The megatrend towards urbanization is presenting fire departments with new challenges. Cities are becoming more and more crowded and are increasingly developing into smart cities. The number of mega cities, that is, large cities with more than 10 million residents, is increasing. For the first time in human history, more people live in cities than in the countryside. It is predicted that more than 70% of mankind will live in cities by 2050.
This will inevitably lead to infrastructure-related, ecological, and social challenges along with the corresponding hazards that fire departments will potentially have to face. For example, the increasing number of cars on the road make it more and more difficult for emergency crews to reach the scene of an emergency during rush hour. Intelligent route guidance systems that use available information and communication technologies and access to traffic cameras, for example, combined with compact and maneuverable emergency vehicles can be extremely advantageous to emergency crews.
On a social level, volunteering and honorary posts are becoming less important in the anonymous, urban world. While professional fire departments ensure the safety of infrastructure and residents in big cities – already a common practice – volunteer fire departments in the countryside are suffering from an increasing lack of available personnel. As a result, many municipalities are unable to maintain proper emergency readiness. One solution that is becoming more common in recent times is the consolidation of fire departments.
Please write to me if anything occurs to you regarding urbanization and its direct or indirect effects on fire departments, or if you have concrete ideas and suggestions for addressing these future problems.
I look forward to your comments!