Consolidating fire departments


The approval follows on the heels of an intergovernmental agreement reached in August which will have West Dundee Fire Chief Randy Freise taking the helm of both departments beginning Jan.

Relinquishing local control, they created a consolidated department under a shared governance structure to replace their freestanding departments and serve the entire North Shore region.

There are several items to remember when contemplating joining two or...

With shrinking budgets and the tough decisions that accompany them, many fire departments (and their communities) around the country are struggling to not only make ends meet, but to keep the doors open.

And according to former SAFD fire chief Dave Thomas, the OCFA had submitted proposals to surrounding communities regarding consolidating, so the department knew that the OCFA was a potential “acquirer.” Unlike other city services, “fire departments are in a position to do more regionalized work,” points out Keith Richter, chief of the OCFA.

“We regularly train together and work together in mutual aid agreements; it’s not unusual for us.” Discussions were held with all labor groups involved, and the idea was generally well received.

Ways & Means The transition began when the city of Santa Ana discovered a -million deficit in its budget for 2013.


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