Why register? ...To Enhance Your Experience
+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 41
  1. #1
    makes good girls go bad BLSboy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    On the beach, Fla/OCNJ
    Posts
    2,859

    Default Time to suck it up and consolidate?

    Take a look at the front page. Station closings, layoffs, increased reliance on mutual aid. Big problems for us. What would cost saving do for us?
    One county wide dept everywhere.
    Hell, in some states, a state wide dept. One turnout gear spec, one apparatus spec, one EMS spec, so on, and so forth.
    No worrying about mutual aid (unless its REALLY big), or radio interoperability, or playing nice with other depts.
    Not to mention (sorry!) getting rid of one station FDs with their own Chief and Assistant Chief.
    I think the cost saving and ease of use will outweigh the initial growing pains, but that my opinion.
    Lets hear it from the rest of the nation.....
    AJ, MICP, FireMedic
    Member, IACOJ.
    FTM-PTB-EGH-DTRT-RFB-KTF
    This message has been made longer, in part from a grant from the You Are a Freaking Moron Foundation.


  2. #2
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Posts
    1,933

    Default

    Too many big fish in small ponds for it to happen any time soon. Egos

  3. #3
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    2,802

    Default

    you'll need money upfront to do it, money that isn't there. There are a lot of issues with consolidation that won't be easy or cheap. It may be better in the long run, but right now I don't see people being able to see past the mountain. Thats assuming it'll even be better to consolidate, which Im not sure of.

  4. #4
    makes good girls go bad BLSboy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    On the beach, Fla/OCNJ
    Posts
    2,859

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by nameless View Post
    Thats assuming it'll even be better to consolidate, which Im not sure of.
    Such as?

    Damn 10 characheters....
    AJ, MICP, FireMedic
    Member, IACOJ.
    FTM-PTB-EGH-DTRT-RFB-KTF
    This message has been made longer, in part from a grant from the You Are a Freaking Moron Foundation.

  5. #5
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Pt. Beach, NJ
    Posts
    10,656

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BLSboy View Post
    ...
    I think the cost saving and ease of use...
    Show me some actual cost savings.

    Also, explain ease of use? Are you having trouble using your apparatus/equipment?
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

  6. #6
    makes good girls go bad BLSboy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    On the beach, Fla/OCNJ
    Posts
    2,859

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    Show me some actual cost savings.

    Also, explain ease of use? Are you having trouble using your apparatus/equipment?
    Bones, of all people, I would have thought you and the other NJ guys would see. How many VFDs are trying to "keep up with the Jones's" in the next town, or even next Fire Co. over?
    They got a 75ft Quint? We'll get a 100fter. How many towns have multiple Companies with multiple pieces of apparatus?
    Take a look inside an MICU lately? You need a degree in radio engineering to communicate.
    Don't get me started on Communications. How many different systems, frequencies, and local "comm rooms" with one dispatcher per town, borough, township, or city does there need to be?

    Mama /\/\ LOVES Jersey.
    AJ, MICP, FireMedic
    Member, IACOJ.
    FTM-PTB-EGH-DTRT-RFB-KTF
    This message has been made longer, in part from a grant from the You Are a Freaking Moron Foundation.

  7. #7
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    2,802

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BLSboy View Post
    Bones, of all people, I would have thought you and the other NJ guys would see. How many VFDs are trying to "keep up with the Jones's" in the next town, or even next Fire Co. over?
    They got a 75ft Quint? We'll get a 100fter. How many towns have multiple Companies with multiple pieces of apparatus?
    Take a look inside an MICU lately? You need a degree in radio engineering to communicate.
    Don't get me started on Communications. How many different systems, frequencies, and local "comm rooms" with one dispatcher per town, borough, township, or city does there need to be?

    Mama /\/\ LOVES Jersey.
    That won't be solved by consolidation. Now instead of 2 companies in the same town competing, it'll be county vs. county. Changing to one single wasteful apparatus spec instead of every little dept coming up with their own won't save much money. Radio systems could be combined without going into a single department, many places have county wide PSAPs and dispatching.

    The whole system of fire districts should be abolished, fire protection should be the duty of the municipality.

