Last week, comments were posted questioning a training seminar that was conducted by the Hartford Fire Department for some of its members.
I haven't bothered Chief Freeman since he is out on paternity leave after the birth of his second daughter last week. Congratulations to the Freeman's on the arrival of their daughter.
I have spoken to several other people familiar with or who had attended the training. The course was regarding "Situational Awareness Training". From what I understand, the course was taught by a Fire Chief from Minnesota who was in the area to teach a course to the US Navy. The City was able to get a reduced rate on the training since he was already in the State of Connecticut for the Naval course.
Chief Freeman may not have risen up through the ranks of HFD and because of that may not be accepted by everyone at HFD. As someone who has observed HFD from the outside for a while now, I have to say I think the HFD is under the best leadership it has seen in quite a while. We aren't hearing of the discipline problems and chaos we have seen under the previous few Chiefs.
Chief Freeman is functioning under some of the most difficult circumstances seen in years. Between financial constraints and staffing problems, the HFD is still called upon every day to provide Fire Services for the City of Hartford and its residents. For anyone not aware of the situations facing Public Safety in Hartford, both Police and Fire are headed for a definite crisis due to the lack of commitment from City Hall.
The number for both Police and Fire are dropping steadily and they are not being replaced to keep ahead of the attrition. Sources at both HFD and HPD are telling me that those numbers will likely get much worse after July 1st as large numbers of Police Officers and Firefighters retire or leave for other jobs. Much of that attrition is being forced by the uncertainty and insincerity from Mayor Bronin and City Hall..
One high ranking HFD source told me that the training was held to help offset the damage of the upcoming exodus. The person explained that the loss of many high rankling officers is going to require the promotion of many people at HFD to important command positions The source made it clear that many of those people "were not ready for the promotions", but that everything was being done to prepare the future Captains and Deputy Chiefs to be ready.
Even though they may not be "ready", the promotions will be necessary to provide the Command Structure necessary for day to day operations at HFD.
Chief Freeman has had the vision and foresight to prepare for the possible disaster caused by City Hall and take the necessary steps to mitigate the impending disaster. Although some commenter's called the training a "waste of money", it seems to me like it will be money well spent if it keeps our firefighters safe with proper leadership in the field.
For those that claimed they learned nothing from the training, one source who attended the training told me that if anyone attended and learned nothing, "they were either asleep or not paying attention"