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  1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber UTFFEMT's Avatar
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    Post Possible Regional Fire Agencies considered

    Utah County cities may decide regional fire issue
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    Several Utah County municipalities are poised to form a regional firefighting agency modeled on ones in Davis and Salt Lake counties.

    The Daily Herald of Provo reports the Lehi City Council is set to vote March 8 whether the largest city in north Utah County will opt in.

    Lone Peak Fire board members approved proposed bylaws Feb. 24, with plans to go before district members Highland, Alpine and Cedar Hills.

    Lone Peak Fire Chief Brad Freeman says Eagle Mountain, Saratoga Springs, Lehi and Lone Peak support the idea.

    Proponents of a North Utah County Metro Fire Agency say the effort wouldn't cost cities more, and would share resources and manpower.

    Pleasant Grove and American Fork haven't committed, and officials say Provo and Orem have also been approached about the idea.
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  2. #2
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    Cool Regionalized Fire Services

    Good to see that this is taking-off in other areas of the Country. For California, especially So. Cal. Regionalized Fire Service has proven very beneficial.

    The pros: ability to upgrade assignments deeper (we go a minimum of 5 Alarms for the CAD), ability to get more equipment on the road quicker (less comms between Dispatch Centers), ability to assign more equipment to each type of call, shared management (this can be very tricky since some may bring their own agendas to the table), cost sharing over a larger tax base, better regionalized resources and terminology (a Squad/Rescue whatever you call a piece of equipment is the same) and standardized training for the region.

    The cons: there seems to be a complaint of loss of identity with the community (however as I see it, you can still work in the community) and management that bring their "own agendas" that are not the best for the region as a whole. I'm not bashing anybody's management here, more posting a warning about what I have seen from consolidations locally.

    Hopefully the folks can embrace this change and make it a positive thing for the customers of the region.
    "Be LOUD, Be PROUD..... It just might save your can someday when goin' through an intersection!!!!!"

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  3. #3
    Forum Member J.Beck's Avatar
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    I work for one of the effected agencies and I see very little down side to this proposal. Ultimately, it helps us meet our mission of providing the best possible service to the citizens we serve.

    Instead of building up walls in our own agencies, we should be working together to provide better emergency services.

    This is a BIG first step.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.Beck View Post
    I work for one of the effected agencies and I see very little down side to this proposal. Ultimately, it helps us meet our mission of providing the best possible service to the citizens we serve.

    Instead of building up walls in our own agencies, we should be working together to provide better emergency services.

    This is a BIG first step.
    Are the departments involved career, volunteer or combo?

    The other thing is who says that they need to consolidate to be more efficient?

    They can still form multi-agency teams such as haz-mat or technical rescue and each department can contribute resources. They can develop more coordinated auto mutual aid responses to increase fireground manpower. They can shar folks with specialized knowledge such as investigators, inspectors and public educators. They can share training resources by running combined or joint training classes swapping instructors with specialized knowledge.

    Currently my fulltime (combo) department department is in the process of developing a multi-agency haz-mat and technical rescue/water rescue team. As the only certified public educator on any of the 3 departments, I have assumed responsibility for much of the pubed in the other 2 districts. Joint training exercises are quite common.

    My point is that consolidation in some situations can save money, but that is not the only answer to increasing the efficiency of neighboring departments. IMO often that efficiency can be increased by simply making a commitment to work together and form multi-aganecy teams with a common purpose.
    Train to fight the fires you fight.

  5. #5
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    Cool Consolidation...

    Are the departments involved career, volunteer or combo?

    The other thing is who says that they need to consolidate to be more efficient?

    They can still form multi-agency teams such as haz-mat or technical rescue and each department can contribute resources. They can develop more coordinated auto mutual aid responses to increase fireground manpower. They can shar folks with specialized knowledge such as investigators, inspectors and public educators. They can share training resources by running combined or joint training classes swapping instructors with specialized knowledge.

    Currently my fulltime (combo) department department is in the process of developing a multi-agency haz-mat and technical rescue/water rescue team. As the only certified public educator on any of the 3 departments, I have assumed responsibility for much of the pubed in the other 2 districts. Joint training exercises are quite common.

    My point is that consolidation in some situations can save money, but that is not the only answer to increasing the efficiency of neighboring departments. IMO often that efficiency can be increased by simply making a commitment to work together and form multi-aganecy teams with a common purpose.
    Usually I don't disagree with too many here, but from an Overhead standpoint consolidation does save money. In those Vollie Departments that the only paid person is the Fire Chief, by having (1) Fire Chief that covers multiple cities as their Chief each FD does not have to pay 100% of the Chiefs pay. I think of it this way: If (3) FDs share borders and all FDs have a paid Chief, by consolidating there is a savings because each FD is paying a portion of the pay for that (1) Chief. Of course this is just (1) way that I have professionally and personally seen money saved.

