In 1996, Alan Brunacini, Phoenix Fire Chief (retired), introduced the fire service to Mrs. Smith. Mrs. Smith is a hometown hero. Mrs. Smith is the “why” of American fire service delivery. She is the OC (original customer). She represents our communities as well as endures the broad spectrum of problems in our communities that require fire service intervention. She includes all socio-economic, social, political, racial, gender, sexuality, and religious perspectives. She is every person that calls us for assistance.
Mrs. Smith must be magnetic true north for the fire service and the center of our thoughts, training, and actions. We must actively demonstrate our care for her, and the community rather than just speak of it. She requires a true response system that is built on the values we hold as critical:
- We place Mrs. Smith as our top priority
- We begin our response with the assumption we are going to save lives
- We respond as quickly as possible
- We respond without bias
- We critically think to solve problems
- We are competent in our work
Mrs. Smith needs professional fire departments that are led with the focus of competence and customer service. These departments must be led by caring and focused bosses that recognize the OC as the most important element. They must build departments and cultures that reflect the values, attitudes, and behaviors that are critical to the customer and the welfare of the Firefighters.
Mrs. Smith needs professionals that know and understand the fire environment. She needs Firefighters that can act swiftly and overwhelmingly to prevent or diminish harm and work so that she can survive. Mrs. Smith needs professionals that can survive the work because dying on the fireground will always take away from our effectiveness. She needs consistent, quality service that is striving to improve every day. She needs Firefighters that are willing to learn and develop to better serve her.
Lastly, Mrs. Smith does not need selfish or judgmental Firefighters; she needs all of us to be good at our jobs and care for her as our own, because her life depends on it!