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Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association. Baltimore, Maryland May 31, 2014 – June 4, 2014. Donald R. Austin Executive Fire Commissioner, Retired Detroit Fire Department. The Detroit Experience. Detroit’s Historical Population. Macro View of Detroit Issues. Ex-mayor sentenced to 28 years

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Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association

Baltimore, Maryland

May 31, 2014 – June 4, 2014

Donald R. Austin

Executive Fire Commissioner, Retired

Detroit Fire Department




Macro view of detroit issues
Macro View of Detroit Issues

  • Ex-mayor sentenced to 28 years

  • Deferred maintenance of City infrastructure

  • Significant population loss = tax base erosion

  • 80,000 vacant structures

  • 40,000 vacant and dangerous dwellings

  • Mayor and Council divided on budget reductions


Macro view of detroit issues 2
Macro View of Detroit Issues (2)

  • Council president abandoned office

  • 2nd Council member quit

  • High turnover in City executive leadership

  • Over 35 Unions in City government

  • Fiscal cliff inevitable

  • General Modus Operandi = Survival



Fire department sit stat may 2011
Fire Department Sit/StatMay 2011

  • Operating under CBA, which expired 2001

  • Single-function firefighters

  • EMS second-class Department members

  • Seniority-based promotion

  • All uniformed members in same union

  • Average commissioner tenure 3.5 years

  • Mandatory retirement age 60


Administrative organization
Administrative Organization

Commissioner

Deputy Commissioner

2nd Deputy Commissioner

2nd Deputy Commissioner

Mayoral Appointment

Commissioner Appointment


Operational divisions
Operational Divisions

Firefighting

Apparatus

EMS

Research & Development

Fire Marshal

Community Relations

Medical

Communications

Training


Firefighting division

Chief of Fire Operations

Senior Chief

Deputy Chief

Deputy Chief

B6

B7

B8

B9

B1

B2

B4

B5

Firefighting Division

Commissioner Appointment


Fire department sit stat 2 may 2011
Fire Department Sit/Stat (2)May 2011

  • Complex and inflexible work rules

  • Courts and Arbitrators decision-making

  • Inadequate focus on Safety

  • Fire Stations average age 85 years old

  • No apparatus replacement program

  • Apparatus maintenance at Repair Shops

  • Inadequate organizational record keeping


Fire department sit stat 3 may 2011
Fire Department Sit/Stat (3)May 2011

  • Deferred maintenance on facilities, apparatus, and equipment

  • Asset management system non-existent

  • Alcohol use on-duty

  • Non-existent investigative procedures

  • Poor accountability

  • Vendors not paid timely


Fire department sit stat 4 may 2011
Fire Department Sit/Stat (4)May 2011

  • Outdated technology CAD, MDCs, networks

  • No aerial ladder, pump, or hose testing

  • No NIMS Compliance

  • Poor use of ICS on incident ground

  • Browning out of seven fire companies daily

  • Exceeding budgeted overtime by $6M


Goals and objectives
Goals and Objectives

  • Augment administrative staff with identified skills in Labor, Budget, and Purchasing

  • Data-driven decision-making

  • NIMS Compliance Project

  • NFPA testing compliance

  • Maritime Domain Awareness

  • Development of Mutual Aid Agreements


Goals and objectives 2
Goals and Objectives (2)

  • Establish a tractor company for demolition

  • Develop relationships with SE Michigan fire service organizations

  • Update General Orders and Rules and Regulations

  • Develop Department library

  • Dual-function firefighter transition

  • Merit-based promotions

  • Transition apparatus repair to GSD

  • Apparatus and station replacement program


Accomplishments
Accomplishments

  • FF/CPA Deputy Commissioner

  • 2nd Deputy Commissioner Labor Attorney

  • 2nd Deputy Commissioner Budget

  • Personal Services Contracts

  • $78M awarded in FEMA grants

  • Non-traditional funding sources

  • New Public Safety Headquarters

  • Completion of Burn Documentary


Accomplishments 2
Accomplishments (2)

  • WSU academic relationship

  • Contract with Tri-Data for Efficiency Study

  • 23 donated ambulances rec’d Dec 2013

  • 50 FF EMT-basic certified Dec 2014

  • Initiated discussion to embrace EMS

  • Initiated discussion for merit-based promotion

  • Detroit Public Safety Foundation support



Dfd today
DFD Today

  • Bankruptcy should be finalized by Sep 2014

  • Hiring 150 firefighter under FEMA funding

  • Fire union has not ratified City’s last offer

  • Moving forward with merit-based promotion

  • All Division Chiefs are now appointed by Commissioner


Final thoughts
Final Thoughts

  • DFD members, fire and EMS, are dedicated as any firefighters in the US Fire Service

  • To a large extent we are all products of our environment

  • Timing is everything in distressed environment

  • Change agents rarely bask in the sun during their reign


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