The Organization and Structure of Fire Department Term Paper

  • Length: 4 pages
  • Sources: 4
  • Subject: Public Administration
  • Type: Term Paper
  • Paper: #86919987

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Organizational structure and physical structures are the two main components of fire departments in any community. The following is a proposal for a newly designed fire department in a suburban area. Occupational safety, integration with community infrastructure, and strategic alliances with other public service sectors will all be included in the department design proposal.

Organizational Structure

Organizational structure in fire departments is in dire need of change. In some departments, that change is happening from the top down, as departments respond to the needs of young recruits and rookies who may be unfamiliar or uncomfortable with the “paramilitary” culture that has permeated the service (Shaw, 2011). However, it is not just a matter of matching organizational culture to suit the norms of the next generation. Restructuring fire departments is best practice for safety. According to Brauer (2016), organizational structure problems have been directly linked to increased ratios of fatalities: “the number of firefighters killed in the line of duty has remained relatively unchanged for the past three decades, despite a decrease in the number of fires occurring, a decrease in the number of civilians trapped in fires, and improvements in technology related to firefighter personal protective equipment,” (p. 1). The paramilitary structure does have some benefits including an expectation of discipline and role clarity. However, this proposed fire department will be structured in a way that combines the best of new management theory with the best that the paramilitary model has to offer.

As Carter (2015) points out, job definition is extremely important in fire departments: “we break our fire department down into such functions as engine and truck companies, fire prevention and public education planning, service and staff functions.” Given this, the structure of the proposed fire department will reflect the different roles the department plays in the community. Fire chiefs will remain in key positions of leadership. However, it is recommended strongly that two new positions be created: one in human resources, and one in information technology. All technical positions will be clearly defined by identifying needs. Needs assessments will help the department determine whether we need more building inspectors and fire code consultants, or whether we need more training technicians. Information technology specialists will help our department retain strong communications connections with law enforcement, hospitals, emergency medical technicians, and other first responders. Also, the information technology will help our own first responders more efficiently respond to fire and other disaster calls, deploying exactly the service personnel and equipment necessary. In a suburban fire department such as this, links with other departments will be crucial. When determining the organization’s needs, we need to consult with other leaders in the community.

Training technicians and training specialists need to be available at all time, both for training new personnel and also for addressing the upskilling needs of the department. In conjunction with emerging best practice guidelines, the training specialists will also interface with equipment specialists who are hired specifically to ensure that equipment is maintained well and replaced when necessary. An equipment specialist will also be responsible for working with the accounting department to liberate resources for new procurements. As safety is the number one priority, it is important that the equipment specialist be knowledgeable about new protective equipment and communicates that knowledge about products to the training professionals. Working as a team, the members of the training teams and the procurement teams can ensure that the department uses all equipment properly and has access to the latest fire protection technology and tools.

The department also needs to have on hand a community infrastructure specialist with…

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