Cover: Fire Service

Fire Service

Challenge to Modern Management

Published 1970

by Edward H. Blum


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Fire department effectiveness, on which the United States annually spends about $3 billion, is being eroded by changing conditions and community problems. Over 90 percent goes for manpower. The number of false alarms, rubbish fires, abandoned building fires, deliberately set fires, and nonfire emergencies have changed the nature of fire service demands. Most are concentrated in slum areas where fire inspection can accelerate the process of abandonment and thus increase the likelihood of fires. Insurance rating schemes work against new and improved procedures. Congress passed the Fire Research and Safety Act in 1968, but without funding. Research of national scope is needed. Departments must cooperate to seek economies of scale in procurement and to allow intercity mobility of firemen. Increased minority membership and lateral entry into fire service are needed. Courage and the firefighting tradition are not enough. Fire chiefs must be trained as managers, capable of matching resources to needs. (Reprinted from [Public Management].)

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