VISION: The VCOS International Strategic Initiative Online Network

Challenge 5: Organizational Structure, Strategic and Financial Planning

Fire protection in North America is typically provided by a city or special district and in some cases the township, county, state or tribal government. In some communities it is provided by a private organization. There often are political bodies (authority having jurisdiction) who set the level of service and authorize the expenditure of funds generated by the community.

The current fire and EMS service delivery model, bylaws and rules can be perceived as outdated and entrenched in traditions that obstruct efficiencies and provision of professional services. This is illustrated by the lack of cooperation and regionalization in some areas. Many communities lack the ability to compel emergency service organizations (ESOs) to cooperate and share resources, which place the community at greater risk and costs more to operate. In some parts of the country, ESOs over-saturate the response area, while in others, resources are scarce.

A number of ESOs struggle with developing and implementing strategic plans consistent with the economic realities and needs of their communities. Often they lack understanding of need, value and benefit of using a sustainable and flexible business model as part of their planning processes. This makes it difficult for organizations to secure the predictable sources of funding necessary to ensure the effective delivery of emergency services. Because many communities are dependent on the expertise of their emergency service leaders to navigate this critical and complex challenge, it is imperative these leaders be trained in business model practices.

Challenge Initiatives

Initiative 5A: Information to Support Effective ESO Governance Structures

Develop, acquire, and provide information that supports the establishment of legal and effective ESO governance structures.

Initiative 5B: Tools to Determine Funding Needed to Provide Services at the Level Identified by the Community

Develop and provide model financial tools that assist ESOs determine funding needed to provide services at the level identified by the community.

Initiative 5C: Model Strategic Planning Tools

Develop and provide model strategic planning tools that assist ESOs develop long-term plans to deliver services at levels identified by the community.

Initiative 5D: Enhance Partnerships with Insurance Industry to Promote Risk Reduction Programs

Enhance existing partnerships with the insurance industry to promote risk reduction programs.