What effect do we have on the communities we build?- New Series!

by Craig Rothluebber on March 11, 2019

The Engineer’s Creed states…

As a Professional Engineer, I dedicate my professional knowledge and skill to the advancement and betterment of human welfare.

I pledge:

To give the utmost of performance;

To participate in none but honest enterprise;

To live and work according to the laws of man and the highest standards of professional conduct;

To place service before profit, the honor and standing of the profession before personal advantage, and the public welfare above all other considerations.

 In humility and with need for Divine Guidance, I make this pledge.

Fire Fighter Oath…

I promise concern for others. A willingness to help those in need.

I promise courage – courage to face and conquer my fears.

Courage to share and endure the ordeal of those who need me.

I promise strength – strength of heart to bear whatever burden might be placed on me.

Strength of body to deliver to safety all those placed in my care.

I promise the wisdom to lead, the compassion to comfort, and the love to serve unselfishly
Whenever I am called.

The first statement of the Engineer’s Creed states that we will use our knowledge for the betterment of human welfare. We need to remember as an Industry that we work for the communities we serve, and our designs should reflect the interest and safety of the public as well as our clients.

It wasn’t until almost a year and a half after becoming a firefighter in 2016 that I noticed how much it had changed who I was, and how I processed information. In 2016 had finally completed my academy training, was halfway through an EMT class, and had started training to drive our engines. All of this training required hours of my time outside of my full-time career as a Civil Engineer, not to mention the countless number of emergency calls that I had responded to at all hours of the night. I became committed to helping people in need. I had spent multiple nights out fighting fires and assisting on medical emergencies only to get home at 5 AM to shower, and head to the office. I had never really thought about how these two professions were linked to each other until I responded to a call at a residence for a structure fire. The design of the driveway coupled with the hazardous road conditions that night delayed our entry into the home.

It was after that response that I realized as an engineer what effect my designs had on other people’s lives during some of the worst situations. A common practice in the land development field is to request variances. I challenge engineers to think about the effects these variances have on the public. Steep grades on driveways in the winter time can have a significant impact on the amount of time and effort it takes to set up a rescue operation on a burning house. Roadways designed at maximum grades, minimum radius, and minimum widths can be a challenge for emergency vehicles to reach patients in need. In the Fire and Emergency Medical Service seconds can make a difference in the outcome of an emergency. The cost may be higher, but it is important to remember why we became Engineers. We are supposed to place service before profit, the honor and standing of the profession before personal advantage, and the public welfare above all other considerations.

In this three-part series, I will be explaining how what we build is intimately connected to how we live and work in the structures we design. I hope you join me for the ride.

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