By regionalizing their activities, several Michigan fire departments aim to get a bigger bang for their buck – and possibly springboard toward other collaborative programs.
The activities this week, spearheaded by Lansing, Mich., included a joint open house between two departments and a joint Domino’s pizza partnership between five departments, one of the largest such collaborations.
“We’ve always done it on our own, and this is the first time we’re doing it as a joint venture,” said Lansing Fire Department PIO Steve Babcock.
Lansing is a career department with six stations and providing all specialties from EMS to heavy rescue, hazmat, technical rescue, confined space rescue, high angle rescue and more.
Lansing Fire Marshal Brad Drury explained that the idea to collaborate was born as the result of a state push, starting last year, to get public agencies doing more cooperative efforts.
“We’ve all been asked to see what we can do as far as sharing resources and services to save a little here and there,” Drury said.
He said they’ve already been sharing a fire chief with East Lansing and already have an area training consortium They’re also looking at sharing fire investigation services. So when it came to planning fire prevention education, they went the same way.
Lansing and did a joint open house with bordering Lansing Township at Station 8 near a park, and teamed up to raise money for door prizes and other costs.
“This year the open house just made sense – it’s marketing essentially,” Drury said. The event, held Saturday, had a slogan: Two departments, one mission – saving lives.
“Departments have been really receptive and realize where we’re at financially,” Drury said. “Why not split costs, have a bigger and better open house, and a broader message?”
The open house included a vehicle demonstration, a smoke trailer borrowed from Delta Township, and burn cells showing the contrast of fires with and without residential fire sprinklers.
Drury said the event also had great participation from private vendors – which may be easier to achieve with a collaborative event designed to reach more people.
This Wednesday, six fire departments are coming together to do the Domino’s promotion, from Lansing, Delta, Dewitt, Delhi, East Lansing and Lansing Township. The group is using the updated slogan: Six departments, one mission – saving lives.
The event involves fire departments going out on a limited number of Domino's pizza deliveries. If the firefighters find working smoke detectors at the homes, those people get their pizza for free. If they find detectors in need of battery replacement, they can provide that service.
“We’re doing it all at the same time,” Drury said. “So we’ll get more publicity out of it and reach more people than if we do it in once city.”
Drury said the departments hope the collaborative effort may lead to further joint programs and help elicit corporate donations for goals such as a regional smoke detector program.