Fire officials are celebrating this month after the department recently wrapped up a district-wide reorganization that now stands to better serve the community for years to come.
The need for a redefinition of job descriptions and ranks became clear in 2008 when Station 2 opened its doors. Engineer positions were left vacant when existing engineers were promoted to lieutenants, Windsor Severance Fire Rescue spokesman Todd Vess said. Then in 2010, the department began working on a plan to introduce “succession planning,” which had never been done before within the department.
“Windsor Severance Fire Rescue did not have adequately defined roles for most of its staff,” Vess said. “In addition, the structure did not fit in line with surrounding agencies.”
The changes have been a long time in the works. Late in 2010, officials began evaluating how to revolutionize the department and put it on a better path toward success, recognizing that the community was growing — and changing — and crews were going to have to adapt. That meant redefining job duties and expectations, mission statements and even job titles from the most entry level firefighter to the fire chief.
Now the people in each and every role throughout the department are the best at what they do and answer to a strict set of guidelines. As Vess put it, they’re “subject matter experts within their position.”
It’s been an elaborate game of chess with in the department. First an operations chief position was created, followed by three shift captain promotions to battalion chief. From there, a large-scale reorganization of lieutenants ensured qualified people were taking the lead on every incident and with every truck — every shift.
“This increased efficiency allowed us to free up funding for these positions without any increase in funding from the taxpayers and without cutting any essential services,” Vess said.
It also allowed for a more regimented incident command structure during large-scale incidents like structure fires or vehicle crashes. That continued and more specialized training opened doors and streamlined operations in a huge way, Vess said.
Most recently, nine firefighters were promoted to the rank of engineer including Brent Jungemann, Ian Gordon, Craig Fisher, Kyle Doak, Nate Berryman, Brian Coe, Kelly King, Mike Matzke and Mike Koch. That was in addition to testing in July that promoted three Windsor Severance Fire Rescue candidates to the rank of lieutenant — Dave Godbold, Josh Carnes and Erik Morse.
Even while the ranking systems within the department largely go unseen to the general public, officials are celebrating a successful, large-scale changeup that has revolutionized how the crews interact, respond and deal with incidents big and small. It’s been palpable on the daily side of operations, and the effects, officials said, will continue to show.
“Windsor Severance Fire Rescue now has organizational clarity with defined roles from the board to the newest rookie,” Fire Chief Herb Brady said in a written statement. “We have all of the components to make this a world class organization.”