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Consolidation in Fire Departments

January 31, 2024

23

This week’s episode of Fire Headlines is “Dealer’s Choice,” where a member of the team selects a topic of their choice for discussion. Chief Bob Horton takes the helm with his chosen topic: consolidation in fire departments. He engages in conversation with Fire Headlines host Samantha Didion and panelist Chief Jeff Buchanan. Their dialogue centers around an article that explores the Sunbury Fire Department’s decision to consolidate six agencies into a unified entity. During the episode, both Chief Horton and Chief Buchanan analyze the benefits and challenges associated with this consolidation, drawing upon their own experiences with similar situations.

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Join us in our Dealer’s Choice episode as the panel discusses the benefits and challenges of Consolidation in Fire Departments on WFCA’s Fire Headlines Podcast.

Dealer’s Choice: Consolidation in Fire Departments

This week’s episode of Fire Headlines is “Dealer’s Choice,” where a member of the team selects a topic of their choice for discussion. Chief Bob Horton takes the helm with his chosen topic: consolidation in fire departments. He engages in conversation with Fire Headlines host Samantha Didion and panelist Chief Jeff Buchanan. Their dialogue centers around an article that explores the Sunbury Fire Department’s decision to consolidate six agencies into a unified entity. During the episode, both Chief Horton and Chief Buchanan analyze the benefits and challenges associated with this consolidation, drawing upon their own experiences with similar situations.

Panel’s Consolidation Experience

Chief Buchanan shares his insights on consolidation from his experience as both a city manager and fire chief during a consolidation effort in North Las Vegas prompted by fiscal challenges. He elaborates on how the city explored shared services and alliances with neighboring jurisdictions, focusing on non-operational aspects like training, inspections, and community risk reduction.

Chief Horton shares his experiences in collaborative efforts in Oregon where he introduced the concept of forming an alliance among fire districts. His efforts aimed at exploring various options for improved service delivery within the region.

Challenges and Loss Aversion

Chief Buchanan highlights an unaddressed challenge in consolidation discussions – the likelihood of job loss, especially among administrative staff. He continues to explain the emotional impact of losing something, such as a job or administrative staff, is more profound than the positive feelings associated with gain. Chief Horton labels this significant psychological barrier as loss aversion. To overcome this, Chief Horton suggests a focus on preserving organizational identity and autonomy while pursuing operational efficiencies and shared resources in consolidation discussions.

You can email Fire Headlines at [email protected].

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