Despite encouraging indicators in some sectors, city and county leaders are still facing tough choices about supplying core services, including police, fire and emergency medical services (EMS). These core public safety services typically represent the largest slice of the budget pie, and thus are an understandable target for cost reductions. But savings cannot come at the cost of lost lives. What evidence and benchmarks exist to help decide what’s appropriate? How does a public official tell the difference between facts and opinions? This InFocus issue frames the challenges facing local government and offers guidance on effectively assessing fire and EMS, implementing changes safely and, ultimately, effectively communicating these changes to key stakeholders.
About the Authors:
Joseph J. Fitch, PhD, is the founder and president of Fitch & Associates (fitchassoc.com), a fire service and ambulance consultancy based in metropolitan Kansas City, Missouri. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michael G. Ragone is a senior associate at Fitch & Associates and leads the fire service practice. He may be reached at email@example.com. Keith Griffiths is the editor-in-chief of Best Practices in Emergency Services and president of the RedFlash Group, providing research and communications to public health and safety. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(2010, vol. 42, no. 5)