Thursday, January 26, 2017

Wingspread VI Conference - 50 Years Later 1966-2016

When I first heard the phrase, "Wingspread VI," I thought a volunteer department was holding an annual fundraiser! But I was wrong.....very wrong!

Back in 1966, The Johnson Foundation (an outgrowth of Johnson Wax, for those of you old enough!) invited several representatives from the fire service to discuss the state of the fire service and emergency service in general. If you are indeed old enough, you'll know that the Bronx was going up in flames on an almost daily occurrence and that firefighting was a tough job.

The attending members had discussions; maybe some very strong discussions, about where we were and where we should be heading. It was a touch meeting, but they left with the consensus that they would return in ten years and see what had changed, both in society and for emergency services.

Zoom ahead to the Summer of 2016 and a much larger group of folks from the fire services, EMS, federal emergency management, etc. gathered once again in Wisconsin, to look back at the 1996 meeting and to look ahead towards the 2016 event. As you can imagine, it's not easy to review the past ten years in a single "gulp" so to speak and even more so when looking ahead another decade.

Lest you "assume" that the results are kept hush-hush, you will be glad to know that, if not already done, the complete report from Wingspread VI will be released very soon. You will be able to read the results at the website of the National fire Heritage Center ( This will be the first time that technology has been at a level that could lend itself to this type of dissemination. 

Last week, I had the honor of interviewing Chief Alan ("Bruno") Brunacini and Chief Dennis Rubin, both participants in this last conference and others. You can hear our complete discussion with them on our podcast, "5-Alarm Task Force: News & Issues for Today's First Responders.  Connect here: 5-Alarm Task Force.  Feel free to leave your comments on the discussion and let us know what you see ahead for the fire service in the next ten years.

Stay Safe & Let's Make Sure Everyone Goes Home!

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