Opening Ceremony Keynote - "Adapt and Act!"
At no time in our history has change presented itself in our profession with such speed. New technology, scientific findings, pandemics, staffing issues, and funding shortages are creating significant challenges for the fire service. However, our mission must not be compromised: to protect life and property. President John F. Kennedy said, “There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long-range risks of comfortable inaction.” Those risks of inaction of our obligations to serve and protect can cost lives. Our duty to action begins before we ever set foot on an incident or cross a threshold of a burning building. Self-reflection and awareness offer us the ability to adapt and take the best and decisive actions for our mission and purpose. Purposeful action is not finite or saved just for the fireground. It must be a habit we draw on in those moments when our community most depends on us.
Jason Hoevelmann is chief for the Florissant Valley (MO) Fire Protection District and is a 28-year career firefighter. He is a contributor to Fire Engineering and serves on the FDIC Educational Advisory Board. He is the author of The New Company Officer (Fire Engineering) and No Exceptions Leadership.