  8. #8
    Back In Black ChiefKN's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    The Nice Part of New Jersey
    Posts
    6,981

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BLSboy View Post
    Bones, of all people, I would have thought you and the other NJ guys would see. How many VFDs are trying to "keep up with the Jones's" in the next town, or even next Fire Co. over?
    They got a 75ft Quint? We'll get a 100fter. How many towns have multiple Companies with multiple pieces of apparatus?
    Take a look inside an MICU lately? You need a degree in radio engineering to communicate.
    Don't get me started on Communications. How many different systems, frequencies, and local "comm rooms" with one dispatcher per town, borough, township, or city does there need to be?

    Mama /\/\ LOVES Jersey.
    I agree. I think there could be significant savings.. but why stop there?

    Why does every square mile of Bergen County have it's own mayor and council? Why do we have hundreds of school districts? The FD is the least bang for your consolidation buck you'll get (where the majority is volunteer).

    This is how consolidation should go... in order:

    School Districts
    "Boroughs" should be rolled up into Townships or even County Governments
    Police should be County Run
    Public Works/Sanitation should be county run
    BLS should be privately provided
    ALS should be County Run (and for god's sake medevacs shouldn't be NJSP)
    FD should be consolidated
    Last edited by ChiefKN; 08-12-2010 at 11:40 PM.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

    "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

  9. #9
    Back In Black ChiefKN's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    The Nice Part of New Jersey
    Posts
    6,981

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by nameless View Post
    The whole system of fire districts should be abolished, fire protection should be the duty of the municipality.
    Fire Tax districts should be eliminated. Talk about a waste of tax money.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

    "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

  10. #10
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Posts
    20

    Default

    To answer and make it easy. Who is more resistant to change than anyone?

    =fire service. Like it was mentioned before Egos will not allow it even though it would be way more cost effective.
    All the points of bulk purchases made will obviously save money. Can you honestly tell me if you order 1 engine instead of 10 you would pay the same per engine? Same goes for all other equipment purchased as well as admin staff in small towns.
    Look at the rest of the world in the private sector where the big fish just eat up the little fish as bigger is more cost effective in most cases and little fish have tough times surviving.

  11. #11
    Forum Member DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Location
    Somewhere between genius and insanity!
    Posts
    13,577

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by oilboy2 View Post
    To answer and make it easy. Who is more resistant to change than anyone?

    =fire service. Like it was mentioned before Egos will not allow it even though it would be way more cost effective.
    All the points of bulk purchases made will obviously save money. Can you honestly tell me if you order 1 engine instead of 10 you would pay the same per engine? Same goes for all other equipment purchased as well as admin staff in small towns.
    Look at the rest of the world in the private sector where the big fish just eat up the little fish as bigger is more cost effective in most cases and little fish have tough times surviving.
    I love it when the "look at the private sector argument" comes up.

    How many big $$$$ corporations have come to Uncle Sam for bailouts?
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

  12. #12
    Back In Black ChiefKN's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    The Nice Part of New Jersey
    Posts
    6,981

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by oilboy2 View Post
    To answer and make it easy. Who is more resistant to change than anyone?

    =fire service. Like it was mentioned before Egos will not allow it even though it would be way more cost effective.
    All the points of bulk purchases made will obviously save money. Can you honestly tell me if you order 1 engine instead of 10 you would pay the same per engine? Same goes for all other equipment purchased as well as admin staff in small towns.
    Look at the rest of the world in the private sector where the big fish just eat up the little fish as bigger is more cost effective in most cases and little fish have tough times surviving.
    Fire engines pale in comparison to labor costs.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

    "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

  13. #13
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Northeast Coast
    Posts
    3,807

    Default

    Consolidation for financial reasons rarely pans out. Look at the thousands of school districts nationwide. Consolidation to provide streamlined services at a reasonable cost is a better model. Sometimes there is money to be saved, other times (often), not so much. Areas of predominantly career staffed departments probably have more savings to find. The geography and demographics set the tone for what is feasible and what isn't.

    People hear regionalization, consolidation and duplication of services and get all kinds of ideas about savings without truly looking at the real costs. It can be done successfully with a quality assessment of the needs and buy in from the majority of the players, but without either of those, failure is imminent.

  14. #14
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Northeast Coast
    Posts
    3,807

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by oilboy2 View Post
    To answer and make it easy. Who is more resistant to change than anyone?

