Transforming Executive Fire Officers : a paradigm shift to meet the intelligence needs of the 21st century fire service
Gonzales, Rebecca L.
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Executive Fire Officers (EFOs) routinely face complex strategic challenges, but none are as multifaceted or as intractable as the expansion of the fire service's core mission to embody intelligence functions. Given the emerging public expectation that the fire service be a critical partner in efforts to secure the homeland, it is imperative that EFOs be prepared to lead their respective departments into this unchartered territory. Most EFOs agree that adjusting strategies is necessary to adapt to emerging threats of terrorism. Moreover, this concept is widely accepted and embraced by the fire service in the context of its traditional core disciplines. Where philosophies diverge is how each envisions the fire service's role related to intelligence sensing, collecting and sharing. While the threat of terrorism prevails, the fire service is challenged to adapt its practices, policies and strategic objectives if it is to maintain the highest state of operational readiness. Inclusion of firefighters into the information and intelligence-sharing framework will require a systemic transformation by both the fire service and its law enforcement partners. Central to this transformation are national guidance documents on folding counterterrorism strategies into fire departments' policies, procedures and operating guidelines. Incorporating such guidance will enhance the homeland security by making EFOs better "First Preventers" and "First Responders."
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