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Fire and rescue services are essential to every political jurisdiction since facilitates the handling of emergencies and disasters. The fire and rescue department is provided under the UK law, specifically the 2004 Law, Fire and Rescue Services Act. This Act empowers fire authorities to take adequate steps necessary to prevent and contain fires as well as protect property and lives. It also empowers the fire and rescue department to participate in other emergency services such as search and rescue in case of natural disasters. This is evident as was the case in Haiti earlier within the year when the UK fire and rescue services department participated in saving lives of Haitians who had been trapped under rubble following an earthquake in which over 100,000 people were killed (UK Public Service, 2010). Globalization on the other hand is the process by which political, cultural and economic systems of different parts of the world are integrated through trade, transportation and communication networks (Steger, 2003). Globalization affects the way in which fire and rescue services operate across different parts of the world.
It is important to understand how globalization affects fire and rescue service provision in order to increase the effectiveness of the department. It is equally important to understand ethical considerations when providing fire and rescue services to people in different parts of the world. This paper aims at analyzing the UK Fire and Rescue Services Act and brief features contained in the Act. The paper will also assess the role of globalization in the provision of fire and rescue services across the world. Finally, various ethical, legal and global considerations when providing fire and rescue services will also be discussed. These will provide an insight on the role of fire and rescue service providers in a changing environment as well as steps which should be taken to increase the effectiveness of this department. The discussed issues will be summarized at the end.
Globalization has been defined as a process by which political, cultural and economic systems of different parts of the world are integrated through trade, transportation and communication networks. Globalization occurs when different parts of the world are interlinked through commerce, technological changes, culture and politics (Friedman, 2005). When this happens, events which occur in one part of the world affect other parts of the world. There are various forms of globalization and these include cultural, political, economic and technological globalization. There are also positive and negative consequences of globalization and these will be briefly discussed in the paper. Economic globalization occurs when there is free trade and a common market which is global.
Political globalization occurs when political structures in different parts of the world are interlinked and political events affect in one part of the world affect other parts of the world. Cultural globalization occurs when people in different regions appreciate foreign culture and move towards a â€œworld cultureâ€Â as opposed to regional or individual cultures. Positive effects of globalization include the ability to access diverse services and goods, better communication and transport networks, increased ease of undertaking business and others (Wolf, 2004). Negative effects include environmental destruction, emergence of sweatshops, brain drain, increase in Internet crimes and others.
Law, Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004
The Fire and Rescue Services Act which defines various roles played by fire and rescue services department as far as handling emergencies is concerned. The Act lists four main core functions of the fire and rescue department as fire fighting, fire safety, handling emergencies and road traffic accidents. The first role of fire fighting expects the department to take measures which are geared towards protecting property and life in case of fires and extinguishing fires within jurisdictions (Buchanan, 2000). The department is expected to procure equipment, services and personnel required to effectively play this role. The second role is fire safety and this involves informing the public on how to prevent and deal with fires in order to prevent injury and fatalities from fires. The third role is handling emergencies and the fire and rescue services department is tasked with the responsibility of handling emergencies as ordered by the Secretary of State. When this order is given, the department is expected to procure equipment, services and personnel required to effectively play this role.
Finally, handling road accidents is another role played by the fire and rescue services department. The department is expected to rescue people involved in accidents and protecting them from further harm which may result from occurrence of accidents. In addition to these roles, the secretary of state may direct the fire and rescue services to act outside their jurisdiction. The department may also be ordered to act and prevent injuries and fatalities to animals, plants or humans, depending on the circumstances. These roles are aimed at preventing damage to property and safeguarding human lives as well as the environment. As previously discussed, globalization affects how the fire and rescue department operates and this will be evaluated in the next section of the paper.
