This research is about the provision of sustainable fire fighting services in a small town in Ohio called Pikering. Pikering has a population of about 8,000 residents and is situated in the rural parts of Southeastern Ohio. It has for over the years relied heavily on volunteers to provide firefighting services in the event of fire breakouts. For the past few years, the pool of volunteers has ranged between 17 and 30 in number. Owing to the few incidences of fire in the town, this small number of volunteers has often responded satisfactorily to save situations in case of fire disasters. Usually, the captain of the team of volunteers makes judgment on how to respond to cases of fore breakouts as communicated to him via telephone calls, through the Sheriff’s office or the City Manager’s office. In the past decade, the number of volunteers in the firefighting unit of Pikering township of Ohio has been dwindling.
This has been occasioned by retirement of old volunteers and increased rural-urban migration of the young, energetic generation. The town has virtually remained with the old people and the very young, and the few youths available are not willing to take on the voluntary fire fighting chore. This attrition has caused concerns in the City Council. Due to the availability of state and federal funds to small municipalities like Pikering that lack proper fire emergency systems, the council has opted to put in place a paid, full-time fire department supplemented by volunteers. The council office believes that the new fully-trained fire fighting department will bring higher level of skills.
Federal grant money provided to the fire fighting department is budgeted to cater for 18 full time firefighters. The funds will be dedicated towards paying the workers, maintaining high quality fire fighting quality. One of the focuses of the council is to have a fire fighting department and staff with refined paramedic knowledge for saving lives during fire break outs. It intends to maintain some of the full-time fire fighters within the premises for quick response to emergencies. The department will not only serve the community of Pikering, but extend its services free of charge to The Problem
The problem in the proposed system is that the firefighting facility can only accommodate up to 14 of the 18 firefighters. Fortunately, the facility can be modified to accommodate both male and female fire fighters. Arrangements to have the new system working are currently underway with the help of the city council, fire chief and the volunteers. There are plans to expand the annual pancake breakfast fund raisers and meals in the fire station. There are also plans to expand the kitchen into a larger cooking facility with kitchen equipment and food for the firefighters on duty. There are significant concerns about a number of issues in the proposed system:
1. Not all fire fighters are good cooks
2. The firefighters, like all other people have favorite foods and those dishes they dislike
3. Some of the firefighters may think and believe in their ability to prepare good meals, an opinion that may be disputed by other fire fighters
4. The diet provided in the fire station may not concur with dietary requirements imposed upon some of the fire fighters for medical or other special reasons
5. There should be a consideration in the food variety and wholesomeness
6. Further, rotation of the firefighters on duty may cause complications in the firefighters’ feeling of fairness and contentment with the food system. This is particularly true in the event that one’s favorite dish is constantly served while he is away and out of duty.
7. There is another problem related to contributions as there is need to ensure equitable contributions from the firefighters for the foods they consume in the fire station.
8. Additionally, some people in the fire station are bound to eat more than others
9. The city does not want to pay for the food the fire fighters will be eating in the fire station. Since the fire fighters must eat anyway, the city is determined that the amount of donation it provides towards the fire fighters’ upkeep is minimal.
This research labors to provide solutions to the problem that are bound to face Pikering Municipality upon introduction of the full time firefighting force. There is need to ensure that the firefighting squad of the municipality feels confident that their basic requirement for food is met. It is imperative that the force remains strong and healthy by consistent and reliable supply of nutritious food in sufficient amounts. There is also need to feel fairness in the purchasing of food for the firefighters if they are to cater for their own food collectively. The report, therefore, finds solutions to these problems. It dissects the situation with an aim of finding helpful information concerning: a) Food Purchase
b) Food Preparation
c) Cost Sharing Predicament
Data Gathering Techniques
Gathering data used in this analysis came from a variety of sources. Given the scope of the problem, it was important to conduct comprehensive research on food security issues, ways of creating cheap food and collaboration. For the reasons of understanding teamwork, which is the spirit needed in making the firefighters work together and I coordination in realizing the smooth running of the fire station residence, the research considered empirical analysis of existing literature on the topic. The research made use of books, journals and articles from internet to come up with sustainable means of keeping cooperation and teamwork of the firefighters.
In addition, literature on production of affordable food production techniques provided formidable data for solving the food availability issue. In addition, the research considered the people affected by the fire fighting services and sought their opinion on issues such as buying food for the firefighters. A total of 100 people of all ages, sex and race were interviewed to give their opinion on the plans. The data gathering process used questionnaires that were presented in person to the correspondents. The correspondents were arbitrarily chosen from the residents of Pikering. Research Findings
Foremost, the research analysis of the problems that were cited as potential causes of trouble to the fire fighting station residence were analyzed with a view to simplify them. Providing solutions to the problems that were most likely to cause immense challenges had to take a systematic manner and line of thought. Therefore, the research reconsidered the problems presented and classified them into two broad issues; issues of cost management of food and issues of teamwork. The research noted that providing solutions to food affordability and enhancing cooperation ad brotherhood in the working environment of the firefighters would create an environment devoid of the problems cited.
