If I were king of the fire service

Upon coronation, I’d have a long list of royal decrees

Wouldn’t it be nice to be a king or queen? To wield such power that we could eliminate so many of our daily “battles”? (And let’s be clear, we already have many cow-pushers on the engines who think they are king.)

Eliminating challenges related to response policies, mutual aid, funding mechanisms, residential sprinklers, arson fires and general clown behavior rise to the top of my list of royal decrees.

Starting at the end of the list, if I were king, I’d institute some serious “clown consequences” for those members who treat the fire service like a circus, not to mention the clown-like citizens who force our public safety teams to investigate their bad behavior. You know who I’m talking about.

"Oh, if it were a perfect world and I was king of the fire service!" (Photo/Getty Images)

If I were king, arson would be punishable by mandatory hard-labor incarceration, and arson that causes death would be punishable by death. (Hey, you said I was king!)

If I were king, the royal cabinet would be tasked with keeping the kingdom safe, enacting our community risk reduction strategies across the land. Schools would be required to teach fire prevention education, ranging from the mundane topics of dryer-trap maintenance to the slightly more complex topics of electric cord-overloading and home escape planning.

If I were king, residential sprinklers would be retrofitted into all homes and, of course, all new construction would be non-combustible with sprinklers included. All residential structure spaces (attics, attacked garages, unoccupied basements, etc.) would be included in this requirement, using dry-pipe systems in cold weather areas.

If I were king, firefighters with a fire protection engineering degree would be authorized to design, install and maintain residential sprinklers. After all, they would be going to fewer fires!

If I were king, automatic mutual aid would be the law of the land – and of course we’d have universal 911 (wait a minute, don’t we already?), so calls would be processed the same for one 911 center within every county/parish, processing all public safety requests. Firefighters of course would help staff said centers.

If I were king, we’d have all the data we need to make America burn less. We would have universal response policies, and in fear of being ostracized from the ivory palace forever, battalion chiefs (prince and princesses) and station officers (dukes and duchesses) would be required to submit daily data into the royal database. Maybe we would call it KFIRS (K for kingdom, naturally).

Finally, if I were king, there would be jesters for humor in every department to help ease the trauma that our members face on the job. After all, learning to laugh at ourselves never hurt a soul. In fact, laughter has probably saved a few folks.

Oh, if it were a perfect world and I was king of the fire service! OK, time to wake up; it’s been a good nap.

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