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Wingspread VI: Observations Pt. 1

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By Randall Hanifen
EDM Digest Contributor

Wingspread VI was held at the Wingspread Conference Center in Racine Wisconsin, which is owned by the Johnson Foundation.  This is the 6th conference and report of its kind and looks strategically at what the next 10 years and beyond will need from the fire and rescue services.

Statements of National Significance

The design of the report is to make statements of national significance.  Next, the report provides some background.  Lastly, the report looks at some strategies from the national to the local level, recognizing that strategy is often developed at the national level, but must be enacted at the local level.

First Statement

The first statement of National Significance discussed the fire and rescue services ability for local communities to be able to prepare and respond to homeland security events to include incidents of violence.  This is great to see that we continue to realize that the fire and rescue services are the largest response force in any local community and aside from some select state and federal resources, the local government is the line of defense in any community. Within the statement is the realization that our response expectations have changed and that we must prepare for this change.  I worked with an Executive Fire Officer Student, whom wanted to research if someone else’s policy would be able to fit in his organization.  I asked if he merely thought a policy was all that were needed to change.  After some discussion, we determined together that this is a shift in culture, equipment, strategies, and tactics just to name a few.  We still have our units’ stage if there is a suspected problem of violence, but if it is confirmed that people are shooting others and their accuracy is great enough to cause harm or death to others, let’s rush into the area with the police.  Anyone see any issue?

Continuation of Series

This series will look at the report’s statements and provide some context and thoughts on each.  If we do not think of the future and critically analyze our options, we are guaranteed to fail in the future.

Randall Hanifen Dr. Hanifen serves as a shift commander at a medium-sized suburban fire department in the northern part of the Cincinnati area. Randall is the CEO/principal consultant of an emergency services consulting firm, providing analysis and solutions related to organizational structuring of fire and EMS organizations. He is the chairperson and operations manager for a county technical rescue team. from a state and national perspective, he serves as a taskforce leader for one of FEMA's urban search and rescue teams, which responds to presidential declared disasters. From an academic standpoint, Randall has a bachelor’s degree in fire administration, a master’s degree in executive fire service leadership, and a doctoral degree in business administration with a specialization in homeland security. He is the associate author of “Disaster Planning and Control” (Penwell, 2009), which provides first responders with guidance through all types of disasters.