The rapid and dynamic environment in which fire safety and rescue services operate require transformational leadership which can manage subsequent pressures in organizations. Leadership is important in directing workers in any organization towards achieving organizational objectives. The rapid changes that take place during a fire emergency can only be properly managed through flexible working patterns and communication tools (Crosby, 2007 P. 10). Organizational leadership is generally responsible for designing vision and communicating values that are consistent with the mission of the organization.
Followers are therefore coached on best practices and procedures for giving and receiving feedback on sensitive matters to the organization. Exchange of ideas within the organization is a product of harmonious relations between the leader and workers. It is this exchange of ideas and interaction between leadership and followers that inspires teamwork and quality performance at workplace. Changes must be appropriately factored in the planning of an organization. Fire rescue demands effective and timely communication of information in order to avoid fire disasters getting out of hand.
Fire and rescue leadership is the pivot around which operations and tasks are managed for safety and goals to be achieved. Literature review Group and team managers working in fire stations are the principle leaders who strategize vision and explain it to employees. Lifelong learning, emotional intelligence and self awareness are very important leadership at all levels (Cote, 2003 P. 14). Fire outbreaks are an emergency which if not managed properly could lead to devastating effects.
Prior preparation and strategic planning is therefore necessary in benchmarking precise decisions and innovations which can thwart a crisis. Training is therefore part and parcel of the organizational culture of transformational leadership in fire safety and rescue services. An effective leader should possess a character of humility and courage in order to direct fellow workers in preventing and arresting fire emergencies. Such a leader should also be charismatic enough to influence focus in employees towards achieving organizational objectives.
Fire and rescue training is an important component of managing fire risks and associated damages. The training program is fragmented in several sections that correspond to variety in expertise. The daunting task of training falls in the hands of the fire engineers and management which look into technical details of the training and financial allocation respectively. The fire engineer outlines the curriculum for the training taking into account engineering and architectural details that apply to fire safety.
It is the duty of management to support training programs financially. Fire fighting requires enormous investment in monetary terms towards purchasing facilities and equipment for quenching fires. Rescue operations also require the support of machinery and equipment that guarantee the safety of the rescuing personnel and survivors during a fire outbreak. Joint trainings are carried out by experienced managers and engineers who ensure that fine details are adhered to while minimizing financial spending.
Too much fragmentation of the training program could lead to duplication of tasks in teams which could result in wastage of resources (Muckett & Furness, 2007 P. 16). Joint trainings foster lucrative professional relationships across disciplines that facilitate exchange of ideas between experts on matters of fire safety and rescue services. It is therefore the duty of fire and rescue leadership to organize the different trainings into a formidable program that ensures that roles are properly assigned, resources economically allocated and time saved in the process.
Meaning training should be carried out in an integrated approach instead of stand alone activities in various teams. The quantity and quality of the training should serve the main purpose and goal of the organization towards reducing the devastating effects of fires while enhancing rescue services successfully. Effective education and training should ensure skills are acquired within the time frames allocated. Qualified instructors provide integrated training which can ensure mutual operations in fire and rescue services.
Allocation of relevant resources for training should be consistent with the training program and the topics to be covered. It is the task of the leadership to ensure that courses are covered effectively and information recorded regarding attendance and compliance of employees to the program. Competency targets need to be clearly stated and explained to employees undergoing the training for purposes of evaluating their work performance (Hoff & Kolomay, 2003 P. 19). Documentation of the training in terms of attendance and compliance by trainees is a key performance indicator of success.
Information management is equally an important aspect of the training program which ensures that relevant data is taught with respect to the current trends and practices in fire safety and recue services. Current trends include emerging technologies and techniques that provide solutions to the problems at hand. Fire and rescue leadership should evaluate technologies and alternative techniques with the aim of weighing their cost and applicability in their organizations.
The current system and structure of preventing and arresting fires should be investigated against the modern approaches after which decisions can be appropriately made. In case the current system does not support a comprehensive and precise fire rescue operation during emergencies, then it could be improved based on the modern technologies or otherwise replaced where the current system fails to provide expected results. Maintaining the current system with new innovative technologies saves time and resources as compared to an entire overhaul (Smeby, 2005 P. 15).
