- What are the benefits and risks of the selective closure of some stations?
The Local and State governments face economic issues that may take many years to solve. The problems affect public safety departments such as fire fighters and emergency medical services among others. Most of the funding for the service providers come from the general sources such as property tax and, thus, a fall in property prices could result in lower taxes affecting the financing of the departments. However, due to the financial challenges, the agencies may consider closing some stations to cut operational costs the aftermath of which could be such issues as the rising demand for personnel and equipment.
First, the closure of some stations negatively affects the response time, and this is because the solution increases the distance between the various stations widening their areas of jurisdiction. The alternative is, therefore, to increase the time the fire team takes traveling to respond to emergency calls allowing fires enough time to spread and cause more destruction (ICMA, 2010).
Second, the rotational closure of stations may put the highly risky areas even at more risk. For instance, an industrialized or densely populated area is at higher risk of fire compared to rural and sparsely inhabited regions. The more vulnerable areas are, the faster they need the fire team to get there. However, if the rotational closing takes place in such areas with fire breaking out, the society will lose more than what the rotation saves. Additionally, reduction of the fire crew reduces the strength of the teams and thus puts the team as well as the members of the public in danger (ICMA, 2010).
Furthermore, political war may be an outcome of the alternative. For instance, the members of the public will apparently react to the closures of the stations as they will feel that their security is compromised. If the closures and reduction of the crew members are accompanied by layoffs, the labor unions will also react negatively, and the rival politicians might take advantage of this to start political war against each other.
However, despite the above-mentioned risks, there is one financial benefit of reduction of expenditure. While many firms spend between 80% and 90% of salaries and personal benefits (ICMA, 2010), laying off the staff members or temporarily sending them on bench reduces the allowances and work hours. Thus, the employers lower the cost of operations addressing the expenditure issues.
In conclusion, the rotational closing of stations and reduction of the service crew is detrimental to the human safety for it leads to increase in the emergency response time, puts the team in danger due to reduced strength, and creates the possibility of political uproar in reply. However, on the other hand, the option helps to reduce the operational expenditures, but this is not a strong reason to put people's lives at risk.Want an expert to write a paper for you Talk to an operator now
- What are the alternatives to privatization of emergency services department to improve efficiency?
Government and public institutions are usually characterized by inefficiencies due to bureaucracy that tends to increase the cost. One of the solutions to the privatization problem is the handover to entrepreneurs. However, it is not appropriate to privatize all government institutions as this will depict the authorities as weak. Therefore, it is important for public departments to streamline their operations to increase efficiency through the following measures. Apart from relying on the revenues collected from taxation, the emergency departments should find ways of supplementing their finances, for example, by incorporating levying charges upon delivering a service to a client. However, the alteration must not be exploitative but just a small fee to supplement the revenue from taxes (Funding Alternatives for Fire and Emergency Services). This move will help address financial problems the organizations undergoing.
In addition, the departments need to cut their operational costs. Among the ways to do so are lowering the employee-related expenditure as in many firms it constitutes 80% to 90% of the total costs (ICMA, 2010); thus, a wage cut as well as a reduction in overtime and pension benefits are appropriate. For instance, in Los Angeles, the overtime payment rose by 60% in 1998 (ICMA, 2010). The other way of cutting employees-related expenditures is by reducing headcount of new recruits. The reason is that the cost of hiring, training, and paying off pension and benefits is more than 50% of the employees-related expenditure. The way of reducing these costs is to pay the existing workers to work longer hours as opposed to hiring of new people (ICMA, 2010).
In conclusion, inefficiencies in the public departments require privatization of services to improve performance. However, it is not wise to privatize all government functions and, thus, it is appropriate for the agencies to adopt measures like reduction of costs involved in hiring as well as wages and overtime as ways of improving efficiency.
- How can the emergency services departments show tax papers that the services are worth the value of what they pay?
When the members of the public pay taxes, they are entitled to quality services that suit the amount they remit to the authorities in the form of taxes. Therefore, the citizens have a right to question the authorities regarding the services offered. Timely response is a crucial factor that needs consideration in the process of service delivery (Tasmanian Bushfires Inquiry, 2013). The reason is that the longer the time was taken, the worse the damage and vice versa (ICMA, 2010). The emergency services providers must, therefore, ensure that in cases of fire, fire engines are dispatched without a delay to control the situation. Additionally, ambulance and out of hospital medical response are crucial as they are a determinant of the death or survival of the casualties.
The emergency services departments are responsible for ensuring that they have the required medical and firefighting equipment for the appropriate response. The reason is that the relevant machines determine the quality of services offered. For instance, in case of fire in a multi-stored building, the fire brigade must respond with ladders that can reach the fire point. The medical team must also have the machines for various purposes such as administering shocks to manage cardiac arrests among others (ICMA, 2010).
It is the duty of the emergency services department to hire qualified personnel to make sure that the services delivered are of high quality (ICMA, 2010). For instance, the firefighters and the medical team workers must be certified to make sure that they perform their duties appropriately without worsening the situation or leaving a room for increasing the damage through negligence.
In conclusion, citizens need to get the value of the taxes they pay, and they can do this through quality services. The government through its various departments, therefore, has a responsibility of giving people what they deserve. Some of the ways of doing this are: ensuring timely response to hazards and disasters, purchasing the required emergency response equipment as well as employing highly trained personnel to serve people in the compelling manner as dictated by the work ethics of the emergency service professionals.