Wheels of the Bravest

Detroit Fire Department.

What comes to mind when you hear those words? In the past Detroit was famous for Devil’s Night, an orgy of arson and vandalism surrounding Halloween. In recent years they’ve been well known among fire buffs as a good place to photograph some action on any given weekend.

Poverty, neglect, urban blight; perhaps some malfeasance or at least mismanagement by city government all spring to mind. Media exposes on the state of the DFD have repeatedly focused on the poor state of the city’s fire department.¬†Recently there have been reports of shortages as a majority of the city’s ambulances sit idle at the repair shops.

Through it all, Detroit’s firefighters, EMTs, and paramedics have still been there. They continue to do the job to the best of their abilities under the conditions presented. It’s what firefighters everywhere do.

But this week this crossed my desk:

The TV news crew which shot the photo was trying to highlight the bald tires. I see them, but I see something else as well. Do you?

If not, go read this and come back: The Shine Factor

I’m not sure exactly what color those wheels are supposed to be, but it’s not Brake Dust Black. They didn’t get that way overnight, either. That is the result of many miles and many shifts of neglect.

Your wheels tell me a lot about your organization, its culture, and its health. Fancy wheels indicate pride at the top, sometimes excessively so. Plain wheels could be a lack of pride, or simply a focus on more important things. Clean, well maintained wheels indicate pride among the troops. I’d rather see a clean rig over a fancy one any day, because it tells me the crews take pride in their work.

A fire department can run with a limited budget, low staffing, poor equipment, and even abuse from City Hall. If they’ve succeeded in beating the pride out of DFD, though, look out. The collapse can’t be far behind.

One comment

  1. Pingback: Oops « Notes from Mosquito Hill