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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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actually it took a few chiefs with a vision to pull it off
on the political end, it was about the money although it was touted as a public safety win-win, which it is
they tried to do it twice before but there was no $$$ incentive so it died on the table
this time, with the incentives from the sate, what they did was form a committee from all the departments and began to organize it with new SOP's table of organization, rules and regs, running assignments, etc., but what made it really work was that we were operating as a semi-regional dept for several years. We were dispatched out of the same place, were on the same frequency, had many common SOP's and common equipment -- they put it on the street on 1/11/99 and fixed it as we went along
it is now an extremely progressive dept that would not have come about without the vision of chiefs such as ed flood. He basically steered the ship and set the groundwork for where we are today. Brion mceldowney took over from there
i have severe doubts as to how or if monmouth can pull it off. I thought there was home rule in bergen county but i have never seen it like in monmouth. It will take a few good men with balls of steel to break those shackles
also extremely difficult to pull off in a strictly volunteer setting
but, it did happen in NH so nothing is impossible is it?
Here's a link for the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments' Fire, Rescue and EMS site. Not only are all the county fire departments involved operating under county-wide services (most of which consist of a combination of a county-wide paid department and local volunteer departments, which may or may not host some of the paid personnel), the different counties are regionalized and have mutual aid and automatic aid agreements, and observe regional SOPs on major incidents. The news media barely even noticed that there were different departments at the Pentagon until well into the incident on 9/11.

http://www.mwcog.org/security/safety/fire/
Chief Avillo,

Thanks for this information ! These are the building blocks I am looking for. I understand what you mean about Monmouth County, I have lived here for 47 years, 35 of them in the Fire Service. That being said with 35 yrs as a progressive firefighter and all the toes I have stepped on fighting for change, my balls look like a rainbow ! A few more colors wouldn't make a difference! My parents ,rest their soles,always said, Never compromise or give up your dreams, they are the only real things of yours in life !!

STAY SAFE !! Dennis
Chief Keddy,
Thanks for the link ! This is the story all should read. And then the comments by some I'am sure, firefighters and the general public. It is so sad that we always wait until uncle Sam has to come and force things on us, instead of us opening our eyes and creating a system that works for all. The last people you piss off are the people you provide a service for ! We can work with the politicans but once you lose the publics support you are at the point of no return. With all the Fire service books and magazines and web sites, you have to question, What are our leaders reading,if anything ? Losing a firefighter or someone from the general public is hard enough. But to lose those same people because we did not want to change ?Unexceptable !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! All this info is very helpfull !!

STAY SAFE !! Dennis
Here is some additional reading.
Attachments:
New Regional Fire Department near York Pennsylvania. The new department serves Springettsbury and Spring Garden townships and is a merger of those two townships' departments.

Read Story in The York Dispatch
Like Tom, consolidation is a way of life here in Oregon as well. Two of the largest Fire districts in Oregon are from consolidations. As towns become cities, government grows to meet it's demand. There becomes a duplication of effort by seperate organizations that support the same mission, same as schools and water districts. Depts start sharing costs, put on joint training, and combining SOGs for the need of mutual aid. It gets to point where the cost vs benefit becomes undeniable.

Only in my area, we sunk a great deal of money into a feasiblity study a few years back, to see if it would benefit the neighboring districts to merge. It laid out the possible issues that may arrise, but that was it... the study went no further. Egos had gotten in the way, not just Chiefs, even our own board members.

The point I am trying to get at is that we are here to serve the public. It's unfortunate that we have members in power that will put their careers ahead of those in which they have sworn to serve. There will always be issues, change in any organization is never easy . But to make a merge successful, there needs to a strong leader in place! Some one with the vision and patience to keep everyone on track of their mission. Egos need to be checked, and everyone will need to adjust to a new way of life. It may be bumpy for the first year through the fifth, but it's what we are doing for the future of the organization and the citizens we serve. Crap, you have to see all of the heart ache that was created when the urban growth boundary moved in and turned a rural community into a city! Change is tough for most people.
How does regionalizing/consolidation affect individual department members?
If you have a single vollie dept's area regionalized with one or more combi or paid dept's?
If a number of vollie dept's join together?

You have some vol. FF's who's dept's get regionalized. They can't or don't want to be part- or full-time, but want to continue to serve.
Any successful stories of grandfather clauses?
Do you start from scratch and go through applications?

Will go through the links and attachments.

It's 2008. Time to think serious about what works and what doesn't.
You can only beat your head against a wall for so long.
Hey Chief,

Red the articles, good information! I hate to say it , but this is the start and if people do not catch on before the politicans do they will be in for a rude awakening !!

STAY SAFE !! Dennis
Hey Paul,

From my perspective, Vollie departments do not have to go paid! Its about using resources to better serve the communities. I am in a vollie department that can put 2 engines on the road during the day but the crews are hit or miss at times. By priority staffing to one house you now have a full crew,break down the border and the station over the line in the next community is dispatched on the first alarm assingment as is another towns station and so on based upon closest station response and resources needed. As far as budgets, the communities form a tax base to cover costs related to overall needs. From what I have read on this subject there will always be small glitches, but the benifits far out way them. The paid Depts seam to have a bigger problem solving union contracts than regionalizing. If the Volunteers want to continue to prosper we need to look at the big picture with an open mind and drop the egos and look to what we really joined for, to be firefighters ! Anything else is for the wrong reason ! To go one step farther, the west coast is county fire protection districts with paid, combi and all volunteer stations for years. And I'am finding theres a lot more than anyone could believe, and when you ask why, because it works !! Middletown Twp. in NJ has a system that works and is all vol. The Twp. is made up of smaller towns but no borders as for fire response. Whatever stations are needed based upon the fire type, the closest stations are dispatched. They have also expanded their resources with speciality units.

STAFE SAFE !! Dennis
One of the regions that several people have mentioned is suburban Maryland. Essentially the entire state is set up in county-wide regions, with the exception of Baltimore and Annapolis cities, which also have strong mutual aid and automatic aid contracts with the local counties. All of the counties in the state have volunteers, although many are combination departments. The volunteers are still going strong in most counties, and enjoying the benefits of regionalization for training and other support functions, such as logistics.
Hey Anne,

I travel to Maryland a lot and I admir their commitment to the fire service. We struggle in NJ because a lot fo the leadership does not have that commitment required to see the need for change. It's like a politician, they only see what is needed to get by and do not put much longterm effert into future needs. I talk to a lot of young Firefighters and they are open to change and when you talk about what Maryland has done the first thing they say is why cant we do the same. When I talk to chiefs and older firefighters they laugh at me and tell me I'am ahead of the times and we are just volunteers. The time has come and I have my work cut out for me but I will die trying ! My hats off to Maryland, they saw the future while NJ is still looking!!!!

STAY SAFE !! Dennis

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