1. #1
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    Default Fire Department Consolidation/Merger???

    Any one out there gone through a merger or consolidation of departments? Wanted to know what sort of issues came up and how your departments dealt with them. Here is what we have going on.

    Marion county Indiana (Indianapolis) has 9 townships. The very center of the county which is downtown Indy is covered by The IFD. The rest of the county is broke up into 8 separate departments. There has been an ongoing plan that brings all the departments together to be the Indianapolis FD. So far 2 departments have elected to merge and have done so at this time. It has gone fairly well, but there are always the people that want to hold onto the old ways that their former department did things.

    So now we have 6 more departments to consolidate. Of course state legislature plays a major role and has been denying the bill the past 2-3 yrs. I think it is safe to say that the consolidation will happen some way or another at some point.

    Just wanted to see if there are other departments that have done any mergers before and how everything went.

    Thanks

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    I work for a fire district that is the result of many mergers. I live in another fire district that is also the result of many mergers. It sounds like the process is different in Indiana than Oregon. Our state legislature has nothing to do with it. The citizens of the affected districts vote to merge or not.

    Recently, the district I live in "took over" fire protection for another city. The citizens of that city voted to merge. Since the population of that city was equal to, or greater than 20% of the rest of the fire district, the current citizens of the fire district also had to vote to approve the merger. Both parties approved the merger.

    The fire district was already providing fire service to the above mentioned city so there were no labor or contract issues. If these departments are represented by the IAFF, it is critical to get everyone on the same page from a contract(s) point of view.

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    Good or Bad, the public has really no say in the matter. It is all political. As for the union, we are all part of the same local, but the all the labor contracts are different.

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    our department is the combination of 4 departments, 1 more where they are finalizing the merger, and another one currently in talks
    issues that have come up;
    1 department uses 3" threaded supply (survive air SCBA 30min)
    another uses 4" storz (MSA SCBA 30min)
    another uses 5" storz (MSA SCBA 45min)
    among other issues, mostly it is a problem with equipment and occasinally people who want to keep the name and history of the old department, pm or email me if you want more info

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    Where do I begin...

    Standadrization of scba equipment.
    Standardization of apparatus.
    Standardization of communication equipment.
    Standardization of computer incident reporting systems.
    Standardization of SOP's and SOG's
    Who gets the dispatch center?
    Relocation of fire stations.

    Will ISO ratings change? If it results in gaining a few points into a new classification, it "may" save money. If the rating drops due to a lack of hydrants/personnel, etc. the people in the district will be paying higher insurance premiums.

    Who's contract are you going to use? The mutts will want the one that's cheapest and has the least benefits.

    Most of all... are the other communities on board? They have to realize that if they consolidate and merge into a regional or countywide fire district, said district becomes an autonomous organization and they will have to "pay the freight" whether they like it or not.

    Who's going to be in charge?

    Will there be a need for more personnel to compensate for the lack of personnel in the newly consolidated departments?

    Will the personnel in the newly consolidated departments be trained to the same levels?

    How does that affect mutual aid agreements?
    ‎"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

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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainGonzo View Post
    Where do I begin...

    Standadrization of scba equipment.
    Standardization of apparatus.
    Standardization of communication equipment.
    Standardization of computer incident reporting systems.
    Standardization of SOP's and SOG's
    Who gets the dispatch center?
    Relocation of fire stations.

    Will ISO ratings change? If it results in gaining a few points into a new classification, it "may" save money. If the rating drops due to a lack of hydrants/personnel, etc. the people in the district will be paying higher insurance premiums.

    Who's contract are you going to use? The mutts will want the one that's cheapest and has the least benefits.

    Most of all... are the other communities on board? They have to realize that if they consolidate and merge into a regional or countywide fire district, said district becomes an autonomous organization and they will have to "pay the freight" whether they like it or not.

    Who's going to be in charge?

    Will there be a need for more personnel to compensate for the lack of personnel in the newly consolidated departments?

    Will the personnel in the newly consolidated departments be trained to the same levels?

    How does that affect mutual aid agreements?


    SCBA's: I believe there is only 1 or 2 departments that are not using scott packs.

    Apparatus: Fairly the same, but there is one department that is going to need up dated. Of course when all is said and done, we will have apparatus from about every manufacturer out there. Over time this issue will take care of it self. Really not a big issue. Township engines are rolling toolboxes, city engines have what you need to get the job done.

    Communication equipment, dispatch and computer incident reporting system: Is all the same now. The whole county is getting ready to complete a digital upgrade. All dispatch is handled by the same system now. No issues here.

    SOP's and SOG's: This is were we have issues. At least to this point we have had problems getting everyone to follow or except the same SOP's/SOG's. The consolidation makes us all part of the IFD. Those policies are what we follow, PERIOD.

    Fire Station Closure: The townships have nothing to worry about. It is very unlikely that any township houses will be closed. As for city houses, it's a different story. There is already one house that can almost be confirmed that it will close when the township south of it merges. There are other city houses that have been brought up unofficially.

    ISO ratting: I don't believe this will change at all. If any thing some of the more rural parts of the county will probably see better ratings.

    Contracts: The current contract that the IFD has will be what is used. I'm sure things will be negotiated differently once county wide consolidation has happened. We are all part of the same local.

    Communities: The "community" really has not say. So far it has come down to politics. From the local level to the state level. There has actually been a bill brought before the state house and senate the past 3-4 years that deals with the consolidation.

    Who is in charge?: We will be the IFD no question about it. As for the chief, the mayor is doing a nationwide search. Want an application?

    Personnel and training: There will probably not bee some huge hiring right after full county wide consolidation, but numbers will have to be increased in time. Training will be conducted to try to get everyone on the same page. There will be growing pains. The city sees much more fire than the townships, but the townships train a lot.


    Mutual aid: probably wont change.

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    I'm surprised that it sounds as though the merger is going through with no other major kinks other than the equipment issue.

    The municipality I work for is currently negotiating with the county for my department to continue to provide ALS EMS response in the county (we also provide EMS transport to about one third of the county). I think merging everyone into a county wide department would provide many benefits and make the "who's paying for what" arguments moot. I don't think it will ever happen, though.

    The main reason I don't think it could happen is due to personality issues/conflicts. To many territorial people with an "it's my sandbox, I want to say who can come and play in it" attitude.

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