    =fire service. Like it was mentioned before Egos will not allow it even though it would be way more cost effective.
    All the points of bulk purchases made will obviously save money. Can you honestly tell me if you order 1 engine instead of 10 you would pay the same per engine? Same goes for all other equipment purchased as well as admin staff in small towns.
    Look at the rest of the world in the private sector where the big fish just eat up the little fish as bigger is more cost effective in most cases and little fish have tough times surviving.
    So how do you save money absorbing a bunch of $20K a year VFD's? It's not realistic in many parts of this country to compare the compliance with standards between VFD's and career FD's. The cost of compliance is high and ignoring it is far less an option when your a career fire chief, not the "elected beer buddy". I'm sure that in Canada there is more government oversight into FD business than here, making this hopefully less of a problem?

  15. #15
    MembersZone Subscriber tree68's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Jefferson County, NY USA
    Posts
    2,269

    Default

    As noted in a similar thread over on the volunteer forum (Department consolidation trends.), there are places where consolidation seems lika a no-brainer. Four fully equipped, stand-alone fire departments in less than 10 square miles? One of which is completely overlapped, response-wise) by the other three? Look at the links for Whitestown, NY.

    Or a fire department that was formed in hand-cart days whose station is just a mile or two from another fire department/station.

    Those examples notwithstanding, consolidation may or may not mean closing stations. But in todays world of limited volunteer resources, it may mean that instead of two engines, a tanker, a rescue/squad, and maybe even a truck, a station may be down to just a couple of apparatus which respond as part of a "team". And, since they don't have to worry about getting six rigs on the road, they can fully staff just one or two.

    Every case is different, and each must be taken on its own merits. I will opine, though, that consolidation for the sake of consolidation rarely works out as planned.
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

    Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

  16. #16
    Forum Member PaladinKnight's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    2,413

    Default

    Excuse me if I step on a few toes.

    I will state the same thing I have told many firefighters over the years. If I hurt your feelings or tick you off with something I say in the future when I am trying to motivate you, then hear this now, because you will never hear it after the fact.... sorry, nothing personal.

    I'm not on board with this consolidation idea. I'm also not a "private entities can do it better" believer on all things.

    It is true that the free enterprise system can produce businesses that can operate more efficiently than government in many things. But municipal firefighting is not always one of them. EMS is quite possibly a toss up; I have seen good and bad.

    These types of services are usually dependant upon taxes or subsidies of one form or another. By the time you include benefits, vacations, overtime, contracts and FSLA, the properly operated municipality or county fire department will win hands down, most times. Unfortunately there are many that are not properly operated and make quite a lot of news.



    BUT>>>

    In the matter of volunteer (corporate or quasi-government) departments, there is no cost savings when you begin to consolidate and convert into county or multi-municipal departments. The underlying belief is by eliminating redundancy, it will lead to better service at a lower cost.

    I have been involved in a few of these first hand both as a Chief and a Technical Advisor, and here is usually where it leads.

    The JHA must hire an administrator. That usually washes with the closure of one or two districts or departments. The adminstrator requires an assistant or clerk. There goes another district. Then due to the need to have people in the right places to check the apparatus and stations that now are under single control, the administrator needs several additional people to do the field work. The department may still be volunteer with a paid admin staff, but you have effectively cut the heart out of the communities that had local volunteers that provided a service to the best of their ability because they believe in what they do, and they live there.

    It is a fact... when you have a vested interest in something, you work harder at making it succeed. This is true when defending your country, or fighting a fire.

    I will state that in many areas, the thinking must change or they will become extinct. Many need to change the way WE do business. WE need to quit thinking that we are better than the other departments and work harder to get along. WE need to concentrate on pooling resources and standardizing operations, equipment and training. WE need to quit believing we are alone in the woods and start thinking about who has the closest station right now that WE can depend on. WE must toss out the pride and not hesitate to call another station for assistance. Hell WE do it in our city everyday. I don't have enough people or equipment in one station to mount a full assualt or solve every issue that arises. WE send what WE need from 2, 3 or 6 stations if WE must. WE need to think of the neighbors station as OUR second or third due station. If it is my party, I get to lead the parade. If it is THEIR party, I provide what is requested and do as instructed. ICS guys.... it applies to the biggest of us, and the smallest. We don't need consoladation to accomplish this. We just need cooperation. We must get over ourselves and not take US so seriously. I don't care if I can't stand the Chief next door, he puts his TOG on the very same way I do. Right now he might be MY best friend.

