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We have spent a great deal of time on gathering fire risk data, as well as its analysis. What has been covered to this point? We have identified risk as a concern; one which is measurable. Data analysis has determined that a fire problem may well exist. The potential causes for the problem should have been identified and grouped into areas suitable for joint effort solutions.
Because of these actions, alternative solutions have been recognized and developed. What then is the next step? At this point, you must choose the best solution, then develop a mechanism for putting it into place. This is the crucial step where the tough usually get going. Someone must choose the appropriate solution to the problem at hand. And then when the choice is made, DO IT! Don't sit around thinking the problem to death.
For a decision to be properly implemented, the organization performing this analytical task must operate in a responsible, capable manner to do what is asked of it in a timely and efficient manner.
Consider the manner in which any fire department might perform a given task. Good management policy dictates that fire departments be developed along well-organized guidelines. They need to have a common thread of thought and direction from top to bottom. Unless a fire department has been structured to meet the legal, financial and demographic constraints of ITS community, every effort has a high probability of failure.
Look at one way in which to develop a municipal fire organization. Effective fire department management requires the development of a mission statement to outline the reasons for its existence.
All players on the fire protection team must be operating according to the same game plan. In this way, they can move forward in a coordinated effort to provide a proper level of fire protection to their municipality.
Goal statements must be developed for each of the program areas to be addressed. This is done to insure fire department personnel know what is going to happen in the course of daily department events. A goal statement is a broad statement of areas of intended action or involvement by the organization, which spells out a desired outcome. It tells people what should be happening.
Bear in mind that a goal is also a broad statement which provides additional information on the areas and responsibilities with which the organization is involved. While goals are not measurable, they provide guidance for the operational personnel in charge of the various divisions in the fire department.
Goals give a reading as to the direction in which an administrator might wish to take the organization. People who know their operational parameters and are free to operate will work to maximum effect.
At some point, the local fire administrator will have to become very specific as to just how the department will operate. At this point, a fire department will find the development of objectives to be an indispensable aid.
An objective defines the ongoing service levels a community desires or can afford to maintain. Objectives state the risk a community chooses to accept in terms of life, property and consequences of fire. However, unless a fire risk analysis is conducted to determine the actual requirements for fire protection, any attempt to develop objectives will just be an exercise in futility.
The best mission statements, goals and objectives evolve as a part of the risk analysis. Unless people are intimately involved in the study of their community, they will not be able to develop the necessary, tailor-made type of municipal fire protection program essential for success.
Once a course of action for solving problems has been selected, estimate what it will cost to implement this decision, then turn it into a working fire department program. A valid cost estimate which takes into consideration the whole range resources which will be needed is basic to the success of any new program.