Methodologies Leadership should guarantee safety of people and securing of property during fire outbreaks. Managers, supervisors and managers should ensure that resources are appropriately allocated to the important activities and programs. Different departments can be trained through a rotational program that recognizes the needs of each of them. Such a rotational program is cost-effective and proficient in terms of training the entire staff comprehensively. It is also the duty of the management to ensure that legal compliance to fire protection is observed.
Standards related to the physical design of the building and escape routes during fire emergencies should be factored in fire management policies (Crosby, 2007 P. 17). This enables organizations to avoid unnecessary confrontations with the law and architectural specifications in case of fire. Apart from the support provided to continuous education and training of personnel on matters of fire safety, the smooth running of organizations is a factor of how compliant they are to the established code of conduct and professional ethics.
The use of appropriate technologies and techniques in fire fighting and prevention of physical damage is only effective if physical security conforms to architectural specifications. Leadership is therefore tasked to educate employees on fire safety protocols such as the use of fire extinguishers and first aid. The fire service and rescue operations should therefore be designed in respect of the industry standards and technological advancements. A culture of fire prevention should be developed instead of the regular approaches where efforts are directed on fire suppression after an outbreak.
Fatalities and damages can be effectively reduced if fire prevention is prioritized (Cote, 2003 P. 20). Firefighting however persists as an important strategy in managing fire outbreaks. Leadership should therefore ensure that fatalities during firefighting are radically reduced. Normally, fire outbreaks are sudden. Detection of fires and smoke is thus crucial at its onset in firefighting. Communication systems which include alarm and smoke detection systems should be operational and properly maintained.
This is because fire spreads at an unpredictable rate and may cause unfathomable fatalities and damage to property. It is therefore the responsibility of those in organizational leadership to ensure that the relative occupancies of different buildings are factored in fire safety protocols. Occupants should also be properly trained on how to respond to a fire emergency in order to avoid unnecessary panic and confusion that usually develops during such disasters.
Behavioral leadership is therefore part and parcel of fire safety management (Muckett & Furness, 2007 P. 24). Rescue operations normally take time to reach the site of a fire outbreak. Fire safety should therefore seek to empower different occupants with skills for escape. Apart from robust infrastructure made up of proper communication tools, spacious physical design and escape routes, occupants should be properly trained on perishable skills that would ensure composure and communication is sustained throughout the period.
For instance, people with disability require additional support in terms of alternative safe havens within the building which are insulated from fires in order to secure their lives before rescue operations are launched. It is equally important that these alternative safe havens are accessible to occupants with disabilities away from the congestion of other normal people during a fire incident. Conclusion Saving lives is the ultimate responsibility of fire safety and rescue operations. Different stakeholders are involved in planning, organizing and implementing activities which prevent and arrest fires.
Fire and safety leadership ensures that fire prevention strategies are feasible in a dynamic environment where technologies keep changing and techniques in firefighting vary (Hoff & Kolomay, 2003 P. 28). It is the responsibility of organizational leadership to apply wisdom and innovation when designing the best procedures and policies in fire safety. It is important that the current systems are evaluated and appropriately upgraded in order to align organizational infrastructure in fire safety with relevant modern technologies.
These are particularly important in designing communication and detection systems which can promptly alert occupants on the danger of fire. Since rescue operations take time to be launched, minimizing the degree of fatalities during a fire incident remains on top of the agenda in fire safety. Fire and rescue leadership should therefore apply collaborative and transformational approaches in organizing trainings and fire fighting strategies. Reference list
Cote, A E 2003, Organizing for Fire and Rescue Services, NFPA (Series), Jones & Bartlett Learning, Sudbury, MA. Crosby, F C & Windisch, F C 2007, A Leadership Guide for Combination Fire Departments, Jones & Bartlett Learning, Sudbury, MA. Hoff, R & Kolomay, R 2003, Firefighter Rescue & Survival, Penn Well Books, Oklahoma. Muckett, M & Furness, A 2007, Introduction to fire safety management, Butterworth- Heinemann, Amsterdam. Smeby, L C 2005, Fire and emergency service administration: management and leadership practices, Jones & Bartlett Learning, Sudbury, MA.