Fire Department Study Released Today With Recommendations to Reduce Overtime Costs

By Carol McCracken  (Post # 1,323)

A three month-long study and evaluation of the Portland Fire Department, Performance and Management Study,  was received today by city manager Mark Rees.  The five hundred plus page report was conducted by Public Safety Solutions, Inc. (PSSi).  Leslie Adams, president of PSSi will present a summary of his findings to the City Council Monday night at 5:30 pm.  In addition, the city is seeking public input and response to the findings in the report, which can be submitted through the city’s website at http://www.portlandmaine.gov/fire/report.asp, according to a press release issued by the city today.  These comments will help inform City Manager Rees and Fire Chief Jerome LaMoira as they evaluate the report and develop an action plan for implementation.

“More than three decades have passed since the city conducted a review and assessment of the Fire Department and in that time the department’s role and responsibiliies within the community have changed dramatically.  From advanced life support to emergency management, the role of the Fire Department in providing essential public safety services has changed dramatically.  Not only does this study confirm that the city’s Fire Department provides quality service to the city, but it also identified a number of opportunities to improve how we best respond to the community’s needs,” said Rees.

The study identified a number of potential efficiences and administrative changes that will help modernize and enhance the Department’s day-to-day operations.  Additionally, PSSi suggests a timeline for review, evaluation and implementation of the proposed recommendations beginning with an internal analysis as well as the solicitation of input from residents, local businesses, policy leaders, employees, union leadership and other vested interests.

“Today begins an exciting process not only for the department but for the city as a whole and I along with the city’s firefighters are ready to roll up our sleeeves and get to work,” remarked Chief LaMoria.  “The report gives us a blueprint from which we can start our work – some of these recommendations we will implement quickly, others will take a bit more time.  The key point is that at the end of the road the city will have an even more progressive department providing high quality services to the community.”

The report praises a njumber of aspects of the Fire Department including the delivery of Emergency Medical Services, describing the programs as leading edge medical treatment, regional and collaborative programs for specialty response including Hazmat and Public Safety Communications, the development of a Confined Space team, the department;s equipment and apparatus mainenance and replacement program and quality assurance protocols for service delivery.

The press release goes on to say that Chief LaMoria has begun implementation of several items identified within the report including public education and community outreach initiatives as well as the establishment of an internal working group charged with updatding and creating department policies and procedures.  As evaluation and implementation of the study continues, Chief LaMoria will be making periodic updates on the city’s website to inform the public of progress.