An analysis of fire department and ambulance integration from a process perspective, utilizing Winnipeg, Manitoba as a case study
Richardson, Gary R.
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This paper examines the issue of Fire Service and Ambulance Service integration/amalgamation through analysis of several North American municipalities who have followed various models in their attempt to partially merge or fully amalgamate services. The history of the Winnipeg Services provides clear and salient examples of why this issue is so difficult to resolve and the myriad of arguments, for and against, that emerge each time it is mentioned. Yet, despite the arguments, the question continues to surface at the political level for a variety of reasons and in response to a set of ever changing conditions. It became evident to the writer of this paper, after over two years of study, interviews, research, and familiarization with the issues, that to create yet another report with a series of recommendations for or against merger, would simply relegate the document to its respective stack of already completed reports. While it is apparent that if Winnipeg wants more efficien and effective emergency Services, a full amalgamation of the Fire and Ambulance departments is a way to achieve them, it is also as evident that the process through which this is achieved is crucial to success, for despite the content of other reports, it was universally the process that determined success or failure in the jurisdictions studied. It became clear to me that only through designing a truly fair and equitable process, which is research based and information driven, can the cycle be broken, and valid results obtained. This is a people problem, and for this reason, which is all too often ignored, the process must involve the people who will work in whatever system is created. This involvement must occur at every step, from research to implementation. A process as described in this paper makes a successful merger possible. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)