Independent Study Outlines Blueprint For Future Of Baltimore County Fire Service

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BALTIMORE COUNTY - Baltimore County Fire Chief Joanne Rund released a 60-page blueprint on Friday detailing plans for future management of the Fire Service.

According to officials, the review is based on a year-long independent study by FACETS Consulting LLC.

The blueprint includes detailed overviews of administrative changes, first responder training, health and safety, and community risk reduction.

According to Baltimore County Fire Chief Joanne Rund, much of the plan revolves around improving access to administrative resources.

"The report tells us that incredibly dedicated Fire and EMS personnel, including civilian staff, are working above and beyond to provide emergency services despite a shortage of administrative resources. Though we have been aware of the Fire Service's needs, this independent analysis confirms our beliefs and provides a road map for short- and long-term investment and for organizational change. It's an important step forward with improvements and reforms," Rund said.

One of the largest sections of the report pertains to staffing shortages, noting "is understaffed administratively at all levels and recommends new full-time positions in virtually every section."

According to the report, these departments need additional staffing the most:

  • Emergency Medical Services: EMS calls account for more than 70 percent of all calls for service in Baltimore County, and the demand continues to increase. The study calls for an in-depth analysis of frontline EMS resources to identify gaps in coverage and future frontline needs.
  • Mid-Level BCoFD Management: FACETS found that mid-level BCoFD managers - battalion chiefs, and EMS officers experience incredibly high workloads. The analysis found high-stress levels among these officers and insufficient time for routine personnel administration, internal communication, and training.
  • Training, Health, and Safety: FACETS recommended additional resources to address the needs of the career/volunteer workforce, including access to fitness and wellness programs and easy access to required physical exams. The Fire-Rescue Academy facility in Sparrows Point is "under-equipped" and needs replacement.
  • Public Outreach and Community Risk Reduction: Resources for public education, fire/injury prevention, and code enforcement are minimal. Enhancing these programs "holds great promise for improving outcomes from emergency incidents and, in the long run, reducing Fire-EMS service demands."
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