How do you give back to the firefighting community?
For those of us who make a living from the fire service, giving back time, money or energy to firefighters is a moral obligation and profoundly rewarding
I've been affiliated with the International Fire Relief Mission since 2009. IFRM is a humanitarian group that collects decommissioned firefighting and EMS equipment and delivers it to firefighters in developing countries. The group also dispatches a team to ensure the gear makes it into the hands of firefighters and teaches them how, and how not, to use it.
I spent Thursday evening and Friday morning meeting with IFRM and Lion Apparel officials to finalize a long-term assistance agreement. The details on that will come out later this week. In short, Lion is throwing some resources behind IFRM to help firefighters in parts of the world where quality firefighting equipment is absent.
The point here isn't to crow about an organization I'm vested in or a company that spends advertising money on this site. IFRM has had other major supporters before, like GearGrid and Rosenbauer, and will hopefully have more in the future.
What really became apparent through the negotiating process with Lion and much of my time spent with IFRM is the importance of giving something back to the fire service.
Elevating the quality of life for those without the resources to do so on their own is something we must do for the betterment of the human race.
And for those of us who are fortunate enough to earn our living in the fire service — be it as firefighters, equipment manufacturers or even editors of fire publications — we have an even deeper moral obligation to improve the lives of our fellow firefighters.
The point here is also not to be smug about my own contributions to IFRM. In fact, it is the opposite.
My hope by penning this piece is that more in our industry will set aside time, expertise or money to assist the fire service. Yet I know that I don't do enough either for IFRM or my volunteer department. Calling on firefighters to help their brothers holds me accountable to doing more.
Please, find a cause within the fire service that moves you and offers a helping hand. You may be moved by firefighters battling cancer, volunteers unable to adequately train or any host of needs.
I know that as much of yourself as you offer to other firefighters, you will get far more in return.