Firefighter Training, Firefighting

Virginia department launches communication initiative

The Richmond (VA) Department of Fire and Emergency Services announced that it is initiating the Building Bridges project to improve its communications with the community and within the Department.

“As the City of Richmond has grown and its workforce becomes more diverse, there is a need to understand the generational, cultural, ethnic, religion and language differences that have grown at the same time,” said Fire Chief Robert Creecy. “These differences present new challenges that both emergency service workers and community members must address so that the needs of the community and fire department can be better understood.”

“The Building Bridges initiative seeks to enhance our relationship with the community so that we can promote a greater degree of safety for our citizens and firefighters,” said the Chief.

Building Bridges will undertake a participatory, culturally-relevant approach involving key stakeholders in the community and fire department. This will enable joint community-department ownership of an action plan that will provide short and long-term recommendations designed to reinforce existing best practices, as well as create a framework for new policies and practices.

“Developing a climate of open communication, where key community and organizational issues are recognized quickly and addressed appropriately, is essential for meeting today’s public safety needs,” said the Chief.

The TriData division of Arlington, Virginia.-based System Planning Corporation, a nationally recognized public safety firm with over 25 years of national fire department consulting experience, has been selected to implement the Building Bridges initiative. TriData has performed more than 160 fire and emergency management studies nationwide. In Virginia last year it was selected by Governor Tim Kaine to provide technical assistance to the Virginia Tech Review Panel.