Open the Truck Bay doors!!
That’s right, when you get to the firehouse for your shift, the first thing you should do if it’s not already done in the morning is go out and open the truck bay doors. Welcome in the public and let them see your world and get a small glimpse into the firehouse life.
I know some of you are asking, But Why?
First off, we are lucky to have a place like the firehouse to go for work. Essentially a big home with cool equipment and awesome apparatus that we get to use! Thousands of people, Adults to Kids drive by a fire station and wonder what the inside is like, what’s on the trucks, what we do in the station, etc, Yet many never stop by, maybe because they don’t want to impose or maybe its almost a fear they may have.
Over my past 20 years in the Fire Service, I have seen countless stations around the Country and around the World that stay locked up tighter than Ft. Knox and I have never understood why. Maybe its because they don’t want visitors. Maybe its because they are afraid of crime in the area. Who really knows. What I do know though is that when the tax paying public citizens drive by a firehouse and the doors are constantly closed and they see no activity and its 1pm in the afternoon, the majority of them think the “Firefighters are watching tv in their recliners and getting paid for nothing!”……Yes, its a sad statement, but a true one.
Open bay doors show those passing by that we are occupying the station, taking care of our quarters/equipment, and inviting them to come inside. We want people to know we are there, and more importantly we want them to know when we are not. If the doors are constantly open when we are there, closed doors signify that we are out on a run or training (aka putting their tax dollars to work). When the station looks more like an abandon building than a firehouse, it becomes extremely easy for our customers to assume and suggest that we are not earning our keep and we are just the drain on tax dollars many politicians portray us to be.
With so many departments around the Country laying off Firefighters and shutting stations, we as Firefighters need to do everything we can to show the public that we are needed and that we don’t just sleep, eat and take up space 24/7. We have a Pride in ourselves and in our jobs as Firefighters and we need to convey that to the public even through the smallest ways possible.
Here are a few small, easy, simple things that you can do around your station to be more eye appealing to the tax paying public in your district. I am sure you can do alot more, but even just these small things can make a much better impression on the public.
- Keep the Truck Bay Doors open from 8-5pm daily when in quarters
- Clean the apparatus on the front apron of the station and not in the rear of the firehouse
- Conduct training in the truck bays where it is visible to passerby’s
- Clean, dry and roll hose in front of the station on the apron (If can be done safely)
- Maintain the lawn and outside of the firehouse on a daily basis
These are 5 BASIC things that can been done each and every day and over time the public see’s the Firefighters constantly moving about the station, working and earning their pay!
For those of us lucky enough to be a Firefighter as our Career Profession, Be thankful and never loose sight that those tools we use and the apparatus we drive and the stations we work out of are not ours individually, they belong to the citizens we protect and the tax payers in our districts.
Show off your fire service world to the public and be Proud!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jason Martinez has been in the fire service for 20 years with 18 of those years as a Firefighter with the City of Pensacola, FL. He also served 12 years in the United States Army and completed 2 overseas deployments.