Customer Service in the Fire Service
Editor’s Note: This is the third tip from TargetSolutions’ special report, “Eight Great Tips for Training Your Crew,” a best practices guide. To view the entire report, please click here.

Emergency responders take incredible risks to help others. The courage, integrity and talent it takes to do this job should be respected by everyone. At the same time, emergency responders have an obligation to treat everyone with respect. Providing honorable, dedicated service to the community requires outstanding customer service in the fire service.

“We have to be sober and salient 24/7, but we only have to be nice eight times a day for 20 minutes at a time. That is mandatory. If you can’t do that, just stay in the truck. It’s about the added value. Mrs. Smith is going to remember how she felt because of the effort we make to connect.”
Alan Brunacini, Retired Chief of Phoenix Fire Department
The question is how does a training administrator instill this mindset in personnel who struggle with this concept?
Without question, some personnel will grow unhappy with the profession, the sacrifices they make, and the increasing workload. They may feel burnt out. But it’s critical every patient is treated as if they are on vacation. You read that right … vacation. Granted, emergency response is far from a day at the beach, but the need for first-rate customer service is just the same.
Retired Chief Alan Brunacini is an ardent believer in the importance of outstanding customer service in the fire service. He believes citizens will strongly remember the first two minutes and the last three minutes they spend with responders during emergencies. To encourage the right behavior, Brunacini says leaders need to treat personnel how they want them to treat the public.
To make sure your organization does everything it can to please customers, make sure the right type of people have been hired and have been trained on how critical this is to the success of the organization. Personnel need to be professional at all times. Remember, if citizens are treated well, it will pay dividends in the future when emergency services need public support.
Tips for Fire Department Training