It takes an enormous amount of work to determine the options available to a specific community or region. The process includes:

  • Educational presentations to participating entities
  • Evaluation of existing systems and centers
  • Conducting a feasibility study
  • Development consolidation model(s) if a consolidated effort is determined to be a viable option
  • Implementation strategy for the consolidation process
  • Coordination of equipment purchase, installation, protocols and testing
  • Ensure operational readiness

In order to be successful, an organization must take a systematic approach to ensure that internal and external needs are met. Key components to a successful cooperative effort include:

  • Operational assessments
  • Service demand assessments
  • Risk management assessment
  • Management, organizational model, and staffing requirements
  • Delivery system requirements and capability assessment
  • Technology requirements and capability assessment
  • The establishment of performance measurements and benchmarks
  • Implementation strategies
  • Fiscal analysis and funding options
  • Identifications of implementation cost
  • Growth considerations

Emergency Services Consulting International (ESCI) has been actively involved for more than ten years in working with emergency service providers that are considering a formal cooperative relationship. ESCI is used exclusively by the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) to provide educational workshops throughout the country on the subject of merger and consolidation.
The process used by ESCI is objective and fair to all parties. Areas that are addressed may include:

  • Political considerations and legal processes
  • Labor/employee issues and concerns
  • System efficiency and effectiveness
  • Elimination of duplication
  • Design specifications
  • ISO grading considerations (if applicable)
  • Industry standards for each discipline
  • Communication center accreditation

Each situation is unique, requiring careful consideration. Consultation with legal counsel and other specialized professionals is a necessary component of protecting the interests of all communities. Seminars are available (and encouraged) to provide an overview of the different types of cooperative strategies, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each.