Emergency service consolidation saves money, improves service
Kalamazoo, Mich. – Economic pressures are forcing city managers to consider consolidating public safety services. Implemented properly, these measures can save money and improve services to citizens as well.
According to a Fire Chief report, Kalamazoo’s urban department protects around 90,000 residents under a consolidated model where each of its 215 employees plays the role of police officer, firefighter and medical first responder.
Ryan Tibbets, a specialist with the department, told Fire Chief, “If there is a working fire, our response times are fabulous because we have so many units on the street that are fully trained with SCBA, turnout gear and more in their trunks.” He added, “Everyone is ready to respond.”
The model also saves money. Kenneth Collard, Kalamazoo’s city manager told Firechief that this type of organization fundamentally creates efficiency by allowing more bodies to be on the streets for fire, law or EMS calls. While there are hidden costs to consolidation, such as cross training and personnel overtime, overall Kalamazoo’s consolidation has been successful.
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