How globalization affects the UK Fire and Rescue Service department
There are various aspects of the fire and rescue department which are affected by globalization. These may be categorized according to the different types of globalization including the cultural, economic, technological and political aspects. These will be discussed in more detail below;
Technology has linked different parts of the world especially through the development of the Internet. The Internet has facilitated trade and made it easier to conduct business online. The Internet has also led to cultural globalization since people from different cultures across the world are able to interact and share ideas and experiences through different forums including social networking sites such as Facebook (Glyn, 2006). In addition to these, there are many innovations which have occurred in the recent past which have made it more efficient for humans to perform certain actions. In fire and rescue services, technology plays an important role since it is heavily reliant on modern equipment, personnel and procedures. There are many inventions which have occurred in the past which have made it easier for fire and rescue personnel to undertake their duties more effectively. These include fire fighting trucks, hand tools such as halligan bars and pike poles, hydraulic rescue tools, personal protection equipment including safety boots, self contained breathing apparatus, bunker gear and others. Other technology used in search and rescue of victims include thermal imaging cameras, heat sensors, use of rescue dogs and others.
These tools are very useful as far as fire and safety service provision is concerned. For instance, thermal imaging tools and heat sensors enable rescuers detect human beings who are alive and trapped under rubble (Cuny, 2003). Without such technology, it is very difficult to save victims of earthquakes and other natural disasters. This technology was applied by the UK rescue crews during a search and rescue operation in Haiti, after an earthquake earlier this year. The technology helped locate and save many victims, who would have died under rubble had the technology not existed. Globalization facilitates the innovation and sharing of such technology in various regions across the world. Through the internet, research firms are able to work in teams, including virtual teams, to develop new technology which makes fighting fires easier and effective. Such technology is also able to be shared through the Internet to regions in different parts of the world which require fire and rescue services. In addition, technology is important in creating awareness and sharing news about disasters and emergencies which have occurred in a region. This ensures that the overall objective of fire and rescue, which is the preservation of lives and property is achieved.
Political aspect of globalization is realized when political systems around the world merge and create a global political system as opposed to individual systems. It occurs when political events occurring in one part of the world influence events in other parts of the world. Political form of globalization has been facilitated by the development of global political bodies such as the United Nations and the growing influence of the US as a superpower (Stiglitz, 2006). This influences countries to take certain political decisions in accordance with such bodies. In fire fighting and rescue, politics is a core concern in the department since funding is primarily done by the government. Many decisions which are made regarding fire and rescue service provision are made by political leaders including the secretary of State.
It has been discussed that the Secretary of State has the authority to order fire and rescue teams to act outside their jurisdiction. This has been witnessed many times after natural catastrophes have hit foreign nations. For instance, the fire fighting and emergency crews were sent to offer help in locating victims of the Haitian earthquake which cost hundreds of thousands of lives. The UK and other countries usually extend support for countries which share political ideologies and which have common political objectives. Countries which have extreme political ideology or dictatorship leadership usually receive very little support from countries with political influence. For instance, Haiti received generous support from countries across the world, including the UK fire and rescue department after it was hit by an earthquake. This was due to the democratic nature of the Haitian political system which is shared by many countries.
The cultural aspect of globalization is involves the movement towards a global culture as opposed to regional or individual cultures within societies. It also involves interest in foreign cultures, and this is primarily driven by technological evolution and especially the advent of the Internet. The Internet has made it possible for people in different parts of the world to share experiences and ideas on cultural beliefs and practices. Social networking sites have proven to be some of the most effective means of sharing cultural experiences. In fire and rescue services, cultural beliefs and practices play a very important role especially when giving such services to people of a different cultural orientation.
Different cultures have different beliefs and it is important to understand these when giving fire and rescue services to people in foreign nations. This is because some practices deemed allowable in some societies may actually be seen as taboo by others. For instance, mode of dressing, foods consumed and religious practices practiced by rescuers may prove to be offensive to victims who are being rescued. When this happens, ethical concerns may arise and the victims may refuse to cooperate with the rescuers. For instance, if the British Fire and Rescue department provides rescue services to people of an Islamic culture, personnel should be aware that eating pork is not tolerated under the religion and such a practice may actually create a situation where victims are hostile to their would-be-rescuers.
Issues arising from globalization and the fire and rescue service provision
There are various issues which may arise during the provision of fire and rescue services. Some of these will be discussed below;
It has been discussed that culture plays a role as far as provision of fire and rescue services is involved. There are different cultural considerations which may arise especially when the fire and rescue service s are being provided to foreign countries. This may occur when rescuers carry out practices which are looked down upon by victims. For instance, consumption of pork in a primarily Islamic region may cause hostility between rescuers and the victims (Murray, 2006). It is important for rescuers to understand the underlying culture and traditions when rescuing people from a different cultural background in order to ensure that cultural practices done by rescuers are consistent with the tolerable cultural limits.
