Joe I like a person with an open mind, you present an objective well informed approach. I was intently interested in all you had to say up to the last sentence. "CHIEFS" what to do with them. My experience with chiefs is they for the most part are good leaders & get the job done. Some are too wrapped up with the POWER. If a chief can't accept working with a black lid he's lost perspective. We work for the community, if were in gear working, someone's having a bad day & our job is to minimize the citizens bad day. Teams of people work to accomplish the task, if you need to be the top dog maybe you should take a step back to rethink why you're there.
To answer the last question, the best man/woman will continue as chief the others can mount there white lid on the wall & pick up a hand tool or retire. He can then use phrases like "when I was chief".
Stay safe brother
Joe Campbell said:
Apparatus is not the issue here either. Like you we have no shortage of equipment, just people to get it where it needs to be, when it needs to be there. And like you describe we are becomming more and more a bedroom community for Indianapolis just 15 miles to our north. We, and most of the departments around us that would be "ripe" for consolidation utilize paid stand-by to fill shifts, day and night. Our particular department though funds the paid stand-by from the old Corporation department budget, and funds the career staff from the Fire Protection District. The funding is non-transferable. The only way to make paid stand-by more attractive is to pay it better, which would mean a tax increase....fatal words in this present economy.
I can see where the "have nots" would think it to be great, but did the "haves" feel as though they should carry the lions share of the power since they would be contributing the most?
Consolidation is a very hot topic here in central Indiana right now. In Marion County (Indianapolis) there are 9 Townships with the City of Indianapolis Fire Department in the dead center of the County. Two of the townships have been consolidated into IFD already and the political objective is to force all of the townships to consolidate by 2011. I left one of the townships after 23 years mostly because of the threat of consolidation, it may seem somewhat selfish, but I did not want to be on IFD when I got into the fire service, and I saw no advantage to being forced to be an IFD firefighter after 23 years at a very fine, progressive and well trained department.
Was that kind of power play avoided in your experience, and if so how? What about the absorbtion of existing officers and especially chiefs?
Thank you for your correspondence. Joe
Regionalization has worked well in Washington State where there are many departments creating larger more efficient organizations. They generaly do not save a lot of money on the front end but over the long term, there is a reduction in duplication of staff, equipment and at time's stations, hence a long term savings.
Look at RCW52.26 for the state law providing those guidelines.
Interesting discussion here... When I entered the FS I did not know that other areas of the Country did not have Local Government, Counties, State and Feds. I was on another website and made the comment "send your RFP to the County FD, State FD and Fed FD" which was smashed by those in the NY area since there is no such thing.
In California, as many know we have City FDs (LAFD, City of Orange, San Diego Fire/Rescue, La Verne FD, Sacramento City and many, many, many others), Local Government (Cities and Counties; LA Co FD, Orange County Fire Authority, Ventura County FD, San Bernardino County FD, Santa Barbara County and many, many, many others), State (CalFire, State Parks and OES) and the Feds (DOD, Bureau of Indian Affairs, BLM, USFS and others) and locally we have seen a few FDs go County FD.
As the financial belts (Federal and State) are tightened, I see more Regional FDs emerging. It truly can be done as we've shown in California, Texas, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, Nevada, Arizona and other States. In California, we frequently lose our barriers and little "domains" to give help, but it is great to receive help when you need it. Learn from our mistakes (San Fransisco Fires) and get on the same page as much as possible for the State/Region. I don't care how big of a FD you are, we all need help eventually.
I started this post in April of 2008 and here it is Feb, 2011 and the push is on, not just in NJ but on a national level. The politicans have seen the light before we have and they will make us go blind. We have failed to see our future and will now suffer the rath of government as they take more and more of what we need to do our job. Just one town away, the FD has 7 companies in a 1.5 to 2 sq miles and are requesting the town replace a 1978 eng. Do they really need it? Five Engines, a truck and a rescue remain. We have lost site of our responcibility to those who pay our bills and now uncle sam will take control. The clock continues to click but not for long. Regionalisation and consoladition will be done at the hands of gov. and the way they see fit. If we only took the blinders off in 2008 !!
Stay Safe !!! Dennis
Wow, it's finally happening there to. Locally, regionalization has been very beneficial with the ability to upgrade and make heavier responses for F/S, R/Q, T/C and such. No boundary limits, no politics and more manpower to the calls that really need it.
Hopefully you side will see the positive outcomes that we have seen.
Stay safe my friends.....
A very progressive leader of a very progressive board took a number of years to achieve his ultimate goal of nationalising the Fire Service in New Zealand in 1976. Now I understand that NZ is a very samll country and nationalisation does not seem such a big deal, but the reality is that each city and town local authority, there were 270 oodd, had to hand over control of their Fire Service to a national body. NZ is the size of California, but with only 4.5 million people, the geographic diversity and distance between towns is significant, and I would compare it to regionalisation of a small state in the USA. Australia too have regionalised Fire Services. Each State has its own service. Some of these staes are very large, similar to a the size of some states in the USA. The NZ Fire Service has over 300 stations, 8000 firefighters (paid and volunteer) and nationalised 270 odd seperate fire districts from cities with over 1 million people, to tiny remote villiages. It has and continues to work very well. There are huge advantages in terms of legislation, infrastructure, training and equipment standards, IT systems, and the list goes on and on. I have very briefly visited some departments in the USA, including North Hudson. They have a fantastic department and are an example of the success that can be achieved. One of the barriers, I guess, is a sence of loss of identify and perhaps control. It is not like that. Although a chief may have a different rank name and a different badge, he will still be the figurehead of the Fire Service in that area. The community will still feel a sense of ownership and pride in its Fire Department.
It can work. Explore the opportunities and embrace the challenges. Be safe all.
Mike D, NZ Fire Service
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