As we kick off another new year, I would like to catch you up on a few of the major items that we will be working toward accomplishing during 2018.
Strategic Plan – We are beginning the process of updating our five year Strategic Plan. The plan is a key document for the Department as it sets the vision and the work plan for the next five year period. Our current plan (2013-2017) laid out 39 initiatives for the Department to work toward, and I am proud to report that 37 of those items are either completed or in-progress. Each year when managers set their goals and develop their budgets they reference the Strategic Plan for guidance. The Department will be reaching out to many of you in the community for input into the levels, and types of services that are important to you during this process. External and internal stakeholder meetings will take place early in April and our new Strategic Plan should be completed by the end of May. If asked to participate, I hope you take the opportunity to share your wisdom and knowledge with us as we build a plan to ensure the continued excellent services that you’ve come to expect.
Capital Projects – We have relatively few large capital improvement projects planned in 2018. The largest and one of the most important to the health and safety of our employees, will be the replacement of our Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBAs). The SCBA is the tank and mask assembly that allows our firefighters to breathe clean air during a fire emergency. The Department has been preparing for replacement SCBAs and has submitted a grant proposal to the Federal government which would provide for half of the cost. The replacement will occur later in the year after the grant award cycle and is considered the highest capital priority for 2018.
Regional Communications – We will continue to work with our partners throughout the Spokane County public safety community to design and implement a new “Regional Communications Center”. This project began in earnest during 2017 and will take several years to complete. When fully implemented, all public safety communications throughout the County will be handled from the Center. This includes 911 calls or texts to the radio communications with emergency response personnel. The Center will position Spokane County well for the future, providing a high quality, affordable, modern and sustainable communications system for many years to come.
Maintenance & Operations Levy – This Fall, our staff will begin a public dialog around the SVFD Maintenance and Operations (M&O) Levy which will be on the ballot for renewal in 2019. As in years past, our efforts will be focused on engaging our communities about the services we provide, and how monies are budgeted and spent. As this levy renewal represents over 50% of the Department’s funding, it is critical that we make sure our public if fully informed about the services we provide and how we intend to continue prudently managing our financial resources in the future. I look forward to speaking more with you on this topic in the coming months.
These are just a few of the many projects we are undertaking during 2018. I have no doubt that our dedicated staff throughout the organization will once again meet these challenges, and others that come up along the way! I hope you had a wonderful holiday season and I look forward to speaking to you about these and many other items as we move through 2018.
As always, thank you for your continued support!
~ Bryan Collins, Fire Chief