Fire Department Organization and Structure
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Fire departments are meant to handle fire related calamities and emergencies. Fire fighters are people who are professionally trained to deal with the control, management and regulation of fire related incidents. They are also tasked with ensuring that property is protected from fire destruction as well as saving people’s lives by protecting them from fire. When it comes to organization and structure, the Fire Department (FD) is tasked with providing fire suppression and inspection to ensure safety (Avsec, 2017). Secondly, the department understands that prevention is better than cure and thus provides preventive education to the community, organizations, schools, hospitals, and even industries. The other services provided include rescue operations and response to hazardous materials.
The following is an analysis of fire department organization and structure meant to assist fire chief officers understand more about Fire Departments and their roles in the community.
Fire Department Organization and Structure
The Fire department has two major departmental divisions in its operations. The first one is the Emergency Response and Personnel Division. This section is tasked with emergency responses that entail fire, hazardous material, medical rescue, and false alarms. This department has a direct hotline for reporting fire and medical emergencies and it operates on a 24-hour basis with each shift being run by different people to enhance vigilance and quick response (Leduc, 2015). This department is thus equipped with trained fire fighters, pressurized water tanks in fire fighting trucks, trained medical personnel, and rescue professionals.
The second division in the fire department is the Administrative division. These are professionals who coordinate various operations in the department. Moreover, they oversee that all other fire fighting divisions coordinate effectively. In the University City Fire/Rescue Department, the management team is led by the City Manager at the top of the hierarchy. Then the Fire Chief is second in command and is assisted directly by the Ambulance supervisor. The other level of command that follows under the Chief is the Fire Inspector and Secretary. Under these two, there is the Fire/Safety educator and the Municipal Training officer (How can data drive a fire department? 2015).
The department is thus further divided into five platoons that work as sub-departmental divisions and each handle a different shift. Each Platoon is led by an assistant chief and under him/her is the Lieutenant and four fire fighters who operate an engine purposely given to them. Many platoons are available each with a team to handle an emergency in any part of the city at any time of the day or night. A truck is thus assigned to each platoon and its sub-groups of professional fire fighters (Avsec, 2017).
Purpose, Mission, and Vision
The purpose of the Fire Fighters Department is to enhance the well-being of city residents by protecting them from fire, medical and hazardous emergencies. When it comes to the mission of the department, the University City Fire/Rescue Department is committed to a safer community via emergency response that is effective (Avsec, 2017). The department thus committed to prevention and preparedness. The Vision of the department is to have a city that is free of injuries, deaths, and fire related damages or from other emergencies (Leduc, 2015).
The objectives of a fire department are to ensure community protection from fire and other local risks by reducing them. Secondly, it aims at conducting city and community assessment for risk identification as a preventive measure. Thirdly, the department is committed to creating awareness on the risks of poor use of fire related equipments and the best ways to give behave when a fire or medical emergency occurs (Wallace, 2009). Fourthly, planning for an effecting emergency rescue system that is flexible and efficient is also a priority. The department also aims at developing a competent workforce that can deliver towards the company’s vision. Finally, the department aims at delivering quality services that fetch value for money as well as maximizing community and environmental safety (Reardon, 2005).
Data Collection and Incident Action Plans
Understanding data collected by fire department surveyors and analysis translates to better allocation of resources. The fire department does not depend on the intuition of fire chiefs in delivery if fire services any more, they use data collection and statistics. Decisions have to be data driven to avoid guessing, speculation and intuitions when making important decisions (Wallace, 2009). Data on frequency of emergency calls, the time that most emergencies occur, which area they occur, the causes and so on remain crucial data in resource allocation and disaster mitigation for fire fighters. The main importance of data collection is resource allocation and prioritization of emergency cases, as well as evaluating preventive measures to take in future (How can data drive a fire department? 2015).
When it comes to Incident Action plan, the fire department uses the National Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) which is a standardized reporting system that can be used anywhere to report fire emergency cases. The department collaborates with the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) which is an equipped division in each and every fire fighting department (Armentrout, Learning & Armentrout, 2013). When dealing with an emergency, the department has a Three-Phase incident response plan. The first one is incident prioritization whereby life prioritization comes first, then incident stabilization, and third comes the conservation of property; this order has to be followed at all times (Avsec, 2017).
Strategic planning process
Strategic Planning process is also important in incident management for the fire department. The first process is brainstorming for ideas from both the management and subordinates. In this process, government officials have to be involved in the future safety and operation plans for the city. Team building comes in as an important aspect in ensuring a cohesive and collaborative fire fighters team that will see an objective achieved at the least time possible and in an efficient way (Reardon, 2005). The other thing will be to ensure that a facilitator for the strategic process is selected.
In conclusion, the work plan is then laid down whereby the values of the Fire/EMS department will be evaluated. A mission and vision for the company will be revised, and a viable business modelling plan selected. An audit on performance, conflict resolution, and contingency planning will be done. Most importantly, streamlining communication within the department and with the emergency incident reporters will improve the operation of the entire fire department and make its operation more efficient.
Armentrout, D., Learning, B. D., & Armentrout, P. (2013). The Fire Department. Chicago: Britannica Digital Learning.
Avsec, R. (2017, July 9). 5 keys to a great fireground incident action plan. Retrieved from https://www.firerescue1.com/cod-company-officer-development/articles/285479018-5-keys-to-a-great-fireground-incident-action-plan/
How can data drive a fire department? (2015, August 27). Retrieved from https://www.firerescue1.com/international-association-of-fire-chiefs/articles/3034641-How-can-data-drive-a-fire-department/
Leduc, T. J. (2015). LeDuc: Why Incident Action Planning Is Critical? Retrieved from http://www.firehouse.com/blog/12106436/incident-action-plans-for-fire-departments-incident-command-structure
Reardon, J. A. (2005). FOUR-PHASE INCIDENT ACTION PLANNING. Retrieved from http://www.fireengineering.com/articles/print/volume-158/issue-3/features/four-phase-incident-action-planning.html
Wallace, M. (2009). Fire Department Strategic Planning 101. Retrieved from http://www.fireengineering.com/articles/print/volume-162/issue-2/features/fire-department-strategic-planning-101.html
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