“Read the material on the problem for this assignment below and write a 5 page paper on how you would handle this problem and what groups you would enlist to assist you. (This problem is adapted from an actual situation that occurred in Orlando, Florida a few years back.) Post this to Assignment Five.
You are the chief of a small town volunteer fire department. You’ve read in the local papers that the politicians are working very hard to attract development to the area saying that the development would be good for both jobs and the tax base. No matter how hard you have tried to convince the town board, it is impossible to get them to increase the amount of money that the town gives to the department and your members still spend much of their time fundraising to buy needed equipment and to keep up with the requirements of OSHA and the state training agency’s requirements. In spite of all the struggles to this point your department has kept up-to-date, and well-trained. In a recent newspaper interview of the Town Manager you see that the town board is arranging to meet with a major developer who was going to build a multiuse vacation/resort community in an area of the town located at a distance from any fire station. You also found out that the police department was consulted and part of the meetings. However, neither fire, nor EMS was even told that there was a meeting with the developers. It is apparent to you that the town board does not understand the need for a fire department to be well prepared and fully able to respond quickly when the citizens call. In fact, it appears that the town board judges the fire department on the number of fires they respond to but not the type of fires they respond to. They don’t even consider the fact that the heaviest burden is EMS and rescue, compounded by the fact that in interstate highway passes through the middle of the town. You have talked yourself blue in the face at meeting after public meeting and everybody is probably tired of hearing the reasons why the fire department should not be cut in their appropriations and that the department should have equal standing in consideration with the police department in planning meetings.
In addition, you tried last year to get through a residential fire sprinkler requirement and the Homebuilder’s Association lobbied and defeated that initiative. At the present time your fire apparatus and the two stations are sited so that the department can respond within the state response guidelines. After looking at the development plans that were in the paper you realize that there is no way that this massive development with high-rise structures can be serviced by the present department and personnel. You look at the fire department as an auxiliary to the fire insurance that any building carries, however the town board apparently views the fire department as the “town annoyance” constantly looking for handouts when there are more important things to do with the town’s budget. How would you handle this situation and get people to understand the danger that the community will be put in by this massive development without additional investment in the fire service.