The value of CE and an advanced degree for fire leaders

Higher education can help firefighters tackle the five biggest challenges facing emergency services today

By Steven Knight, Ph.D.

As leaders, we both desire and have an obligation to leave our organizations and people better off than when we started in our roles. But clearly not all leaders succeed at achieving this goal, despite best efforts. One reason some struggle is because the myriad of internal and external pressures that they face cannot be navigated sufficiently through technical expertise or experience alone.

In his article “5 Wicked Issues We Can No Longer Ignore,” Mark Light, executive director of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, defined five problems facing emergency services today:

  1. Cost efficiency
  2. Data
  3. Deployment and staffing
  4. Culture, and
  5. Political acumen

With varying degrees between agencies and provider groups, I think we can agree that, as an industry, many of these wicked problems exist in our organizations. One strategy that will assist in successfully navigating these issues is an organizational and personal commitment to higher education.

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