Milwaukee Area Chiefs Consider Consolidation
At a meeting of the Milwaukee County Fire Chief’s Association early this year, Allen S. Dimoff, chief engineer of the Milwaukee Fire Insurance Rating Bureau, presented a plan to consolidate the county’s 21 fire departments into a single organization. The plan provides for placing the City of Milwaukee’s 1,015 firemen and the 480 paid men in 18 suburban cities under a single administrative head. There would be no reduction in the total of 57 fire stations, but 15 of them would be relocated or replaced.
The suburban chiefs are studying Dimoff’s report, which cited areas where fire protection suffers because apparatus of the responsible community is much farther away than that of a neighboring city. For example, Milwaukee’s Engine 35 and Ladder 16 are only a few hundred yards from a suburban residential district protected by a department which must travel 1 1/2 miles—including railroad grade crossings—to reach the neighborhood. In another area, one suburban department must travel several miles to protect property within a mile of a second department’s headquarters.
Dimoff sees these other advantages:
- Qucker dispatching of apparatus through one office.
- Wider promotional opportunities for fire fighters in small departments.
- Uniformity of training and equipment.
- Lowered insurance rates—immediate reduction in many areas, with others to follow later.
Approval of all the municipalities involved would be required to adopt the plan. The resulting county agency would be similar to those administering several other areas of government in the Milwaukee area.