Clackamas Fire volunteers pool into state's largest force
The two fire districts will also share joint wellness services, joint IT services and joint EMS service coordination
Two local fire districts have completed the unprecedented step of establishing a joint volunteer program and sharing other collaborative joint services beginning July 1.
In unanimous votes of support on June 14 and June 20, the Clackamas Fire District No. 1 and Boring Fire District No. 59 governing boards both unanimously authorized the signing of a comprehensive intergovernmental agreement.
Both districts will use a joint volunteer force of 168 that will be more than double the size of any other fire department in Oregon. The volunteer forces were previously the first and third largest in the state.
The first program of its type in Oregon will dissolve the Clackamas Fire District Volunteer Association and join the Boring Association under a new joint name, utilizing the shared values of both districts' members, including teamwork, determination and a passion for excellence in customer service.
Beginning in November, the districts formed a joint ad hoc committee to research and evaluate ways they could work together in the administration of their volunteer programs and be more efficient.
The program proposal, the result of an 'outstanding collaborative effort of numerous individuals,' was designed based on the input and assessment from volunteers, administrative staff, career firefighters and union representatives, according to a joint statement made by the departments.
At the beginning of the process, the committee developed a purpose statement that was used throughout the development of the joint program. The statement read, 'To look at both volunteer programs and research and evaluate what we may be able to do together to enhance our volunteer programs, avoid duplicating services, create new opportunities for volunteers from both agencies, and share resources in order to create a joint volunteer force to provide exceptional service to the citizens of both agencies.'
One of the main elements of the program will be the creation of a joint volunteer division office in which each agency will provide one full-time employee consisting of a volunteer coordinator and an administrative assistant. In addition, the two fire districts will share joint wellness services, joint IT services, joint EMS service coordination, joint physician adviser services, joint civil service commissions and firefighter testing, joint training for volunteers and career crews, joint recruiting and a joint volunteer academy to begin in January 2012.
'As other fire districts and volunteer agencies across the state and the nation are losing members and having difficulty with recruiting and retention, Boring Fire District and Clackamas Fire District have found ways in which their volunteer crews complement and enhance their career crews, and our volunteer membership is increasing and drawing applications at a record-setting number,' said Steve McAdoo, Clackamas Fire's public information officer.