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Have we reached a point in the fire service to better serve our communities and cities, we should regionalize our resources to respond to the increasing need for manpower to fight fires ,money for budgets and equipment, by eliminating borders and creating a response area supported by a regional tax ? I believe the Idea has merit. Your Thoughts.

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I 100% support regional services. I wish you luck. Many have tried to do that in NJ and have been laughed at. It did work in North Hudson County. They merged 5 or 6 departments years ago and they seem to be working
I completely agree also. I wish we would get such a thing going in my area, but it seems "the powers that be" are entirely too set in their ways to do so. The politicians don't work together very well, and the Chief's don't want to give up any power. I look forward to hearing from other folks about this one
While this is a hotly debated subject in some areas, the middle atlantic states have relized the benefits of this type of system since the late 60's. While there are inherent challenges that must be over come, there are best practices that can be modeled. The unfortunate reality is that for many areas of the country this will become a necessity due to limited funding, limited staff or lack of leadership. Its time for the fire service to step back and take a reality check to see what the future has in store for them. I guess the problem is that a few don't like what might be in store, but you can;t stop evolution or change. The best defense is to plan for it and be part of what is coming.
Hey Jeff,

The leadership that looks at this with a blind eye because of their position instead of the benifits is in the wrong occupation. The benifits far outway the egos. With the right information and examples of areas that have regionalized and passed on to the "right" Leaders it is not far behind. Regionalization is the future that will keep the fire service alive for those having hard times.

STAY SAFE ! Dennis
Hey Tom,

I couldn't agree more! It's comming a lot faster than most think, weather inhouse or by the political leaders of the communities and cities.

STAY SAFE ! Dennis
Hey Jimmy,

North Hudson Regional Fire Rescue is living proof this can be done in NJ. Nothing is perfect and most of the problems come from those who are in it because of old habbits. The writting is on the wall and as you said the hard part is gettig the leaders to read it. Vol. EMS could learn alot from this also.

Stay Safe ! Dennis
You have to control the Chiefs. In my State, a study was done on regionalization and everyone was on board as far as I know, until the Fire Chiefs threw a wrench into the machine.

I wholeheartedly agree with the concept and it is time to evolve.
I agree.Although this can be a difficult task, it can be done.I've see it happen in Central Florida with 2 fire departments.Now, my fire department and a city department are working towards consolidation.We are excited and I belive they are too.Their city counsel has not been very supportive of them.If and when this happens I believe it will increase the levels of service.God Bless!
I like the idea and I would not be against this if done properly. If it is being done well in N.J., I would like to see the model and the stats for response times, etc. My first thought however is, that if you absorb another department that also has staffing and response problems, how does it help? Would you not now have a larger area with only minimal increases in resources? Curious to hear more, thanks. Joe
Joe, I don't know what has been accomplished in NJ but this has been a way of life in Maryland, Virginia, Delaware and a few others for 40 years. What drove it was the increasing separation of the have and have not departments, dwindling staffing and the fact that agriculture communities where now bedroom suburban areas. The part of the equation that fills the staffing gap is the hardest to swollow, paid, daytime staffing...BUT the cost is spread out across the region not a huge lift for a single town or village who can't fund the infrastructure now. One thing I have been avocating is that we don't have a shortage of apparatus, we have a shortage of qualified staff. Why not put together man-power squads to fill the need.
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
Hey Guys,

Lets look at this with a view point that regionalizing is much different than consolidation. Most look at this as needing to change from vol. to paid when in all actuality it is to better utilize the resourses you have locally and in sorounding communities. In many communities we already respond with a mutual aid system that may extend to many departments for manpower need not apparatus. This is a concept of regionalizing resourses. You may consolidate some local resourses during the day such as priority staffing to serve on a regional basis, ie, If you have 5 stations in one community that two always have three men incluiding a driver and the other three stations have 1,2,3 men with or without a driver , by sending that manpower to the first two stations you now have two fully staffed engines or eng/ truck to respond. And by breaking down the borders and dispatching the closest stations to the emergency need you are regionalizing your resourses . This subject is only limited to to the narrow mindedness or open mindedness of those willing to make it happen. Regionalizing could be as simple as dispatching the closest station nomatter what community ! This is called breaking down home rule, what a concept !

STAY SAFE ! Dennis

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