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I currently serve as the mayor of the City of Milan. I feel transparency and open government are important to a thriving democracy. I invite you to post questions or comments ---if you have any ideas about things you'd like me to discuss, relating to the City of Milan, this blog is a great place to exchange ideas. You must include your name, (first and last) and town to have your comments posted here.


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Let’s talk about it…

I believe our paid on-call firefighters fire chief, both past and present (including all retirees) have done, a fantastic and noble job providing us with fire protection for all these years.

Even so, we can build on what is already a high quality service. I'm talking about things like, much faster response time, more efficient use of current personnel and equipment, locally controlled with our own residents' needs the focus of how the department is managed and run.

The model we have in mind would be a public safety department, with the same paid on-call fire fighters that are on the current MAFD roster. They do a great job, there is no reason they can't continue doing a great job for the City of Milan.  This would provide faster response time on medical calls. Why? Because we would use our police officers for medical calls since they are always on patrol 24/7. (Our police officers would undergo public safety training and would now become our first responders. Moreover, because they are always out on patrol anyway, when an emergency call comes in, they are already on the road and that would decrease the time between the 911 call being made and the responders arriving on the scene.


As usual, HVA would be dispatched for a life threatening medical call, while in the meantime our first response team would already be on-scene. HVA charges the individual they service, not the municipality. This is why this type of call would be cheaper and more efficient for the city. Paid on-call firefighters should be dispatched when there is a fire or life threatening situation, or when our professional first-responders evaluate the scene and determine that fire is needed.

Paid on-call firefighters are dispatched whenever there is a fire or life threatening situation, such as I just mentioned.

I'm currently working on a report that will tell us on average how many actual fire calls the City of Milan has per year. I can assure you that most of the Fire calls INSIDE THE CITY are medical calls and not fire calls. From January to mid-March, according to the most recent quarterly MAFD run report, the City of Milan dispatched the MAFD 39 times. Of those 39 times, only one call was a fire call. The other thirty-eight calls were medical or "good intention" calls. Generally speaking, the City of Milan has very few actual fires and there have been times when the City of Milan has had ZERO fire calls in a 3 month period. Because of this frequency we would be remiss not to explore a better, more efficient way to provide emergency and fire protection to our residents.

I know many people are asking how we would pay for this and fund the training required to move forward.

Please understand those questions are why we are discussing this in the open as a council and with our residents. These questions are also the reason why I am organizing a citizen advisory board. This board will comprise of City of Milan residents, some with years of firefighting experience both professionally and on the MAFD and even some of our own Milan police officers who are already certified fire fighters, a fire chief and a few regular citizens. If this new department is to be successful, our citizenry must have some ownership in the creation of it.

As mayor, I did not just wake up a few days ago and decide, "Hey—I think we will withdraw from the MAFD and start our own department!" without doing some homework and research with my professional staff first.

I want to assure all the residents that if the council were to approve withdrawing from the MAFD, we are required to give one year's notice of intent to leave the MAFD first. This means that we would have a year to establish a new department, funding, and terms for the withdrawal. Bottom line: things like this take time—I am not (and the council members are not) interested in making fast and hasty decisions.

While the council is discussing this possibility-- it does not mean this is automatically going to happen. This is not a new idea---past administrations at the City of Milan have mulled this idea among themselves. I am simply proposing we mull over this idea in public.

I welcome everyone to attend our Milan city council work sessions and meetings. Feel free to ask us questions or to voice your concerns and more importantly share your ideas.


This is the time for healthy dialog. Join the conversation.

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