What's cheaper — fighting a fire or preventing one? While the answer is obvious, the same line of reasoning somehow seems to elude fire departments when it comes to maintenance of their apparatus and equipment.
Why? In part, it's because of the proverbial "head in the sand" mentality to ignore issues that aren't imminent threats. Adding to the mix is the workload of today's firefighters, who generally are focused most on acute challenges, not potential problems.
Finally, there's often a sense of complacency because of reliance on technology to warn of imminent threats. What this doesn't take into account is there aren’t warning systems for many issues warranting maintenance. And sometimes, the warning technology itself malfunctions.
Apparatus and equipment continue to get more and more complex. Couple that with the fact that firefighters are being asked to specialize in more areas than ever before, and it’s easy to see why maintenance checks often take a back seat. But incomplete or non-existent maintenance records can – and have – come back to haunt departments across the country.
Just as thieves gravitate toward the most vulnerable targets, so do opportunistic attorneys and reporters looking to dig up some dirt. If your records aren’t complete and current, you might as well paint a target across your chest. Even if you’re not targeted right now, you sure will be once something goes wrong.
Video recording is everywhere — from personal cellphones to highway and street cameras that record everything from traffic flow to red-light runners. Therefore, it's a good idea for public safety officials to always act as though they're being recorded.
Recordings often end up on the Internet and can quickly go viral. If you act inappropriately, how does that affect your personal reputation and the reputation of your company and co-workers? Beyond that, there's always the threat of legal action, with the video serving as evidence.