Brooklyn Park Approves Outside Review of Fire Department
The Brooklyn Park Fire Department has been fighting fires for more than 60 years. In that time, people and technology have changed. Some believe the fire department hasn’t changed enough.
On Monday, the Brooklyn Park City Council approved a strategic plan to determine the fire department’s future. The city will hire a consultant to complete a two-phase study of the department’s day-to-day operations.
“I believe that having a plan is a great framework and guide for the future,” said Brooklyn Park Fire Chief John Cunningham, “especially as we look at growth and the service demands that are impacting fire and EMS agencies, locally and across the state and also the country.”
The first phase of the study will look directly at the fire department’s data and determine if it’s meeting national benchmark requirements. Those determinations will be made through the eyes of an independent consultant. The company who will oversee the strategic plan is Fitch & Associates. The second part of the plan will look at the department’s strengths and weakness. Those determinations will help create the department’s plans for the future.
Internal reviews have taken place in the past regarding whether to add more full-time staff or paid-on-call firefighters. However, this is the first time the fire department will have a third-party entity involved in how they move forward.
“This is a process where we are taking that one giant leap forward on really engaging a third party,” said Cunningham. “This external facilitator is completely unaffiliated with the city. They can take an unbiased look at our operation today and spend a lot of time looking at our data.”
Will Take 4-6 Months to Complete
The gathering of data and plan itself will take around four to six months to complete. After that the city and fire department expects to implement a plan over the next three to seven years, which, according to Cunningham, is a normal timetable when looking at a department’s future. The city approved $40,000 to be spent on this strategic plan.