April 2020 Issue Number 237
Is a monthly electronic newsletter which links current events and issues to the daily challenges faced by fire and emergency services managers. Current topics in the areas of leadership development, workplace diversity, change management, and conflict resolution will be discussed.
I hope that you find the information here useful and provocative.
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Now available! On
the Line: Women Firefighters Tell Their Stories by Linda
F. Willing. This book features interviews with over 35 women
firefighters from the United States and Canada. The book is available
from major online booksellers, and signed copies may be ordered through this website.
Fire-Rescue International will take place in Phoenix, AZ August 19-21, 2020.
Women in Fire will hold an international conference in Spokane, WA September 23-26, 2020.
A US District Court judge in Chicago recently issued an order denying the request of a plaintiff for an emergency temporary restraining order because of copyright infringement. The work that had been copyrighted was portrayals of unicorns and other fantasy creatures that appear on apparel and accessories sold worldwide. In denying the request for a hearing, the judge pointed out that we are in the midst of a global pandemic that has affected court staff and resources, and wondered, "if fake fantasy products are experiencing brisk sales at the moment." He concluded, "The world is facing a real emergency. Plaintiff is not. The motion to reconsider the scheduling order is denied."
Few would disagree with this judge, but it is worth looking a bit deeper at this case. This was a copyright case, not a unicorn case, and few people would argue that copyrights are not important. The problem with this request was not content, but timing. And that is important to keep in mind right now.
In the middle of a global emergency where resources are stretched or absent and uncertainty and fear are barely contained in any interaction, a copyright infringement case is probably not an emergency. The judge wrote, "this Court moved the hearing by a few weeks to protect the health and safety of our community, including counsel and this Court’s staff. Waiting a few weeks seemed prudent." He recognized that the case was legitimate, just not an emergency as was insisted upon by the plaintiffs.
In times like these, it is important to focus on priorities while not losing touch with the big picture. Most fire and emergency services departments are focused on only one thing right now: providing necessary services while not losing their own members and resources in the process. That is plenty to keep them fully occupied for now. But emergency services organizations must also not lose the long view-- when this crisis abates (and it will), there are other important things that need attention that may have been temporarily pushed aside for now.
First responders are stepping up heroically under conditions they have never had to face before. They're anxious and they're tired. Let them focus on what is most important now. But leaders, be sure to keep in mind that other priorities are waiting in the wings.
Source: UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS EASTERN DIVISION Case No. 20-cv-1666