One major issue which faces fire fighters and emergency crews around the world is how to prioritize support given to victims especially when two victims require attention spontaneously. For instance, in Haiti, the British crew sometimes faced situations where victims needed medical attention or rescue services but due to a shortage of personnel, only a few could victims could be saved. Under such circumstances, fire fighters and rescue crews were forced to make decision on whom to give priority to. This is a difficult question which emergency crews face and in many cases, victims who appear to have a realistic chance of surviving are usually given priority when evacuating them.
Legal issues normally related to the conduct of fire and safety crews when conducting rescue operations. There are set procedures, practices and ethical code of conduct which fire fighters and emergency crews are expected to conform to when providing emergency services. Whenever rescue crews do not conform to such ethical guidelines, legal issues may arise. Legal issues may involve misconduct which includes theft, immoral behavior, misrepresentation, negligence and other forms of misconduct (CEPAL, 2007). It is important to avoid these issues since they may cost fines or imprisonment to emergency workers. This can be done through following the ethical guidelines developed in the profession.
Role of practitioner in changing environment
Due to the effects of globalization, the world is dynamic and changes frequently. Innovations, new procedures and practices, political and economic factors influence how the fire and rescue services operate. It also changes the role which fire and emergency service providers play with regards to provision of emergency services. Fire and emergency service providers are expected to play their major role which is to safeguard property and human lives, in a changing environment. They are expected to play this role without favor or bias and without discrimination against the background of the victims. In addition to this, fire and rescue personnel may be required to act outside their jurisdiction if necessary. They may also be required to assist in accidents, which is part of their role. In addition to the role of preserving lives and property, fire fighters and rescue personnel may be required to play a role of environmental conservation especially when plants or animals are in danger (George, 2009). However, this is done following orders by the secretary of state. Finally, fire fighters and rescue personnel are required to take measures designed to inform the public on how to avoid fires and steps taken to deal with fires once they break out. This is done within the jurisdiction of the fire fighting and rescue department.
In order to effectively play this role, employees need regular training on new trends and technologies developed. Employees should be trained in periodic durations in order to ensure that they are able to meet their objectives as service providers in a changing environment (Smith, 2007). They should be made aware of new technology used in fire fighting since it improves their effectiveness and efficiency. In addition to this, fire services and emergency providers should carefully analyze the cultural background of potential victims when dispatching rescuers especially if the victims are from a foreign country. Finally, the code of conduct should be a guideline on the conduct of rescue service and fire fighting employees. This will ensure that ethical considerations from conflict in cultural attributes are reduced.
Summary and conclusion
Various aspects of fire fighting and rescue have been explored in detail. Fire fighting and rescue has been seen to play a crucial role of safeguarding lives and property as well as helping victims when accidents occur. In addition, they are expected to take adequate steps to procure required equipment and personnel as well as educate the public on fire prevention strategies. Globalization, which is the process by which political, cultural and economic systems of different parts of the world are integrated, has also been seen to play a role in fire fighting and rescue service provision. Globalizations, including technological, political and cultural aspects have a strong influence on emergency service provision. It may also lead to the development of ethical considerations including cultural considerations, legal considerations and global issues. These must be avoided at all costs since they may result in heavy fines or even imprisonment in cases where emergency workers practice misconduct.
The role of emergency workers in a changing environment is therefore to provide emergency service which saves human lives and property. This includes cases where accidents or environmental disasters occur. Fire and rescue services personnel are expected to provide service to victims without any form of discrimination or bias. They are also expected to follow ethical conduct when giving such services in order to minimize the occurrence of ethical misconduct. In order to enable employees play this role effectively, they should undergo re-training at frequent intervals in order to accustom them with new equipment and procedures which increase effectiveness in service delivery. Employees should also be accustomed with the culture of victims in order to prevent cultural conflicts from occurring. However, the most effective solution to the problem of fire is the education of the public on how to prevent the same. This is part of the fire fighting and rescue services mandate. Knowledge on how to prevent and fight fire will empower the public to prevent and contain fires when they arise.