Our department is going through a change in upper management and we have been asked to come up with suggestions and ideas for some strategic planning concepts. I am reaching out to try and develop relative list of ideas to include. We are a dual service (FIRE/EMS) all career department with approximately 175 suppression members. Could you send me some ideas that any of your departments have implimented, implimenting, or discontinued that has worked in a positive way for your department and community. One of the areas that I feel our department is really lacking in on the non-emergency side is marketing our department and PR programs.
Please send any information or policies to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Longview Fire Department Spec Ops
"The smart person prepares for today and plans for tomorrow. Everyday you walk into a firehouse you have a responsibility to be prepared to go to a fire. Everything else is secondary. Preparing for tomorrow is all about taking the steps to ensure your career will continue to grow and you as a firefighter will continue to get better. Ever hear the say “There is a difference between twenty years of experience and one year of experience twenty times over”
One of the programs we had years ago that had a positive impact on department\community relation was home inspections. We had a form that we would fill out after inspecting the resident's home. This was a voluntary inspection and we did not keep any information about the person(s) or house. We would go door to door and ask if the resident would like us to conduct a Home Inspection, to identify hazards within the home.
Originally Posted by tdaniel
When we did these inspection our city had a population of about 200K, with 18 stations.
Another program we have is installing smoke detectors in homes. Our Prevention Division would provide us with smoke detectors to install in select homes. Sometimes when we requested them, other times when they found a person in need. We had several businesses in our city that would donate the smoke detector for our department to distribute. Example would be one of you companies notice an elderly person who did not have a smoke detector or it was not working would request a detector and them contact the person to schedule a time for that company to install the detector. We also routinely replace detector batteries. By having the company replace\install the detector\battery it build a trust between the citizens and the company in their district.
May not seem like a big thing but it has big time, positive, effects. I know these are basic concepts, but sometimes they are over looked. I hope this helps.
The very definition if strategic planning is looking at the big picture now, determining what you want the big picture to be at some point in the future, figuring out how to best get there, and how to measure when you've met your goal.
Acklan's example would be part of an 'improve community relations' bullet point.
There are outfits that speciallize in helping organizations create strategic plans.
You're being asked to brainstorm - so think freely and encourage others to do the same. AED's in every apparatus? Foam in all new pumpers? Replace engines with quints (a la St Louis)? Straight tips instead of fog (or vice versa)?, New t-shirts? Smoke detectors? Fire prevention training for senior citizens? The sky is the limit.
Hopefully, once all these ideas (which will range from fantastic to fairy tales) are gathered and sorted, a representative group will gather to look through them, evaluate them, and set to work figuring out how to implement those deemed worthy of trying. The answers may be funding, or just a change in practices.
Once you've got your list together, figure out who's responsible for what and set to it. Don't forget to get back together periodically to review progress and re-evaluate goals.
One thing a town close to me did was start a "citizen academy" where members of the public are invited to do the same training, both fire and ems, and ride with the department to see what it is like. It really opened their eyes as to what it requires and the behind the scenes things that happen. A great PR thing.
Another is to have the department become proactive in the community such as becoming involved in community events and being out in the public. This always helps too when it comes to budget time for community support. Do the fund raisers for charity, do the ice cream socials and the town celebrations. The smoke detector program is great as well. (mentioned above.)