TIPP CITY — The results of the departmental study conducted by the Ohio Fire Chiefs Association (OFCA) were presented to Tipp City Council at a work session held prior to Tuesday’s meeting.
The study included a review of the department’s policies, procedures, training, apparatus, equipment, and general department administrative processes, as well as identified operational and procedural areas of concern with recommendations to improve overall system performance.
Currently, Tipp City Fire and EMS Services (TCFES) is a combination department utilizing a cross-staffing model, while also relying on a mixture of volunteer and part-time personnel. The study found that while this model served the needs of the community at one time, it is no longer optimal due to the rapid growth of the community, making the challenge of meeting increasing service demands while maintaining separate services inefficient and not in the best interest of the public.
The OFCA’s first of 10 recommendations is to transition from the current volunteer system at TCFES to a combination system of staffing using “on-station” part-time paid personnel. In the short-term, this includes encouraging and assisting current members to be dual-certified in fire and EMS. In the long-term, the recommended staffing model for TCFES is seven to eight “dual-certified” part-time personnel on-station 24-hours.
OFCA members Chief Larson and Chief Frank Cook presented the results of the study, with Cook talking about his time working at Colerain Township Department of Fire and EMS, and how they had a similar transition that TCFES could be moving toward.
“The transition didn’t go without its challenges and issues; we also lost a lot of volunteers in that transition, but over the years the system has evolved,” Cook said. “(With) dual-certification, what that means is, an individual is both a state-certified firefighter and a state-certified EMT. It’s the highest and best use of your personnel.”
The other recommendations in the study were as follows:
• The department should establish a dual-certified shift supervisor or commander in the daily staffing.
• The department should establish a defined officer development program.
• The department should develop organizational performance goals.
• The department should work with the Miami County Communication Center staff and other partner agencies to resolve service-related emergency communication issues.
• The department should develop response procedures for technical search and rescue, and hazardous materials incidents that include specific actions that can be taken by initial responding companies.
• The department should develop a formalized pre-incident planning program.
• The department should enhance the training program.
• The department should prioritize development of emergency operations procedures.
• The department should enhance their community risk reduction efforts.
“All of this has been building up to this point; we knew it was going to happen at some point, and unfortunately, it happened the last two years. In my opinion, we weren’t ready for it, but I’d rather work toward something we’re going to be able to set to paper and say, okay, now we have what our needs are, and now we can work with the township and figure out what a good solution for those needs is going to be,” Council President Katelyn Berbach said. “It’s nice to finally see it on paper.”
Tipp City Council will meet with Monroe Township Trustees at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 9 to discuss the report. The full report of the Departmental Study can be found at https://www.tippcityohio.gov/DocumentCenter/View/1198/Fire-Department-Study-PDF.
The Miami Valley Today reached out to TCFES for Chief Larson’s first name and was unable to obtain it as of press time.