It is an honor and a privilege to serve as your president during 2018. I look forward to continuing to build on the progress and momentum of the previous presidents and leadership of the division.
As we move into 2018, the fire service continues to be challenged to be more efficient and effective in the use of our customers’ (taxpayers’) funds. This is not a localized issue but one that is evident across the country, including the five states that comprise the Southwest Division. This is occurring at the same time that our country and our region is experiencing the most costly series of wide spread disaster level incidents in the country’s history. The numerous hurricanes and flooding experienced along the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts and Puerto Rico and the wildfires in the western states have resulted in devastation of homes, commercial properties and public safety assets. This will compound the physical effects of these incidents by lowering the values of or removing properties from the tax rolls putting further pressure on local government funding streams.
These storms have brought out what is good and honorable in our profession as departments from across the country have donated significant resources into the affected areas. A significant number of good, serviceable apparatus have been donated into the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast region from several departments across the country, allowing for smaller cities such as Rockport, Texas to return to providing service to their communities.
The focus of the Southwest Division during the next year is to expand its leadership course offerings throughout the division’s five-state area. In doing so, the goal is to bring relevant and timely discussion topics to the attendees at each venue and do so at an affordable price point to encourage attendance.
I look forward to this year and hope to see you at one of the conferences or meetings being scheduled.
Chief Randall Parr, Fire Chief
Tomball Fire Department
President- IAFC- SW Division 2017-2018