Fire Departments Consolidation Update
(Sedgwick County, Kan.) – Sedgwick County Fire District 1 (SCFD1) and Wichita Fire Department (WFD) officials on Tuesday provided an update on fire consolidation efforts announced earlier this year.
Current consolidation efforts focus on greater collaboration in four areas: aid agreement, training, fire prevention, and technology. The effort is being managed by SCFD1 Fire Chief Doug Williams, SCFD1 Deputy Fire Chief Brad Crisp and WFD Fire Chief Tammy Snow, all of whom attended Tuesday’s meeting.
The three discussed ongoing and planned consolidation efforts including goals related to:
- Expanding the “black line,” a shared response area agreement that sends the closest fire unit to a structural fire.
- Combining recruit classes in the first quarter of 2020.
- Continuing joint firefighting training at the Regional Training Center (RTC).
- Initiating joint medical training.
- Exploring adding a Sedgwick County fire training officer at the RTC.
- Reviewing shared purchasing agreements for future equipment.
- Establishing a fire prevention committee.
- Reducing operational redundancies.
- Engaging multiple stakeholders including Metropolitan Area Building and Construction Department (MABCD), Wichita Area Builders Association (WABA), and others.
- Identifying shared software, record-keeping, and other technology needs.
Chiefs Williams and Snow reiterated the consolidation effort for now only focuses on Wichita and Sedgwick County fire departments. They praised a spirit of cooperation currently held by County and City staff and the political will from County and City elected officials.
Fire service consolidation has been considered before, in 2000 and 2006, with varying levels of outcomes.
“I think it’s a win-win all the way around,” Snow said.
“The relationship is strong and we want to keep the momentum going,” Williams stated.
Crisp, whom the County hired in June to lead consolidation efforts, emphasized the significance of stakeholder engagement in the consolidation process, referencing the formation of an oversight steering committee. There will be quarterly updates presented to the BOCC and the Wichita City Council.