizations as possible so that you can know the best one to network with. This is something I really wanted to know hence the reason for volunteering. I was sure if I join this organization then, I would be able to contact the key figures that would give me all the details that I needed to know.
I also wanted to improve on my communication skills. I’m well aware that learning without communicating properly is lifeless and useless. News, information, knowledge are dispatched and gained through communication from the great people who are knowledgeable and influential. Therefore communication is very vital in our civil society.
I volunteered my time to the local fire brigade because I know there are a lot to be gained from there. In fact the only way through which you can kick-start your long waiting career is by volunteering yourself. One gains experience before he/she can get the first job. It is lack of necessary experience that make it hard to get a career of your choice thus by joining this sector I was doing myself a very big favor because after that I would be experienced in serving the community. Therefore it will not be difficulty to get a good job after completion of this course. (Derek Bok., 2007)
People should know that there are a lot of gains than what you would lose. I decided to choose this company, as I would get an opportunity to sharpen my communication skills. The fire brigades offers one a better chance to put into practice what you have acquired from class work and even learn more things that are not taught in classes. Here one is offered a program to advance his hearing skills as well as practicing on how to communicate effectively. This department provides one with a good environment to learn these skills, as there are people from all walks of life. They come from different backgrounds, professions and are of different age.
Fire brigades offer training opportunities to those who are interested. For example they train people on how to fight fires or simply how to put out fires and on how to give first aid to the casualties, act as radio communicators or operators, training offers, they get to learn on bushfire safety education, other learn on how aviation support or even in the catering department but myself I chose to be in the communication department where I could learn how to respond to the victims who might be in dire need of my help.
There I would listen to the details that they would give some either beneficial to the company and others to the police. Proper communicating skills are one of the essential skills that everyone should know so that he can save lives. You have to be patient in listening to each and every detail that you are given so as you know the most appropriate step to take (Himmel F.G., 1998)
The fire fighting departments have very complex and sophisticated means of communicating so that the fire unit can respond quickly incase there is an emergency somewhere. I was working closely with highly trained and experienced fighters in a communication center. There we were using the latest technology in order to communicate effectively instead of using maps and felt-pens to locate a particular place. This local fire brigade is connected with other fire fighter communication center.
This is to make sure that emergency cases are attended as quickly as possible. This is where the networking of companies comes in. I was able to have a first hand experience in connecting with various fire call centers to give them directions of fire outbreak scenes as well as other accidents. Here we dealt with not less than two hundred thousand calls in one year but not all of these calls we responded to as a company as some of them were directed to the neighboring fire brigades.
Our communication center was well equipped with relevant and effective technology and whenever we received a call from emergency scenes, we entered it in our computers that had specific software for determining the exact location of these calls. Our computers would then process this call even gone us the nearest fire fighting brigade that would quickly respond to the emergency scenes. If the scene is around our location, then we would quickly alert our fire-fighting officer so that they could rush to the place to extinguish the fire and salvage what they could.
This system could also identify and link us to the specialist units like rescue, aerial appliances, departments that deal with hazardous materials. The system could also automatically alert our specialist officers. When the call dispatcher compiled all the relevant information, it would then automatically send a detailed message to the nearest fire station providing them with all the information. There it would alert the fire fighters in that station by ringing the station bells and could also turn on the lights and open the gates to pave way for the officers. Then, after the call has been responded to, the computer aided dispatch system (CADS) would send us a message to alert us that the officers have responded to our call.
There were cases where there would be a fire outbreak and by coincidence the officers are out to attend another emergency, our computer dispatch technology would alert us so that they can be contacted through their radio that is mounted in their vehicle.
Even after we have dispatched our fire fighters crew, we would continue to remain in touch with them through the two-way radio system or we could communicate with them through the small radios that were portable. They would update us on how they are progressing and if they need more support we would arrange for the same. We would alert different fire brigades to go and assist our officers. Apart from using computer aided dispatch system and radios, we also used mobile phones and satellite phone especially in areas where other methods could not work.
By joining this local department of fire brigade I accomplished almost all of what I wanted to know but some skills like patience was not fully enhanced for I did not get a good opportunity to exercise on them fully but I still learned how useful patience can be. We used to take our time to process the available data so that we can establish the actual location of the emergency scenes because some people could send us fake alerts. We had to take our time so that we could establish whether it was genuine or a hoax. We never made hasty conclusions or decisions but we worked on the available data to what we would do next.
This opportunity also to an extent helped me to advance my listening skills. We were supposed to take attention to the calls to know exactly what and where there was fire outbreak then we would act on those calls. We also used to communicate with our men on the ground to know exactly what is happening and then we would take any necessary measures that would be required. (Bennet W. J., 2001)
Apart from that, I got an excellent opportunity to learn all the communication skills and now I can boldly say that I have that experience. We used to communicate with different people from different departments. In communicating you must use a language that both parties can understand, be brief and direct to the point and you must be somebody who can relate well with other and be able to pass your message in a courteous language. I also realized how organizations net work and the importance of doing the same.
We used to collaborate with other similar organizations so that we can serve the civil society better. We would ask for assistance from other fire brigades when ever the task proved to be too difficulty to be executed by our fire officers. Now I’ am step ahead from where I was before I joined the fire brigade. Networking cannot be effective if there is no co-operation among different units so as to make these roles a success.
I cannot say that I gained nothing In terms of organizing skills, as the fire brigade was a role model itself. If there is no organization at all in a company, then it would end to be a complete failure. Here we were organized into various departments and each rank had its own expectations. Therefore we were like a football team where each person has a role to play towards the whole. Various organizations have different organizational structures that make them possible to operate.
Having gotten that opportunity to work closely with the local anywhere in the civil service. I learned all that it takes to be a civil servant and how to conduct myself. Before I joined I had no experience but now am experienced and ready to join my dream career. I was well aware that without any experience then, you cannot easily get an employment opportunity. I was also able to translate what I had learned in class in to a real life situation.
I also feel honored to have been given such an opportunity to serve the community though it was a voluntary work. I was an officer like any other therefore I had an opportunity to think, act and behave like an officer in the fire-fighting unit. (Gunnar M. 1961)
Despite the fact that the fire brigade achieved its goals, there were a number of challenges I encountered in the course of my routine. In as much as we would have like to enhance networking, we were unable to do so. This was partly because of the communication failure. Some fire departments in the state used different communicating radio system something that made effective communication almost impossible. Some used communication systems that were absolute and it is even hard to get their spare parts.
There was also a problem in communication between the ambulance service and state fire departments as a result of the communication problem I have mentioned above though this was later solved. To be precise my knowledge and experience horizons were unbelievably stretched.
In short, this opportunity substantially changed my life. I realized there are some lacunas or loopholes that cannot be filled by mere coursework. Having an opportunity like this, which I had, gave me a classic opportunity to match the two. I have gained organizing, communication skills, listening, networking, and organizing skills among others. I would urge the company to also increase the amount it spends on its research and development as each and everyday situations are becoming more complex and
Therefore more sophisticated equipments will be required. I realized the need of complimenting class work with working experience for one to become a competent person like I am. Now I have no doubts that I’m experienced and fully competent.
Himmel F.G., 1998. Second Thoughts on Civil Society. Washington D.C. Brookings Institution.
Gunnar M. 1961. Beyond The Welfare State: Economic Planning Welfare State Duckworth.
Bennet W. J., 2001 The Index of Leading Cultural Indicators.
Derek Bok., 2007. Easing Political Cynicism With Civil Involvement: The Chronicle of Higher Education.