Leaders of all industries are looking around right now at this new “normal” and trying to sort through what happened and where to go from here. The economic environment in which we operate was turned upside down and it’s impacting many facets of how we operate on a day-to-day basis. What does change look like in your community?
Many people are clearly able to identify the change and what sacrifices they’ve had to make, but not how to rebuild given their current constraints. The good news is that with the challenges have come opportunities and fire departments across the nation are seeking new organizational efficiencies, taking a look at fire and EMS data and digging deep into suppression vs. prevention. As you start to move forward, have you explored alternative models for success in your community? Do you know what others are doing?
One of the keys to success in this new environment is collaboration, particularly between local government agencies. The reality is, with not enough money to go around, fire departments must take every opportunity to both educate others about the services they offer (and the resources that it takes) and learn about broader needs and challenges of the community. A common thread among departments who are thriving is the willingness and ability to reach out to other departments, elected officials and the public to educate, learn and work together to strategize for success. Will you agree on everything? No. Do you need to start trying to agree on something? Yes.
Need a place to start? The IAFC has partnered with ICMA to bring you a one day workshop, Success and Sustainability, October 5-6 in Phoenix, AZ. The presenters are real fire chiefs and real city managers who are finding a way to make this “new normal” work. They will take a good look at what has happened over the last few years and how to successfully move forward. This workshop will look at the cooperative efforts others are using to set their city up for long term success. Attend on your own or with their city manager; either way, take the first step. Find out more at www.iafc.org/sandsworkshop.