From the questionnaires that the residents of Pikering Municipality filled, it was evident that the residents of the municipality were not for the opinion that the city council feeds the fire fighters, 81 of the 100 interviewed held an opinion that the fire fighters are not fed by the council. They argued that the council had more important projects that the funds could be channeled to. 63% of those who responded to oppose the plans of feeding the firefighters by the council argued that the frequency of fire outages in the municipality did not call for such drastic measures by the local government. They felt it would be a waste of resources to feed people who would stay for months without getting involved in anything constructive. The other 35% of the opponents of the move by the council to feed the firefighters felt that the firefighters do not need free food as they are able bodied people and economically gained like the rest of the public. They reasoned that if the firefighters were to get free food, then all other workers of the council, state and federal governments deserved free food as well. Proposed Alternatives
53% of those opposed to the provision of food grants to the firefighters proposed growing of food by the firefighters in the lands of the council as one of the alternatives they had. As much as this group appreciated the need for the squad to practice eon a regular basis and undergo training, it regarded the firefighting squad as having enough free time to produce its own food. The 53% proposed that the firefighters could engage in food production activities in the vast council farms to cut on the cost of foods they may have to buy. The people reasoned that the squad would probably take 3 hours day training and spend the rest of the time idle. This was the time they would use to grow their own food. The other alternative was that the council should deduct part of the firefighters’ pay in a mutual agreement before signing contract to cater for their own food. This would be treated as a condition in the terms of agreement to cover for their food expenses. This was an opinion of 43% of the correspondents who opposed the proposition to feed the firefighters by the council. The other 4% did not suggest any alternative to the quandary.
Evaluation of the Alternatives
As stated before, the research questions that were presented to the public of Pikerign Municipality concerned food production. Issues that would affect the cooperation of the firefighters in peaceful coexistence were dissected through the eyes of authors who have conducted extensive research on team work. Issues to do with cooking, appreciation of the quality of food one cooks, complaints on the types of foods offered during one’s days of duty and issues of some firefighters eating more than others would be best solved with an informed understanding of the need for teamwork. Once the council hires and places the firefighters, it will be imperative that it embarks on a thorough teamwork initiatives to have the firefighters think as a unit (Marinucci, 2009). This would be the only formidable way of ensuring there is harmony and brotherhood in the fire station residence. First, the council will need to instill a culture of inclusiveness from the first bunch of firefighters.
It would be impossible to field a strong firefighting team unless all the members of the squad feel that they are part of the team. Early inculcating of such cultures is fundamental so that all who come in later blend in and play along the set rules of the institution (Mills, 2004). Secondly, the council needs to make the firefighters understand that resources of the firefighters’ station belong to all in the firefighting department. It is imperative to understand that the resources are for use by all and need to be used collectively (Mills, 2004). Further, the firefighters need to respect each other and keep confidences. In the event that they have some complaints to make for their sake or about someone, they should remember to be bold and say it to be known (Bryant, 2009). One other factor that would make the firefighting team stick together through inadequacies and disagreements is their ability to celebrate together. The firefighting staff needs to have the culture of celebrating their achievements together as a family (Marinucci, 2009). They need to gather frequently in provided facilities to get to know each other.
Further, the team needs to remember that laughter heals. They need to laugh out, be happy and share humor in good and sad times. Finally, there is need to support and accept one another (Mills, 2004). There is necessity for the firefighters to celebrate the diversity in each individual. In so doing, the fighters remember that not all of them enjoy the same food; eat the same manner and same quantities of food. By understanding these, the team will be willing to contribute towards food purchases even if they are off duty. They will not mind being away when their favorite dish is served for they love the remaining team eating the food. In exploring and realizing the full potential of the options proposed by the public opponents of the feeding program by the council, it will be possible to have the propositions work with an inspired team to work together.
A firefighting team that views itself as a family will be willing to work on the farms for their own food production (Piontek, 2008). A motivated and united team is a happy team that works together with enthusiasm. Having the team work together to produce its own food is possible. Additionally, the second alternative of deducting money from the fire fighters’ wages for upkeep is a sustainable feat. The council would save money for other service provisions by teaching the firefighters make purchase their own food and supplement the deficit by farming. The only trick is to teach them to do both with passion.
From the finding s and the discussions of the research, it is evident that the public of Pikering Municipality is against the council feeding the firefighters. It is, therefore, crucial that the council reads the public mood and follows alternative means of feeding the firefighters. The firefighters should contribute part of their income to purchase their own food. They need to supplement the food deficit by farming in the council vast farms. In order to cure behavioral and social quandaries expected in the department, the council needs to focus on building teamwork and collaboration.
Bryant, M. (2009, May 31). Conflict Resolution in the Fire Service. Retrieved
from http://www.firefighternation.com/article/command-leadership/conflict-resolution-fire-service Marinucci, R. A. (2009). Fire Chief’s Guide to Administration and Management. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Prentice Hall. Piontek, A. (2008, July 1). The firefighter’s perspective. Fire Engineering, 161(7), 91. Mills, S. (2004). Teamwork: The Foundation of the Fire Service. Retrieved from http://www.fireengineering.com/articles/print/volume-157/issue-8/features/teamwork-the-foundation-of-the-fire-service.html
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