    There is nothing more efficient than a full volunteer force that provides the little things that the big guys can't.

    When you begin to do the math, the cost savings are amazing. There are still places in this country that simply cannot pay for full time firefighters and must depend on the volunteers. Government is not good at providing this.

    One can argue that you get what you pay for. You sure do... but recently I have seen more metros in trouble, laying off full time people and cutting services, than volunteer departments laying off volunteers and reducing services. Matter of fact, the volunteers usually do a better job of tightening their belts and stretching their funds. They may be short staffed most of the time, but they don't whine about it like the metros do. Safety is safety, we all agree. But you just cannot solve every damn issue by getting government involved.

    We are simply talking about two distinct sets of dynamics. The small volunteer departments may not have the newest, prettiest, and badest apparatus available. But their people can usually use bailing wire and duct tape in ways that many of us wouldn't think of. Many build their own trucks and make things operate that we might not want to get caught dead in.

    Response times may not be great, saves versus losses might make you think there was no one there. But I have seen things that more than offset those losses; compassion, determination, 'never accept defeat' attitudes with people that just never quit, and never let their neighbors down. You cannot place a value on that.

    Fire is a destructive force. We talk about the rural guys that can't save a slab.... well we also hear about the metros that can't save everything. Even those of us on very good progressive departments have our bad days. We lose stuff everyday, but our losses may be worth millions where the rural areas lose a couple hundred thousand each year. Ok, we have more population per square mile. We protect more STUFF. Big deal. Do we throw the rest of it away because it does not concern us?

    Are there a few bad apples out there. Sure, but you can say that about all aspects of the fire service. Is there waste and misguided purchases. Yep, but again it applies across the board, even despite the checks and balances. I know this first hand since I'm one of those guys that moves from place to place cleaning up the mess in medium sized fulltime departments. I have no desire to move to a metro... been there and still have the t-shirt. I spend a lot of my off-time providing help to the smaller departments that have found themselves in a mess, or others that just want to do a better job. That isn't about a paycheck to me... it is about doing what I believe to be the correct thing.

    I have seen many small volunteer departments that are quite impressive. It would be a shame to close them when many of them have better PPC ratings that their city cousins. We are not talking about 1, 2 and 3s.... but there are lot of 4, 5 and 6s. They took care of the homeowners, and that may be all they need to. So everything is relative. They don't have multi-story buildings. They don't have to deal with heavy industry or airports. But their single family dwelling fire is pretty much the same. They know how to solve logistical issues that the metros don't worry about... water. They know where every stream, spring and pond is. They move massive amounts of water with 40 and 50 year old trucks. I have never seen a government outfit duplicate this effort.

    I started in a small town in the volunteer department. I was proud of what I did. I became frustrated everytime our meagar department couldn't save a house, or a life. I moved to what I thought were greener pastures. It was the same. The paycheck sure made me believe that I was special. I thought that I had finally become a real firefighter. I was wrong about that. That paycheck didn't really have any effect on how I thought, how I trained, or how I did the job. It just paid the bills and raised 5 kids.

    I began to two-hat, spending a lot of time with the volunteer department where we moved. I was permitted to move my family outside of the zoo. My kids attended smaller schools where they were not treated like a number, and still treated like a person. That was more important to me than if they had access to 55 different language and art classes. All of them attended college and 4 are in the fire service today, all full-time ranked positions. It runs in our family. And they have not forsaken their roots. My son (FT Deputy Chief) works with me from 1000 miles out when we team up to help departments solve problems. One of my daughters two-hats: FT Captain with a Metro, and volunteers in the community she lives in. Another daughter (FT LT) teaches FFI and Technical Rescue, often helping volunteers secure books, even if she buys them herself. They understand that if you empower people, it is like planting a tree. It branches out and grows.

    My wife and I work in different States doing similiar jobs. She recently made a move to a new department as I did. I fix things that are broke, she tries to prevent the thing from getting broken. She has made her reputation in her own right and many times we competed for the same job. She made the decision to join the club when I was away on an exchange program. When I returned, she had taken my position.

    Consolidation... no, I can't support it. It might work on some things, but not here. Not this. I have seen the ugly side of where it leads. I will not debate or disagree that there have not been success stories. There certainly have been some. Most of those only succeeded where the community rapidly outgrew the local capability of the volunteers. Massive amounts of money had to be poured in... but during a building boom, when revenue is growing faster than they can bank it... they do stupid things.

