This spring has been busy for our personnel with several large initiatives and opportunities to celebrate success.
We are putting the finishing touches on our new 2018-2023 Strategic Plan, thanks to the solid work of more than 100 community and department (internal) stakeholders. Our community-driven Strategic Planning process took place over four days in April, beginning with 70 community stakeholders who shared their thoughts, concerns, expectations and priorities during a lunchtime work session at Spokane Valley Tech. To ensure our programs and services continue to meet the expectations and priorities of the communities we serve, a 40-member department stakeholder group used the feedback from our community stakeholders to identify 10 overarching strategic initiatives. Goals and objectives were then developed for each initiative which comprise our new 2018-2023 Strategic Plan. The draft plan is currently being finalized and will be published on our website in the coming weeks.
We continue to make excellent progress on the complex project of transitioning our 911 communications functions into an integrated Spokane Regional Communications Center. This is a joint effort involving a broad base of constituents from around Spokane County. In late March, the County Commissioners unanimously approved the resolution and charter to create this new center, currently being referred to as SPOCOM. This action was a major milestone in the project, which is now moving forward extremely quickly with the establishment of a governance board and the start of an Executive Director search. The new center will allow for all first responders (Fire/EMS, Law, etc.) to work in a collective and technologically-connected environment, providing an efficient, effective, affordable and sustainable system that will serve Spokane County citizens with greater efficiencies and depth of resources well into the future. We expect to transition to the new center early in 2019.
Our newly-published 2017 Annual Report recaps many of our achievements and is itself a celebration, as it is a ‘first’ for our department. I hope you’ll read through the report and share your feedback with us! We are also celebrating being honored as a 2018 Red Cross Hero for our partnership with the Greater Inland Northwest Chapter of the American Red Cross and the Spokane Fire Department on the Home Fire Safety Campaign. Through this campaign, the three organizations have jointly installed thousands of free smoke alarms in vulnerable homes across the region. And, we are thrilled to be celebrating our 50% Cardiac Arrest Survival Rate (known as “Utstein Bystander”) for 2017, one of the highest rates in Washington State. This is nearly double the 29.7% Spokane County rate and also exceeds the 36.5% National rate. Our three-year average (2015-2017) is 53.3% – worth celebrating! These results can be attributed in part to our focus on high-quality “Pit Crew” CPR performed by our firefighters every day, along with an increase in CPR-trained citizens and expanded availability of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs). Our new Annual Report includes detailed information about this exciting and important achievement.
I look forward to sharing more about our initiatives and achievements as the year progresses. As always, thank you for your continued support!
Bryan Collins, Fire Chief