1. #1

    Join Date
    May 2007

    Default Combining Paid Depts

    I work for a paid career dept. There is a lot of talk in this area about regionalizing or combining about 5 paid career departments. We all have mutual aid agreements with each other, each city has an on duty strength of about 6 FF per station. 3 cities have 2 stations, and 1 has 3. We all run transport EMS, and have average run totals from 3500/year to 1800/year. All cities are pretty much bedroom communities.
    Now that you have some background, does anyone know of previous attempt to combine or regionalize paid career departments of similar size anywhre in the country? Any background would help.
    If this is not in the correct forum please move.
    Thanks in Advance

  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber

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    Feb 2005


    here in indiana we 2 combination departments combine into a fire territory about 6 months ago.

  3. #3
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    DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    Aug 2000
    Somewhere between genius and insanity!


    The concept of regionalization can work... but only if the municipalities involved want to do it right. Most politicians look at it this way... combine departments, have 1 Chief, close stations and save money.

    The reality...
    1. Who's contract are you going to adopt? 5 departments, 5 different wage scales, rank structures and benefits packages. Who will be Chief? Not every fire chief will be willing to giver up his/her fifedom.

    2. Communications: all the FD's have to have the same frequency. While you probably share one common fireground mutual aid frequency, it won't work for the average day to day operations. All of the base stations, truck and portables will have to be upgraded.

    3. Computer software/hardware: all of the FD's must have the same program in order to enter information into the NFIRS databases to refelct accurate run reports for the new fire district.

    4. Turnout gear: all will eventually need to be reaplced with one standardized set of gear.

    5: Apparatus must be standardized, as in hose loads, equipment placement, etc.

    6: Infrastructure: location of stations plays a big role. With a merger, you may have areas with "overlap" between stations, and some areas may not be adequately covered at all.

    Last but not least.. the EMS factor. Do all 5 communities have paramedic level EMS? If one otrr tweo of them do, then all the communities would have to be upgraded. This could mean hiring additional personnel, but knowing the political mindset... they will look for the cheapest way put, which means medics in fly cars running all over creation.

    Can it be done? Only if the communities are willing to put the fire service in charge of figureing things out and the communities are willing to spend the money to do things right.
    ‎"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

  4. #4
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    Chiefy's Avatar
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    Mar 2007

    Angry Sharing only works in day care..........

    All good points. You also need to think about your financial support. Are your budgets supported by General funds, or tax based, maybe even supplemented by fund drives. I know very few who would like the bulk of their contributions to the local FD to be used by the next community over. What if a major lawsuit is brought upon one community department. Who pays? Major repair or vehicle replacement costs. SOGs? Response times, yours are great, theirs, not so much. Insurance ratings. Go up.........or down? The list goes on and on. Regionalization or sharing of services is just about as realistic as true public safety. Looks great.....ON PAPER!

  5. #5
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    MattyS's Avatar
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    Jan 2006
    home of the 12th man


    Quote Originally Posted by hockeymedic View Post
    does anyone know of previous attempt to combine or regionalize paid career departments of similar size anywhre in the country?
    Thanks in Advance
    Couldn't tell you about similar size, but the largest regional fire authority in the PNW is arguably Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue. http://www.tvfr.com/

    Started with small departments, now provide service to 418,000 in approx 210 sq miles and 22 stations. Alittle bigger than what youre looking for, but again they started with the merging of several small paid/combo/vollie depts and kept snowballing. http://www.tvfr.com/about/pdfs/history.pdf
    The good thing about this job is that we have done so much, with so little, for so long that we can do everything with nothing...... which is what is wrong with this job.
    KTF | DTRT

  6. #6
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    Apr 2004
    Bossier Parrish, Louisiana


    I'm fuzzy about the details, but wasn't there a merger in Hudson County NJ recently, that was, if I'm not mistaken, was like 4 or 5 departments?

    That may be a good one for you to investigate as it sounds like the same size.

  7. #7
    the 4-1-4
    Jasper 45's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    ...A great place, on a Great Lake


    Take a look at the North Shore Fire Department, in Wisconsin. They are a department that comprises about seven communities, with five different IAFF locals that all successfully merged under one local.
    Those communities all combined their departments in 1995. If your local were to contact theirs, I now they would be willing to share information regarding contracts, equipment and engine houses. From what I understand it was pretty difficult for the first few years.
    Prior to the merger there, each city involved had one station each, with about 4 or 5 members in each station, and they all had automatic mutual aid.


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