Fire fighters are important people that have to be incorporated in planning of any town to help in putting off the fires whenever they occur. Consequently Pike, a small town in Ohio that has heavily relied on volunteers wants to upgrade the sector and full-time fire fighters who will also be having meals at the station. Initially the only meal that used to be offered was breakfast pancake but this will soon change as the kitchen is to be expanded to accommodate more food and cooking facilities.
Background and statement of the problem
As it happens in many fire stations across the United States, the city authorities do not usually provide food for their fire fighters, be they full time employees or volunteers. In this regard, the city council of Ohio will only be involved in a very minimal manner in providing food for these proposed fire fighters. This means that the bulk of the feeding program will have to be fully financed by the fire fighters themselves. This stands out as one of the main challenges fro which appropriate solutions must be adequately provided.
Other areas that will have to require appropriate addressing will be involving the cooking process itself. It should be understood that not all the fire fighters are good cooks, even though some think very strongly that they are. Another sticking issue is that many people usually have personal preferences and tastes with regard to food types that they eat. Worse still, some fighters could be on special diet occasioned by their health conditions.
It will also be require that each fire fighter meet the cost of his or her food and this must be done in an equitable manner. The challenge here will be the fact that not everyone eats the same amount of food. Also, due to the fact that there will the duty rotation system, some favorite foods could end up going to waste when some of the fire fighters for whom they were prepared could be off duty. It should also be understood here that buying different varieties of foods in bulk is more cost effective, this is an option that will be found very handy in this proposal.
Data gathering techniques
Data for this task was mainly obtained by secondary research methodology. The libary was a very useful source of information for this particular research. Secondly, I made great use of the internet to do my research.
The research findings here established that in most cases firefighters usually go for 2-3 straight 24-hour day shifts. This is then followed by four or three days off. Normally, their operation has to be within mess due to the long shifts and the prerequisite that they stay at the station unless summoned away for official business. On other occasions, the fire fighters could the option of walking in to near by fast food cafes where they get ready made food especially for their mid day meals.
Under the arrangement of common mess, fire fighters have to contribute to raise the funds of buying their food. For instance, each member within a shift could contribute $ 10 or $ 15 per 24-hour day to raise the fund that will take care of the three meals. IRS.gov (2009) explains that the contribution could also be deductable if it so required as an official rule and not deductible whenever it is voluntary. Only 50% of the actual food contribution has to be deducted incase of a business meal. When they choose to visit cafes, it becomes more convenient since each fire fighter orders only what he or she wants to have, based on whether they are able to finance it.
On occasions when the city authorities provide meals for the fire fighters, it is always generalized, thereby completely ignoring any special considerations. For these cases, the food is either completely free or is highly subsidized.
It is also found that to keep their bodies in good shape, fire fighters have to ensure that their meals contain the right amount of nutrients which are well balanced. They therefore should avoid a lot of fats and cholesterol meals but just taken in small amounts (The Wondering Tax Pro, 2008).
Keeping in mind that different people harbor different tastes and preferences when it comes to their favorite meals, it is important that food is bought in bulk, and this has to take care of these differences. Some food stuffs could be bought whenever they are to be included on the recipe. All members of the force must be present during the vetting of the foods that should be bought in bulk.
On the occasions when the fire fighters have their meals outside the fire stations, it is more flexible since each will buy only what they want and also can afford.
Any given shift could be made up of a blend of members consisting of those who know how to cook and those who do not know how to cook well. Alternatively those who feel that they good cooks and yet they are not could have to be put together in the same shift (IRS.gov, 2009).
Cooking could be done in shifts by allocating who prepares which meal while on shift. In some cases, if one volunteers to do the cooking he or she should be allowed to do so. On many occasions, an agreeable formula should arrived at by all members in finding who should cook next
Those who own up as not being good cooks could carry out some other activities related to food preparation like washing utensils, cleaning up the kitchen after meals and going to purchase food (Spitller, 2009).
There are many alternatives that could be employed for planning cost sharing of the meals for fire fighters. First of all when it comes to contribution for the meal funds, as already looked at above:
- Everybody could contribute equally since everyone will take the same number of days in a shift
- Alternatively those on the shift can contribute for meals of each day on the shift
- At regular intervals all officers could visit the restaurants outside the fire station
- Every officer orders what they want and individually pay for it
- If required by law, the fund will be deductible from their salaries
- If it voluntary, no deductions will be made.
- An agreement will have to be reached as what meal should be purchased by funds from the city
- Those who eat more food pose no threat as there are also those who eat less.
Evaluation of the alternatives and recommendations
Purchasing food in bulk is beneficial because it is cost effective. On the other hand having to buy food on daily basis due to different preferences of those on the shift is somehow a tedious undertaking. Buying ready made food from cafes is time effective ad eliminates the problem of personal preferences and tastes. It also promotes equitability. The best way to go when it comes to purchasing the meals should be a combination of both of these approaches (Garcia, 2009).
Food preparation should be made as flexible as possible. Inculcating a greater sense of discipline and responsibility within the force by the chief officer and his or her deputies will be a good approach. The best way to go is cooking in shifts. Even though some fighters are not good cooks, even if they don’t admit, once identified, they have to help in doing other jobs (The Wondering Tax Pro, 2009).
Cost sharing is also another crucial area and all members will have to contribute towards their meals. Having to contribute daily is not a good idea as members may not always have ready cash. Required contribution ensures that no one defaults as deduction is done automatically (Esselstyn, 2009). On the other hand, voluntary contribution can also be used but since everyone has to eat, this could not work because some may fail to but still eat.
Purchasing of food has to integrate both buying food in bulk and also periodically as required by the recipe. Individuals’ preferences should be included while purchasing food during shift days. Any leftovers that arise due any circumstances should be appropriately recycled. This avoids unnecessary wastes.
Preparation has just to be in shift with fighters who are not good at cooking carrying out some duties such washing the utensils and cleaning the kitchen.
Finally, the approach for cost sharing is through required fund contribution because it will ensure that no one defaults.