By David Dillinger, Staff Writer
With the state of the economy and the city council balancing the budget the best they can “we just don’t have the money!” is one of the most commonly heard statements in town and an argument rarely won. So what do we do? We get creative, that’s what we do. At The Ready’s CEO touts regionalization, Mutual aid and Co-Use agreements to anyone and everyone that will listen.
Regionalization is ‘working with sister departments within a municipality to maintain and improve capabilities through equipment sharing.’ E.g. Your SWAT, SAR and Divers need some sort of thermal or infrared devices to support their missions. So you determine the type and number that will support all three needs. Develop a co-use, maintenance and lifecycle plan and brief your municipal leaders showing them how it supports the need while saving money. By pulling together, you have a better chance of getting what you need.
Mutual aid agreements (MAAs) provide assistance before, during, and after an emergency event and facilitate the rapid mobilization of personnel, equipment, and supplies. The agreements can occur at multiple levels of government: between state/local agencies; between a state and localities in the state; between two or more states in a region; between states and tribes; or internationally between states and neighboring jurisdictions in Canada or Mexico. MAAs can also exist among a variety of organizational types, including governments, nonprofit organizations, and private businesses. Check out, Mutual Aid: Partnerships for Meeting Regional Threats.
Co-Use (or Joint Use) agreements are formal agreements between two or more entities to share use of a space. Schools districts, government entities and community-based organizations can strengthen community connections, preserve resources, reduce their costs and increase opportunities through Co-Use (Joint Use) Agreements. Housing the Fire and Police departments together can save a small municipality a considerable amount of money that can be used for essential training and equipment.
Grant programs are abundant and although many are for small dollar amounts they provide opportunities for departments of all sizes and types. Not only are they abundant, but grants are announced twelve months per year and advanced notice is normally given if you’re paying attention. While writing this article, I conducted a ‘google search’ for “responder grants” and found over 30 grants for different organizations and purposes in less than 5 minutes, here a just a few:
Rural Development Grants, USDA Rural Development Grant Funding
Homeland Security Grant Program
DHS preparedness grant programs
Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program
Fire service grants and funding
In today’s society, not only do Public Safety officials have to work harder than ever to ensure their departments are properly staffed, trained, equipped. They have to think outside the box, capitalize on the available technologies that exist to increase their efficiency and effectiveness and lean on the younger members of the department to teach the veteran’s how to use them. We also don’t just manage our budgets anymore, we have to actively search (almost) daily for new avenues of funding or find someone who knows how to “Find the Funding” for you. Lastly but definitely not least importantly, we have to plan, train and work with our sister departments together as a cohesive force.
“One Force, One Fight, One win!”