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Thread: Fire department planner

  1. #1
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    Fire department planner

    Hi all...was wondering if anyone has any insight or advice for a fire department planner position? I am competing with both internal and external candidates. As an internal candidate, I do not have a planning background or education. I am assuming all of the external candidates will. I am planning to use my familiarity of the fire department as my primary advantage, at least over the non-fire department candidates. What other advice and/or information does anyone have in this area? Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Can you post a snippit of the job description? I can only imagine this kind of position can go in alot of different directions...

  3. #3
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    I am going to guess that much of the work involves resonse times. Also anticipating future growth...leading to the location of future stations. One might study water flows and pressures in your district along with hydrant locations. All this with recommendations. Will probably involve quite a bit of coordination/ collaboration with the local planning and public works agencies.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    http://www.raleigh-nc.org/portal/ser...18-123550.html

    Is this the job link? I'm pretty sure. Unless they extended the closing date it shows up as 12/2/09?

    Looks like the duties deal with things some planners have no education on like ISO and fire facilities. I don't think this job will rely heavily on land planning or urban design but having a working knowledge will be important. For instance if the city asks the fire department to approve plans with alleys or narrower than normal roads or increased heights you should have some knowledge of why this is important from both angles.

    Also the word strategic planning is mentioned more than once. Strategic planning can range from how capital plans are laid out to staffing and team building (mission statements and goals). These things are not necessarily in the typical planner's toolbox.

    Sounds like a very interesting position and I wish you well, I always have thought that planners may have the best ideas for response area planning.


    PS. If I didn't have a job right now (i.e. 3 months ago) I would be applying for this in an instant with my several years of volunteer fire exp. and masters in planning. I doubt there are many planners though that fit both roles.
    @GigCityPlanner

  5. #5
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    I think Mike Gurnee's guesses are good one. I know that turn radii and other option s(like rollover curbs) are often issues for which fire departments are consulted when new construction is proposed. I would imagine some other infrastructure issues in addition to roads and distances from station houses are issues, too (a new subdivision will require X many hydrants).

    This is all assuming a pretty urban setting. Out here in New Mexico, and I would imagine a number of other cities (including Philly, where I grew up and which has the second largest urban park in the country, they say), developing plans for the management of forested areas (underbursh removal, for example) and fire suppression activities might also come into play. For example, Albuquerque is currently using a stream of federal money to clear out growth (mainly by invasive species) in the bosque (forested area) by the Rio Grande. We had a few fires in there a number of years back that burned some structures and thresatened many more and that opened the tap for the federal dollars. I'm sure someone had to develop a plan for how all that work will be accomplished.

    Good luck!
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Quote Originally posted by Tide View post
    I always have thought that planners may have the best ideas for response area planning.
    ... volunteer fire exp. and masters in planning. I doubt there are many planners though that fit both roles.
    Possibilities included:
    GIS mapping of NFIRS to realign house response areas.
    NIMS resource sector planning.
    Hazmat Vulnerbility Zone Analysis/Pre Planning

    I might be able to join that list, don't forget to add NIMS qualifications.

    AIB wahday one phrase - Wildland/Urban Interface
    Oddball
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  7. #7
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    Sorry JNA should have given you the shout out too.
    @GigCityPlanner

  8. #8
    Cyburbian kltoomians's avatar
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    Perhaps you would also have to respond to referrals from local agencies regarding various types of development?

    Sounds very interesting. Good luck!
    "I'm a boomerang, doesn't matter how you throw me
    I turn around and I'm back in the game
    Even better than the old me"

  9. #9
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by JNA View post
    Possibilities included:
    GIS mapping of NFIRS to realign house response areas.
    NIMS resource sector planning.
    Hazmat Vulnerbility Zone Analysis/Pre Planning

    I might be able to join that list, don't forget to add NIMS qualifications.

    AIB wahday one phrase - Wildland/Urban Interface
    My thoughts as well. NIMS response, WUI protection plans, hydrant mapping, response times, street recommendations, Hazmat response, risk assessment.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally posted by mike gurnee View post
    I am going to guess that much of the work involves resonse times. Also anticipating future growth...leading to the location of future stations. One might study water flows and pressures in your district along with hydrant locations. All this with recommendations. Will probably involve quite a bit of coordination/ collaboration with the local planning and public works agencies.
    My current boss was the chief planner for the fire department of a large city for a long time and from what he's told me of his work on that job, it mostly involved the kind of things the above quoted post outlines. Best of luck! I'm sure you'll have an egde of most of the external candidates with no experience or work related to the more specific kinds of planning that fire departments need.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian JimPlans's avatar
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    Pick up these books:

    Managing Fire and Rescue Services

    Benchmarking: A Method for Achieving Superior Performance in Fire and Emergency Medical Services [EDIT: a lot of this material is actually in the book above, so only get it if benchmarking is a priority]

    Read this PDF from ESRI:

    GIS for Fire Station Locations and Response Protocols

    Read up on FireView (as an example of commercial software for fire planners):

    http://www.theomegagroup.com/fire/fireview_desktop.html

    Be familiar with the NFPA's standard 1710 and 1720 (if you have volunteers in your area). Also, if you're in an area with wildfire issues be familiar with wildfire prevention strategies and the "wildland-urban interface."

    Also, google the terms "fire response time study" and "fire department master plan" and read some of the results to see what other fire dept planners are creating.

    Good luck!
    Last edited by JimPlans; 13 Jan 2010 at 9:56 AM.

  12. #12
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    Thanks to everyone for all the suggestions and advice, I really appreciate it!

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