After surveying the community, you’re reassured that the community will support your organization, but their expectations involve planning and response to all types of emergencies, ranging from cutting their fingers to protecting them from a hazardous materials release to saving them from any type of rescue scenario.
After reviewing the community survey, the city manager explained that despite the overwhelming community support, you must hold to your budget and make contingencies for a slight reduction. You reach a quandary after these experiences; how do I provide every possible service needed to keep your community support, but be within budget?
The average cost of just the equipment needed to provide technical rescue could top two million dollars. The costs of equipment to provide hazmat response, including CBRNE, can be over three million dollars. Next, you must train responders for these specialties that can range in hours from 40 to 225 hours, with at least 50 hours of continuing education to remain proficient.
This type of investment in personnel and equipment would be impossible for every fire department in the country to maintain.
So, what’s the answer? Collaboration.
By building specialized teams, both the company- and division-level fire department officer can build and maintain a regional response team in conjunction with other fire department officers. Three steps to collaboration:
- Identify the goal – What is the desired outcome?
- Delegate responsibilities – Every officer should know what key component they’re responsible for.
- Work together – Well-executed responses require practice of the desired execution. Work together to ensure the collaborative efforts will work if and when they’re needed.
For more on the tactical issues, strategies needed and overall success measures for creating collaborative teams, check out the FRI session “Regional Collaborations: Strategic and Tactical Actions Needed to Make it Happen;” it’s part of the Chief Officer track at Fire-Rescue International. This session will be held on Wednesday, August 26, at 10:30 AM.
Randall W. Hanifen is a lieutenant for West Chester (Ohio) Fire Department, an adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati Fire Science and Emergency Management Program, and fire service consultant. Hanifen serves on the IAFC’s Company Officer Leadership Committee as vice chair. He also serves on the FRI Program Planning Committee. He is currently pursuing his PhD in Executive Management of Homeland Security. Hanifen is credentialed as a fire officer by the Center for Public Safety Excellence and is a Fellow of the Institute of Fire Engineers. Lt. Hanifen can be reached at Randall@Hanifen.org.