    Regarding your 1st question LaFireEducator, as I see it, when the FDs that are career or combo consolidate there are often even larger savings. The pay, retirement (usually paid until the personnel passes-away), benefits (normally also paid for the rest of their life) and vehicle use may also be an area where savings are made.

    For FDs that are 100% Vollie consolidating like you have mentioned does save in the areas that you mentioned.

    The other thing is who says that they need to consolidate to be more efficient?
    Again, as I mentioned earlier if there are different dispatches used there is one example of how consolidation can or will be more efficient. When additional Units are needed then there are no phone calls to be made, it's as simple as the Dispatcher sending the needed Units saving up to 4-6 minutes. Again this is all based on consolidations that I have professionally and personally seen or been involved in.

    Locally, I know of a few FDs that don't really care for the County FD here due to politics, previous "run-ins" with personnel and other issues so there is a huge "this is my domain/kingdom, stay out of here unless I call for you" type of thinking. Utah may not have this problem, but realize it is out there.

    J.Beck, do you still want that RIC information? It's complete and I have some additional ideas that we added. Lemme know if you're interested.....
    "Be LOUD, Be PROUD..... It just might save your can someday when goin' through an intersection!!!!!"

    Life on the Truck (Quint) is good.....

    Eat til you're sleepy..... Sleep til you're hungry..... And repeat.....

  6. #6
    Forum Member J.Beck's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=LaFireEducator;1254117Ar e the departments involved career, volunteer or combo?[/QUOTE]


    90% Career. American Fork being the only department that still relies on volunteer response.

    North Utah County has a population base of around 210K people.
    Last edited by J.Beck; 03-09-2011 at 12:22 AM.
    Cognition before Ignition

  7. #7
    Forum Member J.Beck's Avatar
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    The proposed district is un-traditional. The proposal calls for preserving the autonomy of each city's fire department while mutually benefitting one another.

    The way I see it the member departments benefit from the following:

    • Benefitting from the expertise of neighboring departments, but at the same time, maintaining local control
    • An automatic aid relationship with member agencies. For example, if there was a structure fire or other incident, all member agencies would automatically backfill our department, when necessary
    • Resources would be more readily available on an “as needed” basis
    • Purchasing power would be increased, especially as it relates to medical supplies, turnout gear, SCBAs, fire apparatus, etc.
    • Providing specialized teams without additional training costs
    • Eliminating the need to have equipment to meet the needs of every situation in every department
    • Reducing response times, especially when experiencing multiple calls
    • Reducing capital equipment needs and costs
    • Reducing the amount of reserve equipment required in the department
    • Utilizing expertise from other municipalities to create specialized teams
    • Opportunities to call upon additional trained personnel and expertise, especially during long, challenging incidents
    • Formalizing existing standard operating procedures with member agencies
    Cognition before Ignition

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.Beck View Post
    The proposed district is un-traditional. The proposal calls for preserving the autonomy of each city's fire department while mutually benefitting one another.

    The way I see it the member departments benefit from the following:

    • Benefitting from the expertise of neighboring departments, but at the same time, maintaining local control
    • An automatic aid relationship with member agencies. For example, if there was a structure fire or other incident, all member agencies would automatically backfill our department, when necessary
    • Resources would be more readily available on an “as needed” basis
    • Purchasing power would be increased, especially as it relates to medical supplies, turnout gear, SCBAs, fire apparatus, etc.
    • Providing specialized teams without additional training costs
    • Eliminating the need to have equipment to meet the needs of every situation in every department
    • Reducing response times, especially when experiencing multiple calls
    • Reducing capital equipment needs and costs
    • Reducing the amount of reserve equipment required in the department
    • Utilizing expertise from other municipalities to create specialized teams
    • Opportunities to call upon additional trained personnel and expertise, especially during long, challenging incidents
    • Formalizing existing standard operating procedures with member agencies
    I certainly agree with most of your points regarding some of the savings regarding consolidation.

    There are negatives however when you talk about enlarging any organization that do need to be considered including merging of differing pay and benefit packages for paid staff, changes is rank and responsibility if you are truly to eliminate duplication (example one person in charge of training instead of the current 1 per department) and merging operational policies and SOPs.

    I still feel that much of what you listed as areas that could be accomplished through consolidation could be accomplished through increased inter-departmental cooperation including joint specialized response teams, combined specialized services such as pubed and investigation, joint dispatch, joint admin such as payroll, joint capital planning and purchasing and even joint purchasing.

    Bigger, while in some cases can have it's advantages, is not always better.
    Train to fight the fires you fight.

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