Mission Misstatements by Ray McCormack

Is your department open and honest about what it can -and cannot – do?


Fire department mission statements – the inside scoop on how great we are and what services are provided for public consumption. If it was only that simple.

In fact, many mission statements are quite complicated. Some would say they should be multi layered to reflect the expansion of services provided.

These provided services are often toted in such a manner as to amaze those within the agency and leave them scratching their heads chanting, “We do that?” They often sound like some snooty class descriptions written by someone whose only experience with a hood is the one attached to their car.

We will come to your aid in rain, sleet or snow. Wait, that’s the mail courier. We will show up in a non confrontational manner displaying fairness and quality customer appreciation, maybe even a ballon to cheer you up. Wait, that’s a hired clown.

Is the mission statement telling the good citizens that even though we are locked in together like a marriage, the rules of our engagement are different than they may have assumed. We have a limited capacity, and some a limited stomach, for fire operations; however, we can adjust the car seat for you. Whatever you do, don’t tell them the truth. They may shut us down.

This is why we complicate it and fib about our capabilities. Distortion and misperception work well in today’s fire world. Don’t believe it! Then make it your mission to read the statements you’ve missed.







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