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Community Comprehensive Plans aren’t ‘comprehensive’ when it comes to Fire/EMS

Most communities plan for their future through a comprehensive planning process. The process, with public input, guides the type and scope of development throughout the community. It plans for the need for more parks and sch

ools. It has an environmental component dealing with the natural resources for the area such as storm water runoff. It also deals with the need for public utilities like water and sewer.

So why does it simply describe the fire and EMS services? Typical community plans will note the number of stations, apparatus, and workforce. For a forward looking document, it typically leaves these departments behind.

1. Out of sight, out of mind

Most Fire/EMS Chiefs have their administrative offices at a fire station rather than town hall where the people with the power and money to facilitate community measures work every day.

2. Lack of knowledge

Take a poll how many city planners or consulting planning firms can correctly tell you the difference between a fire truck and a fire engine; between an EMT and a Paramedic? This can be helped by number 1 above.

3. No formal training exist in today’s colleges and universities.

University education in planning has little to do with emergency services but has concepts that most certainly apply. Most students do not have the background to implement them.

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