Newport Fire Chief Phil Paige told his city council during a workshop on Tuesday that a Wilsonville-based emergency services consulting firm can help coastal fire departments grow more smartly as independent departments or as collaborators with adjacent departments. It’s all about how ECSI gathers information and gives each department a report card as well as a plan that could make them stronger and more effective, again as stand-alone or as inter-connected departments.
Such things as sharing training, equipment purchases, mutual response tactics, levels of service, resource allocation and reducing personnel costs are just a few variables that Chief Paige says ECSI can explore. He told the council that every fire department in the county, except for Toledo, wants to have the company perform a county-wide assessment of all departments, an assessment that each department is kicking in money to pay for. Newport’s share would be $12,000. City Manager Jim Voetberg, who appeared very supportive of the move, said although there were no funds budgeted in the current fiscal year for it, he and Finance Director David Marshall can “find the money” and make it up later.
Chief Paige later pitched the council on getting two new part-time positions added to his department; one an administrative person to take care of paperwork, the other an emergency medical coordinator to keep first responders certified for what they’re doing during emergencies. His request on these two items was met a lot less warmly than for the fire consultant assessment proposal. But the council said they’ll see what they can do about it…maybe approve the administrative help…”but there’s other ways to keep the troops certified” seemed to be the consensus of the moment.