With the largest firefighting show in the world coming up this month, The Municipal has public safety — particularly firefighting — on the brain.
We’ve been particularly concerned lately by the invasion of wildland urban interface into practically every community in the nation, as developers indulge residents who want to live on the border of national parks and other naturally scenic locales. Unseated weather patterns that might have mitigated wildfire damage in the past are now compounding the danger.
Of course, there’s no ignoring the fact that the past several months were a perfect example of unpredictable weather. The Great Lakes, Ohio Valley, Upper Midwest and East made up in a big way for the mild winters we’ve had of late.
If there’s a silver lining to what Mother Nature put us through, I suppose it’s that younger generations now believe the worst-case-scenario stories they were regaled with during training. Experience is still the best teacher.
The Municipal is also fortunate this month to be able to share some relevant advice from Chief John Pope III of the Collins, Miss., Fire Department and the Mississippi Firefighter’s Association. Pope’s jurisdiction includes the largest bulk petroleum fuel storage facilities in the U.S.: So despite its relatively small size, the department has become an expert source regarding large-scale flammable liquid fire and spill incidents.
As Pope said, identifying the unique needs of your community and preparing to handle your likely incidents goes a long way toward cementing a department’s value in the eyes of officials and residents.
Lastly, in regard to public safety, if you’re curious about the Project Lifesaver program then you’ll enjoy the article in this edition by Barb Simienski. The tracking technology used by Project Lifesaver International can pinpoint the location of a subject down to just a few inches. The program has had great success in locating wanderers of various ages and afflictions, and the service can often be underwritten by local service groups or by a grant.
I hope you’re having a safe spring.