    Unfortunately, I helped to kill off several volunteer stations. It was my job at the time, but it is also my worst guilt. Should I describe the distrust and pain in the eyes of many of those fine people as I did my job and brought their purpose to an end? Was the county safer. I can't say... they are very broke today. It is one thing to do what you think is right at the time, it is quite another realizing you should have walked away from that one. In a couple of years, the fire service was destroyed twice in that county. Now the discussion is geared to we tried to grow too fast. We need our volunteers back. Would you go back? I know this... if they are called, they will step up.

    I might be a paid guy, but my heart is very much a volunteer. It is in my blood and heritage. I cannot properly state in words the amount of respect I have for those of you that don't do this for the paycheck. You do it because someone must, and it is the right thing to do. Without you, there would be no one, or government doing it poorly.

    Carry on....
    HAVE PLAN.............WILL TRAVEL

  17. #17
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Pt. Beach, NJ
    Posts
    10,656

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BLSboy View Post
    Bones, of all people, I would have thought you and the other NJ guys would see. How many VFDs are trying to "keep up with the Jones's" in the next town, or even next Fire Co. over?
    They got a 75ft Quint? We'll get a 100fter. How many towns have multiple Companies with multiple pieces of apparatus?
    Take a look inside an MICU lately? You need a degree in radio engineering to communicate.
    Don't get me started on Communications. How many different systems, frequencies, and local "comm rooms" with one dispatcher per town, borough, township, or city does there need to be?

    Mama /\/\ LOVES Jersey.
    I guess that is something more prevalent in the areas of NJ that you were in...it's not a common thing around here. We buy what serves the needs of our area. In my small town, we have an aerial and 3 engines. These are housed in 2 stations. Why? Neither station is big enough. Both stations are wholly owned by the companies themselves, not the Town. What sense in building 1 new station that would house the 4 apparatus? Do we need those 4? Yup.

    Dispatchers. We have 1 that handles Fire, EMS, and Police. Our County dispatch (that we don't use) is a mess. Most agencies that are on it are trying to get off it. Ya, we could save money by going to the County system...but why risk the lower service?


    Funny thing is...those of us that live in these little towns are never the ones looking to consolidate. We like our own little towns. We work well with our neighbors. If we wanted to be a big city or township, we would choose to move there. Don't tell us how we should be living...we chose to live where we did.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

  18. #18
    Forum Member PaladinKnight's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    2,413

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42
    I guess that is something more prevalent in the areas of NJ that you were in...it's not a common thing around here. We buy what serves the needs of our area. In my small town, we have an aerial and 3 engines. These are housed in 2 stations. Why? Neither station is big enough. Both stations are wholly owned by the companies themselves, not the Town. What sense in building 1 new station that would house the 4 apparatus? Do we need those 4? Yup.

    Dispatchers. We have 1 that handles Fire, EMS, and Police. Our County dispatch (that we don't use) is a mess. Most agencies that are on it are trying to get off it. Ya, we could save money by going to the County system...but why risk the lower service?


    Funny thing is...those of us that live in these little towns are never the ones looking to consolidate. We like our own little towns. We work well with our neighbors. If we wanted to be a big city or township, we would choose to move there. Don't tell us how we should be living...we chose to live where we did.
    Bravo...

    I just have to play this part again...


    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42
    Funny thing is...those of us that live in these little towns are never the ones looking to consolidate. We like our own little towns. We work well with our neighbors. If we wanted to be a big city or township, we would choose to move there. Don't tell us how we should be living...we chose to live where we did.
    My guess is the town management does not want to be in the fire business either.
    HAVE PLAN.............WILL TRAVEL

  19. #19
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Bossier Parrish, Louisiana
    Posts
    10,542

    Default

    Knight ...

    Bravo!

    The point you made about the requirement for full-time administration as you merge departments is a point often lost on those who yell for consolidation.
    The savings that these positions eat up is significant, and in many cases, leads to a further "need" to begin hiring down the chain.

    A volunteer department is often a very efficiant operation which, as you pointed out, will solve problems at a much lower cost than a career department.

    You said everything else that i wanted to say, but in a much smoother form.

  20. #20
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Posts
    1,933

    Default

    Correct me if I am wrong - but La didnt you say your fd took over an area that was too small to function efficently ?

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts