Is it just me or has the physical/visual presence of the fire & emergency service personnel changed over the years (and by personnel I’m referring to the firefighters & paramedics on the street)?
Granted it’s been a few years (and no doubt my memory may be a bit shaky on exact details), but I can remember walking, riding (and in some cases even driving) by the local fire station and seeing the bay doors open with at least a couple of the guys out there (doing whatever – cleaning/ working on the truck , their equipment, etc). It was not unheard of (or uncommon) to see the guys outside, in public view, in shorts & untucked t-shirt – sometimes even long gym shorts if they happened to be working out…… The other thing I recall was a program (done by Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue) where they would go out to people’s homes and do smoke detector checks.
I’ve even heard of stories (that took place before my time) where the guys would be out doing things like playing basketball at the nearby park or helping a kid with their bike (at least that’s what I’ve heard of)
The point is, the “doors” were more likely to be open and the guys were out there being apart of the general community. Not just at planned events, but every day.
Now it seems that those “doors” (bay doors) are more likely to be closed up and your not likely to see the guys in anything less than uniform pants/shorts and a clean, un-wrinkled, tucked in uniform t-shirt.
I’m sure there are reasons for these for these changes (not the least of which is fear of legal actions and public complaint) – and I certainly don’t claim to be an expert in the area…… But I have to wonder how much is being sacrificed in the way of Public Relations as it had existed in the past? How much of the physical & visual presence that use to be so prevalent (and, in my opinion, paramount) in the one on one – personal level – style public relations that use to exist?