A Day With The Chief…..

There are no gaps in my commitment to emergency services. My years in the Highway Patrol have delivered many opportunities to work with various emergency responders, whether it be fire, medical, or unsung heroes like towing services and even railroad derailment specialists. America is a nation of wealth, most often modest and hard earned and sometimes incredible and inherited. Our emergency services are responsible for the preservation of life followed by property. Yesterday was another training day, with a familiarization tour of the Brookline Fire District, assets and a number of our firefighters who man the equipment and respond to our most trying circumstances. I can’t tell you how fortunate we are to enjoy the umbrella of dedicated emergency responders, both volunteer and professional.

A few months ago I was approached by Brookline Chief Jamie Kilburn and asked if I would consider a position on the District’s Board of Directors. It was an appointment to fill a vacant position, for a prescribed term at the end of which I would be required to run for the position in an election. The District is recovering from a rather colorful near history the centerpiece of which was a chief convicted of various nefarious activities and jailed. The Board selected Chief Kilburn to lead this fine agency, tarnished by the scandal, back to respectability. They made an excellent decision when they handed this task off to Jamie Kilburn, a native of this area with a long history of involvement in emergency services, both fire and medical. I visited with the Board, offered my management philosophy and a summary of my professional experience and they voted to accept my offer to join them. This District is big, our assets are very good, our people outstanding and we are benefitting from a recent levy that is facilitating our role in fire service and emergency medical response exponentially. I am already proud of my association with these men and women as well as somewhat awed by their expertise in this business. Make no mistake, it is a business with the fortunes falling on the point of the spear, out in the district in emergency response as well as the back of the house where numbers are crunched and strategies formulated.

Chief Kilburn on the right with some of the fire fighters he commands. It would be a mistake to underestimate these folks…….

Like most districts near major metropolitan areas, our geographical boundaries are nebulous and scattered. Emergency services are centered around response times and our task is complicated by the rapid development in our area and increasing responsibilities. There are a number of districts that we interact with. This interaction demands a solidly cooperative attitude among the various services and an absolute reliance on the heart of rural fire protection, motivated and sincere volunteers. The exposure to the parameters of our district was eye popping. As a previous police administrator, my mind raced with the various possibilities for improved efficiency in our region beginning with the actual location of stations and distribution of assets. There is a long history and much tradition in this region that can be preserved in a cooperative approach to improving response times to the citizens we serve. The possibilities are endless.

Fire in an occupied residence. I gained immeasurable experience in the dissection of why and how this fire developed thanks to two fire professionals at the scene. Thanks, guys!

During the day, we stopped at a recent residential burn just outside our district but one that required our response in a mutual aid capacity. We happened to catch an insurance investigator at the scene and between him and the Chief, I was introduced to fire scene investigation 101. My mind immediately jumped to criminality (there was no evidence of any intent). Like most professions, fire fighting has it’s own language, and I am learning “fire speak”. Riding with the Chief, listening to the chatter on the radio and the rush of controlled excitement as the services in our region responded to routine matters reminded me of my earlier life in a Patrol cruiser. Until your ox is gored, most people don’t dwell on the nature of emergency response by fire and medical services, but these services are busy behind the headlines. I am looking forward to contributing to the smooth and timely response to folks in trouble. My association with these guys provides that opportunity.

Have a great week!

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