Comment: Pondering tomorrow’s morrow
By Laura Aiken
I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow. I can make a good guess barring the unforeseen, but the unforeseen has an unruly habit of happening all the time. Long-term direction seems easier to navigate than the ups and downs of day-to-day. And lacking a crystal ball prevents no one from making educated and often accurate predictions about the blank that is tomorrow’s morrow. For this year’s cover story, I asked some experienced minds on the industry side how they envision the future of apparatus. The innovations of today set the stage for long-term evolution.
The fire service has an inner circle reputation for being resistant to change, but change it does, even if the pace is tentative. Look no further than current sentiments around mental health, cancer, women firefighters and diversity. Conversations are progressive. In the long run, the stage for change has been set and so it can be said for technology.
The wildly imaginative cover image we chose for this edition is conceptual and reminds us of the air of possibility the future holds. Dahir Semenov, a Russian engineer who founded the Istanbul-based firm Dahir Insaat, shared his gyroscopic fire truck with us. You can search for the YouTube demonstration that shows how the truck navigates unwieldly traffic and reaches high-rises with ease via telescopic legs. Semenov’s company is known for his futuristic designs. The man is definitely inventive, but also thinking about one of the challenges facing the drivers of fire trucks today and certainly for the future, namely, navigating the roads of the community it serves. The fire truck has to get on scene fast. The logistics of this have changed dramatically over the last 100 years. Will they be as big one century forth?
External problems drive internal innovation for industry and departments. How to manage on scene gross decon as part of cancer mitigation was a large contingent of the fire chief panel’s discussion at the recent FAMA/FEMSA apparatus and equipment conference in Toronto. What role will the fire truck and equipment play, and how will the service adopt decontamination holistically?
As the world changes, so will the fire truck. Though you can count on change with the certainty of death and taxes, some challenges remain stubbornly steadfast. Maintenance and service alongside cost are issues that will probably always be there in some form or another. The electronics on apparatus are becoming more complex and this creates new challenges in repair.
I hope you enjoy this edition’s discussion on the future of apparatus and it gives you something to consider in your preparation of days to come.