President’s Message: The New Reality (Part One)
As I sit here writing this, I like you are under quarantine. What a change to all of our lives, both on the personal and the professional side of our usual daily events. The reality of what this COVID-19 pandemic is becoming is starting to hit home, and particularly close to home here in Bergen County. The daily briefing by the governor and the reports by the newscasters keep repeating about how we are all going to get through this together. The unfortunate reality of the matter is that many people are not getting through this. I am hoping that I am writing this as a part one to a message that will have a better than expected outcome to write about in part two, several months from now.
For those of us in this business, whether as a career or volunteer firefighter, or other first responder, it is not a case of staying at home and waiting this out. When others call for our help we need to respond. And the other reality is, with the emergency services being filled with many members of the same family, numerous families face the issue of having several relatives getting sick. And then there is the worry of bringing the virus home to rest of the family. No department in the county is insulated from this. My expectation is that as more firefighters and EMTs test positive and are taken off the line, mutual aid requests will increase to fill the gaps on the emergency scene. Any of us can find ourselves responding to any town in this county, and maybe even out of county, as personnel resources drop.
With the closing of the Fire Academy, the cancellation of national conferences, Division CEU courses and with the need for social distancing reducing a department’s ability to hold company level training, keeping up the skills and knowledge of the membership is another problem that must be faced. As more learning moves online, I would like to put it out there to departments that feel they are meeting this challenge to use the Chiefs Association as a platform to spreads the word on what works. I look forward to posting any information on training ideas and pushing it out to rest of the departments in the county.
If you are on the Association’s email list, you should have been receiving pertinent information and resource sites to go to. Daily briefings, reports from state agencies and others such as the JIF / MEL forwarded through the County OEM, as well as information from national organizations such as NVFC have all been sent out. If you are not on the list just send me an email and you will be added.
Stay safe, and I hope all of us are here for part two.