Translating Fire & EMS Operational Challenges into Financial Needs

Author: Tim Nowak

Starting IVs, pulling hose lines, holding promotional processes, and planning for capital expenditures … that’s a pretty broad spectrum of job responsibilities.

Transitioning from the “field” to the “desk” is often a large career transition challenge for many within the fire and EMS industries. Going from a purely operational role to an administrative role entails a completely new job description … and a completely new focus on how–what–to communicate.

We understand the operations of our jobs, but finding a way to translate those operational challenges into the financial needs that our elected officials and oversight boards can understand is a feat in itself. How do we promote the 20% operational need of our budget into the spotlight or how do we justify our “productivity” when there’s periods of downtime?

You’re not alone in translating this challenge … nor are you alone in trying to “fix” it, either.

Public Consulting Group’s (PCG) team of fire and EMS consulting experts recently presented a webinar on this topic. The recording of the webinar can be accessed here.

Listed below are a few closing tips for you to keep in mind when translating operational challenges into financial needs:

  • Create an annual report to keep others informed.
  • Draft a strategic plan to set your vision, along with a master plan outlining how you’ll reach your goals.
  • Capitalize on budget presentation opportunities to highlight your strengths and challenges.
  • Provide stakeholders with a facility walk-through to actually see “what” you’re talking about.
  • Hold a “101” course for new elected/appointed officials as a brief orientation to your department and its services.
  • For volunteer/on-call agencies, provide new officials with a pager for one week … prompting them to stay awake (or not do any assigned work) for one hour every time your agency is paged.
  • When in doubt, seek expert consultation … hire a consultant to help translate your needs and craft an effective message.

To connect with one of our fire/EMS consultants and talk in more detail about translating your department’s operational challenges into its financial needs, please click the button below.


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Posted by Nora Culeton

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