Strategic Planning: How Much Fire Department Do We Need?

  Over the past several years, I have seen a certain diminution in the level of fire protection that exists in a number of areas. I have seen this in communities of every size. I have seen this in career, and combination, as well as volunteer...

·        An aircraft crash
·        A transportation/haz-mat highway incident
·        A large-scale, multiple-casualty emergency medical response on the highways of your township.
Once this is completed, you must assess exactly what your fire department can do with regard to these potential incidents, as well the Target Hazard threats in you area. Target Hazard have been defined as being those occupancies that pose the undue risk of life loss, personal injury, or property damage. Hospitals, nursing homes, hotels, lumberyards, schools, and garden apartment complexes are some of the more common examples of Target Hazard occupancies. A fire department will face large-scale human or property challenges in these sorts of properties.
Just what can you fire department do? Do you have enough people? Are there a sufficient number of apparatus to provide the necessary tools and water? Do sufficient people respond on a regular basis? Are your stations properly positioned to protect your community? Each of these questions must be explored and answered in a satisfactory manner.
If you are short of people, what do you do? How does one get more volunteers? How might you increase your career staff? Only you can answer these questions for your community. The same holds true for every other part of this equation:
People + Apparatus + Water + Tools + Labor = Effective fire protection.
You must not put off until tomorrow what should be done today. The answers to these questions are neither cheap nor easy to solve. Ignore them at your own peril.