Improving the Operational Planning Process

Issue 8 and Volume 164.

BY BILLY SCHMIDT The fire service is entering an era of “do more with less.” Even while many fire departments remain understaffed, they are still expected to be more efficient. The challenge for fire service organizations is to save time, focus on the real issues, and effectively communicate their vision to all members. It takes everyone in the organization to generate efficiency. Doing this means improving the operational planning process within the fire department. Below is a brief description of an approach in which fire department planners can narrow their scope on what’s important and ensure the rapid flow of information and operational requirements to execute safely, effectively, and efficiently. The goal of this practice is to solicit cross-domain expertise to improve fire department operational planning. TOP DOWN VS. BOTTOM UP Every organization operates from two, often disconnected, strategies. The directed strategy comes from the “top” of the organization (i.e.,…

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