What if We Treated the Firefighters Like Doctors? by Stephen A. Vaughn MD PhD


The “fire problem” in the United States is out of control. Costs of firefighting have skyrocketed. A once volunteer operation, fire departments are now heavily staffed with full-time career firefighters, who are generously paid and reap massive benefits and are protected by unions. American firefighters have taken home trillions of dollars in salary – yet fires still occur daily in every town in the United States. The fire companies are organized in a variable pattern, each state, city and township adding its own structure to firefighting operations. There are not standard Best Firefighting Practices being used, and there is no national certification of American Firefighters. No ongoing method is being used to assure that firefighters are keeping up with the complex and ever-developing world of Fire Science and Firefighting Technology. Yet, fire department remain mired in the pre-technology past, with little interreliance on modern methods of information science in the firefighting world.

In any fire department in any major city, few firepersons are actually fighting fires at any given time. Most are standing around doing make-work projects that are dropped when an alarm comes in. No attempt has been made to categorize the efficiency of firefighting on a national level.

There is little ground-level documentation of the type, nature, scope and purposes of individual firefighter’s daily activities. Firefighting is at the crossroads – the nation can no longer afford chaos in its firefighting efforts.

  • A national, cabinet-level Department of Fire Safety and Prevention should be immediately organized.
  • Nationally-standardized Fire Fighting Methods should be codified and mandated in every local Department.
  • Non-firefighting duties should be outsourced to intermediate-level personnel. Shining brass, feeding the dalmatian and sweeping the station should be performed by lower-cost personnel.
  • A standard method of reporting of FIre Fighting Actions should be developed. Each firefighter should document the nature, kind and size of the fire being fought; the flammable materials ignited; the severity and danger of their individual duties; and finally, a self-assessment on personal failures and how they will fight the next fire better.
  • Property owners and residential dwellers shall critique the Firefighters’ individual performances based on their satisfaction for services.
  • Quality-review personnel should be required to evaluate the individual actions of every firefighter, and tier them into a pay-for-performance scenario, based on their fire outcomes. (e.g. successful suppression with a utilizable structure; loss of structure, loss of life, etc.) This independent QR can be crosschecked with the individual ,firefighters’ accounts for discrepancy and dishonesty in self-report.
  • All citizens should be required to underwrite fire insurance, or post a bond equivalent to a fire insurance policy, notwithstanding if they own any flammable property. This will standardize the costs of firefighting.
  • One’s previous history of fires on one’s own property should not be taken into account in a discriminatory fashion in setting fire insurance policy.
  • Firefighters shall bear personal liability exposure for the cost of fires which they have not fought according to Best Firefighting Practices. Individual performance insurance must be undertaken for firefighters to guarantee their due diligence in the performance of their duties.
  • Biannual National Firefighter Certification shall be required, with continuing educational performance on such topics as Water-Based Fire Protection Systems, the National Fuel Gas Code, Fire Protection Infrastructure for Land Development in Wildland, Rural, and Suburban Areas, National Standard Screw Threads for Fire Hose Couplings and Fittings and Fire Control for Radioactive Metal Fires.
  • All persons to be removed from a burning structure shall, if possible, be requested to complete a “Consent-to-Rescue” form, if conscious. MInors are not required to sign consent to rescue.
  • In order to maintain confidentiality, the identity of all persons rescued from a burning residence shall be kept strictly confidential, unless they have filled out a “Consent to Release Fire Information” form. This includes infants and minors rescued from burning structures. Persons claiming parental authority will be required to show a Governmental photo ID, and a birth certificate or documentation of adoption or similar authority
  • Firefighters are required to successfully capture dropped, flung or hurled infants and children, and are subject to criminal penalties for failing to catch them properly..

“Creative Destruction of Firefighting” can rapidly be accomplished by authoritative input and control over firefighter services by brainstorming by the Silicon Valley technologies on refulgent proaction in novel tesseractive principles of business topology. In the future, we expect that human-based firefighting will be replaced by robot firefighters controlled by the latest iPhone technology by the residents of the engaged structure, rendering the need for firefighters obsolete..
What are some other atrocities we can think of for our poor firefighters?

55150cookie-checkWhat if We Treated the Firefighters Like Doctors? by Stephen A. Vaughn MD PhD