The talk with the Fire Chief at the Winter Park Fire Department taught me new information about the work of fire fighters and presented a look at how the responsibilities and opinion of the job has transitioned over the decades. According to the Fire Chief, the fire department used to be restricted to responding to fires, however over the years other duties have been added to the position of fire fighter. Fire fighters now respond not only to fires but also chemical spills, terrorist threats, and health emergencies. During the war a shortage of emergency medical technicians forced the government to train fire fighters to perform emergency medical services. This was very interesting to me because I am from the Virgin Islands where the fire department solely responds to fires, while ambulances respond to medical emergencies. It was good to have the fire chief explain how the transition took place in the mainland, while it was not necessary where i am from. Another important thing that we discussed was the responce of the American people towards firefighters after 9-11 and in light of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. The chief beemed with pride as he discussed the positive reassurance and support the WPFD recieved from the community directly following 9-11 where many fire fighters risked their lives and valiently saved droves of people from the attacks. Additionally, they worked to recover bodies and survivors from the reckage. Not only did the duties of fire fighters transition, but also public view of the fire fighters also changed.
One last bit of information that i found intriguing was that fire trucks a decade ago did not have seat belts in the back where the patients are attended therefore many fire fighters were injured when the ambulance came to a sudden stop. The harnesses that stretch were placed in the back of the fire truck in order to allow fire fighters to strech and treat the patient while still being strapped in.
After attending the session at the department i finally understood the importance and necessity of our class project. Digitalizing pictures, documents and articles are important in helping the fire department to become even more efficient and allow the public to access information about the impecable work of the firemen.