Chief James Howard presented the Owensboro Fire Department Strategic Plan for 2022-27 earlier this week. He said through seven initiatives, OFD will be able to improve both within the department and with their reception from the community.
The initiatives range from enhancing the community risk reduction and operational effectiveness to efficiency of emergency service response and communication.
When they were framing the plan, OFD wanted to strengthen and enhance their presence in the neighborhoods they are a part of.
“Some of our stations are more ‘neighborhood stations’ than others. The kids come by to get their bike tires aired up, come out and get a drink, play basketball with our firefighters,” Howard said. “We recognize that it’s extremely important to us personally and professionally.”
A survey sent to the community about OFD ultimately came back with respondents giving a 9.4 satisfaction rating out of 10, and Howard hopes to continue to improve.
Howard also noted OFD was given an ISO2 rating by the Insurance Services Office. He hopes to be declared an ISO1 as they look ahead to the next 5 years.
As part of their first initiative, Howard said OFD is looking to improve more public education programs, code enforcement programs and fire investigation programs.
Their other initiatives are as follows:
- Improve our personnel development
- Enhance operational effectiveness and efficiency of our emergency service delivery
- Improve the health and safety of our responders
- Meet the current and future resource needs to meet our mission
- Improve recruitment and retention
- Improve internal and external communications
The health and safety of the responders came up frequently in the SWOT analysis, and Howard said the department plans to address it.
“We need to be responsive to that,” Howard said. “And it’s something where you can never be good enough when it comes to health and safety.”