Strategic Planning Benefits Community’s Fire Service (January, 2019)
North Collier Fire Rescue recently completed its 2018-2023 Strategic Plan. Essential to increasing the District’s effectiveness of delivering All Hazards Response to the community, the plan documents our current status, our short-term and long-term goals as well as availability of resources to achieve those goals.
Since the plan serves as a guide-map for our personnel and a promise to our community, input from both groups was instrumental in its development. Internal and external stakeholder sessions were conducted as a means of gathering wants and needs, with the un-edited, honest and constructive feedback presented in the SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis contained within the plan.
Various operational elements are addressed in the community-driven plan, including capital improvement strategies. As our community grows and changes, our agency must also evolve to keep pace. The plan strives to increase dedicated reserves for specific capital projects such as new fire stations needed to meet response needs of areas experiencing rapid growth and development and repairs/renovations of existing stations – repairs that continually have been deferred in the past. Apparatus replacement is also targeted. With our fire-rescue apparatus constantly in-service, good working order is critical. When maximum life has been gained from an apparatus, the plan strives to allocate reserves for its replacement, thus reducing maintenance costs for assets that have far exceeded their life expectancy. These strategies are geared to enhance our financial planning and reduce long-term costs.
Another element targeted in the plan is improvement of our ISO (Insurance Service Organization) rating which directly affects insurance premiums you pay for homeowner’s insurance. The District is currently rated at an ISO 3 for all areas within five driving miles of a fire station. This rating places us in the top 3% of all fire agencies in the United States. Our strategic plan seeks to enhance training standards and address water supply challenges in areas without hydrants, both of which will aid us in improving our rating. We believe it is reasonable to improve to an ISO rating of 2, or possibly even a 1.
Also outlined in the plan is reliance on analytical software to facilitate data driven decisions. Most recently, analytics revealed the underutilization of apparatus and personnel. Subsequent changes included the moving of apparatus to different stations to provide better geographic coverage, the use of smaller response vehicles for medical incidents and the reallocation of personnel to peak hours. These changes resulted in reduced response times and cost avoidance to our community.
Furthermore, the plan places a priority on improving communications, not only with the public, but also with our own personnel and our partnering agencies to ensure transparency and achieve a positive and synergistic effect, thus accomplishing more and creating better final outcomes for all. The District’s communication plan is currently under evaluation with enhancements to follow including the strengthening of community volunteer programs such as our Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) utilized during times of disaster and the broader outreach of our CPR, crowd manager and other training classes designed to make our community safer.
These are but a few of the many important elements addressed in our plan. It is our commitment to provide high quality, rapid emergency all hazards response, improve community outreach through education and uphold the life safety fire codes and standards to proactively protect our citizens, all while remaining fiscally responsible. Our 2018-2023 Strategic Plan plays a significant role in fulfilling this commitment to our community. We encourage you to view our strategic plan which is available on our website at www.northcollierfire.com.
We also encourage you to follow us on Facebook as we update our progress and provide real time safety alerts when necessary. If you have any questions, or wish to get involved in any of our many programs or focus groups, contact us via our website or call North Collier Fire Headquarters at 239-597-3222.
The Board of Fire Commissioners
North Collier Fire Control and Rescue District