Every fire department needs a mission statement that is driven by its values and vision for the future. In fact, that’s why many fire departments have all three:
- A mission statement
- A vision statement
- A values statement
They all sound very similar – and in reality, it can be hard to tell the difference between the three sometimes.
But here are some ways to tell the difference:
A mission statement – “our purpose”
The mission statement sets our your “purpose”. It tells everyone why you exist in the first place. It will usually start with phrases like:
- “We are…”
- “We act as…”
- “Our mission and purpose is to…”
A mission without a purpose is just … well, nothing! You need to tell everyone why you exist in the first place, and that’s what your mission statement does.
A vision statement – “our future”
Your vision statement will tell everyone what you plan to do. A good leader knows where you’re headed and knows how to get you there. You’ll need a short elevator pitch ‘vision statement’ to tell everyone where you’re taking the organization.
Your vision statement talks about the future, so it often starts with:
- “We will…”
- “We aim to be…”
- “Striving toward…”
A values statement – “our principles”
Your values statement will tell people what you stand for. You might want to talk with your team about what values you as a group feel you should be living in your everyday lives as firefighters. They might be values like:
- Respect for people and property
- Service to all
- Non-discrimination and respect for diversity
- Transparency and openness
- Valuing community contributions
See if you as a team can come up with about 5 core values that you think sums up your team and the spirit of the fire service.
Here are some examples of mission statements, vision statements, and values statements from various fire departments around North America.
Examples of Firefighter Mission Statements
- “Saves lives and builds safer communities.” – Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services.
- As first responders to fires, public safety and medical emergencies, disasters and terrorist acts, FDNY protects the lives and property of New York City residents and visitors. The Department advances public safety through its fire prevention, investigation, and education programs. The timely delivery of these services enables the FDNY to make significant contributions to the safety of New York City and homeland security efforts.” – Fire Department of New York
- “We preserve life and property; promote public safety; and foster community support services in a professional manner.” – Brewster Fire Department
- “Our duty is to protect the lives and property of residents and visitors through fire prevention and education, fire and rescue response and the provision of emergency medical aid.” – Burnaby Fire Department
- “We are dedicated to protecting life, property and the environment by providing emergency response, regulatory compliance and community education. We do this through the involvement of employees, volunteers and the community. Our services enhance community safety.” – Surrey Fire Service
- “Our mission is to provide a safe, professional and courteous team that strives to exceed the expectations of the community and our organization. This mission requires our members to be part of a capable, aggressive, all-risk fire department that is focused on “Preserving the Past and Protecting the Future” of those we serve.” – Georgetown Fire Department
- “We act as an effective team to proactively protect and enhance the City’s livability by serving and educating our community, preventing harm and responding to emergencies.” – Richmond Fire-Rescue
- “Prevent, Protect, Preserve and Respect.” – Victoria Fire Department
- “To prevent the loss of life and to control or reduce the loss of property by applying all of our professional knowledge and resources. We will accomplish this mission through fire suppression, rescue, code enforcement, public education, fire investigation, and professional development training. It is our number one priority to provide the best fire service to all citizens and visitors of our great city.” – Fort Wayne Fire Department
- “To serve the community of the City of Nelson by protecting life, property and the environment.” – Nelson Fire-Rescue
- “To provide a quality fire/rescue service to our community and its visitors.” – Tofino Volunteer Fire Services
- “With pride and dedication the Saanich Fire Department is committed to providing the highest quality service to our community through the preservation of life, protection of property and the environment.” – Saanich Fire Department
- “We are committed to protecting life, property and business from the effects of fire and disasters. We will also assist with medical emergencies whenever it is called upon to do so. A significant portion of our Mission can be accomplished through fire prevention, education and emergency preparedness programs.” – Comox Fire Rescue
- “Making a Difference in our Community.” – Abbotsford Fire Rescue Services
- “Committed to the safety of our community through the delivery of public education, code enforcement, fire suppression and rescue services. As fire service professionals, we will safeguard life, property and the environment, to the best of our abilities.” – Qualicum Beach Fire Department
- “We strive to protect and support the community by providing outstanding service in the areas of fire suppression, emergency response, member training, fire prevention, public education, and charitable community service.” – Parksville Fire Department
- “Our mission is the protection and preservation of life and property for the people we serve. We are committed to doing so through the provision of quality cost effective services in the areas of fire suppression and emergency First Responder / Medical Assist services.” – Hedley Fire Department
Examples of Firefighter Vision Statements
- “We will be the international leader in fire, rescue, community risk reduction, and staff safety and wellness.” – Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services.
- “We will maintain aggressive, offensive fire fighting tactics; Support a safe, healthy, and diverse workplace that is open to change; Provide emergency medical services, and environmental protection; Establish a strong community relations program, particularly in the area of fire, and prevention, public education, injury prevention, and emergency preparedness” – Surrey Fire Service
- “To be a progressive organization that leads the community in public safety. The service we provide will be of the highest quality afforded to the citizens of our community.” – Georgetown Fire Department
- “We provide a high level of customer service by protecting life, property and the environment, through the delivery of innovative, fiscally responsible firefighting, rescue, fire prevention, and emergency management services. As a core service of the City, we are committed to protecting citizens, families, our colleagues, and the preservation of our profession in the delivery of these services.” – Victoria Fire Department
- “A progressive, innovative, and dynamic organization, committed to excellence in the delivery of all its services.” – Comox Fire Rescue
Examples of Firefighter Values Statements
- “We are prepared for duty, serving with integrity, responding with compassion, and committed to professional excellence.” – Brewster Fire Department
- “We encourage and support excellence in leadership, innovation, and service. We aspire to the highest level of competency through training and mentoring. We value teamwork and open communication as the foundation for all that we do. We honor our families and the deep traditions of the Fire Service. We will act with respect and integrity in all situations.” – Saanich Fire Department
- “When called upon, we will provide a safe, rapid and professional response to emergencies. We will show compassion for the victims of emergencies. We will minimize the adverse affects on the environment resulting from our responses whenever possible.” – Comox Fire Rescue
- “Putting People First with Pride, Honour and Integrity” – Preston Fire Rescue
Of course, it’s best to come up with your own unique mission, vision and values statements that reflect you and your community. If you are serving an Indigenous or vulnerable community, maybe that’s something that should be incorporated into your statements. If you serve an urban or rural community, your statements might differ as well.
We hope these examples have been helpful for you to get some ideas for what you might want to include in your department’s vision, values and mission statements!