City Manager Jeff Pederson provided opening comments. “This workshop is a credit to the Fire Department in seeing the wisdom in seeking two of best fire professionals in the country who focus on more than the technology and mechanics of the fire profession. This workshop hopefully will provide a better understanding of the connectivity of what you do for citizens and your alignment within the department. None of us works in isolation.”
The workshop was led by Fire Chief Alan Brunacini, one of the most highly respected figures in the fire industry, and Chief Billy Hayes who currently serves as the Vice President of Admissions, Marketing, and Outreach at Columbia Southern University.
Chief Brunacini served as the chief of the Phoenix, Arizona Fire Department and has authored or co-authored nine books.
Chief Hayes served as the fire chief of Riverdale, Atlanta and as the director of public information and community affairs for the District of Columbia Fire EMS.
A portion of the workshop focused on making good first impressions and defining the words empathy, respect, kindness, patience, and consideration and how those terms are applicable to each interaction with the customer, the citizen. “Fire chiefs today are social scientists. When you look at the emotional part of what we do, our work is emotional work. We are delivering services to people going through emotional states,” says Chief Brunacini. “Always consider how you and what you are doing look to others.”
Also discussed in the workshop were ways to engage and educate the community especially regarding fire prevention, building construction, and code enforcement. Suggestions included creating a citizens’ fire academy, holding seminars for business owners to learn about the importance of building and fire codes, streamlining the permitting process, and providing fire prevention information when citizens apply for business licenses. Chief Hayes says when the public is educated they become ambassadors for a fire department.
Chief Hayes also led a discussion regarding the concept added value.
Hayes said, “What is your added value that you bring to citizens above all other departments?” Hayes says look for opportunities to become more involved in the community.
Chief Brunacini said, “What’s the liability of doing something good for the community?”
For more information about Chief Brunacini and Chief Hayes, visit Columbia Southern University’s website at www.columbiasouthern.edu.
Information provided by Pam Spencer
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