By Chief Wade Watkins
Honoring the Past
As a firefighter for the past 20-years, I have been able to serve with amazing people. Many of these people are from Riverton, as this is where I was fortunate enough to start my career. Being able to interact and learn from this mission driven emergency responder community has been amazing on a personal and professional level.
In my early career, I worked with volunteers / part-time firefighters that supported the full-time crews. These firefighters brought incredible dedication and an attitude of service to the community. As Riverton was their community and as firefighters, they viewed this as their “first in area.” First in encompasses the idea that this is our home turf/responsibility. Firefighters pride themselves with knowing the ins-and-outs of their first in and they take ownership to ensure the community is served to the best of their abilities.
Responding in the Present
The legacy of being mission driven as a first responder isn’t a new concept. As community members have always been there for each other in times of need. Even more so when the community experiences extreme challenges during emergency situations. The evolution of what that looks like has evolved and is presently evolving. The firefighter community honors the past, responds in the present and plans for the future to ensure the community is effectively served.
As the mission of the of Unified Fire Authority; Riverton’s local fire department is “to save lives, protect property, and strengthen community relationships with professionalism, courage, and dedication.”
Planning for the Future
The priority of saving life and protecting property leads decisions at the strategic level. Related to fire station locations, selecting response equipment and staffing. When seconds matter and parts of seconds change the outcomes of community members. Everything to reduce the emergency response time is analyzed. The mission becomes very clear as the saving of life prioritizes decisions and supports the considerations of our community leaders and fire department members.
Examples of using the “Mission” to drive decisions are strategically placing fire stations and response resources, designing fire stations to support turnout times, improving dispatching software and refining processes to support response. Constantly assessing data to ensure the system is working as efficient as possible while maintaining financial sustainability.
Through exercising mission driven decision making on every emergency incident and decision impacting service. The legacy of all that have contributed to keeping the community safe are honored.