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An Inquiry into Fire Service Consolidation and the Economies of Scale Debate: The Centralization Versus Decentralization Argument

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Date Issued:
2016
Summary:
Addressing the current homeland security challenges requires scholars, practitioners, elected officials, and community partners working in unison to mitigate the hazards confronting first responders. Built on public choice theory, this research addressed a specific component of the emergency preparedness matrix: the most preferred fire service organizational design. The fire department organizational designs in this study included a Florida county, city, and independent special control fire district (ISFCD) that serve residents on a full-time platform. The concurrent embedded methodology used attempted to unearth which organizational design achieves economies of scale based on quarterly emergency service calls: the centralized county model or the decentralized city/ISFCD models. This study was an inquiry into the centralization versus decentralization argument, with emphases on fire service scale economies and inter-local service agreements Using multiple linear regression modeling accompanied by face-to-face interviews with the respective fire chiefs, this research showed that the county and ISFCD achieve scale economies over 44 quarters, fiscal years 2004-2014. Moreover, the interviews uncovered that response times were the driving factor behind instituting voluntary inter-local service agreements between the three fire departments. Other positive benefits from the service agreements include an increase in personnel and scene safety, dispatch center protocol enhancements, multi-company/jurisdictional training, overtime savings on large-scale disaster incidents, and trust building. The implications of this research for the scholarly and practitioner community include a better understanding of the technical and allocative efficiencies within the fire service arena. Melding public choice theory with strands of inter-local service agreement literature provides policymakers and scholars with a template for uncovering the fire service production/provision narrative. Though the centralization-decentralization argument is not solved within the research scope presented, the future narrative as uncovered in the research requires a citizenry inclusion. The future public choice prescriptions regarding fire service consolidation requires not only statistical modeling, but a normative democratic ethos tone incorporating multiple stakeholders with the citizens’ concerns at the forefront.
Title: An Inquiry into Fire Service Consolidation and the Economies of Scale Debate: The Centralization Versus Decentralization Argument.
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Name(s): D’Angelo III, Salvatore A., author
Thai, Khi V., Thesis advisor
Florida Atlantic University, Degree grantor
College for Design and Social Inquiry
School of Public Administration
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Electronic Thesis Or Dissertation
Date Created: 2016
Date Issued: 2016
Publisher: Florida Atlantic University
Place of Publication: Boca Raton, Fla.
Physical Form: application/pdf
Extent: 218 p.
Language(s): English
Summary: Addressing the current homeland security challenges requires scholars, practitioners, elected officials, and community partners working in unison to mitigate the hazards confronting first responders. Built on public choice theory, this research addressed a specific component of the emergency preparedness matrix: the most preferred fire service organizational design. The fire department organizational designs in this study included a Florida county, city, and independent special control fire district (ISFCD) that serve residents on a full-time platform. The concurrent embedded methodology used attempted to unearth which organizational design achieves economies of scale based on quarterly emergency service calls: the centralized county model or the decentralized city/ISFCD models. This study was an inquiry into the centralization versus decentralization argument, with emphases on fire service scale economies and inter-local service agreements Using multiple linear regression modeling accompanied by face-to-face interviews with the respective fire chiefs, this research showed that the county and ISFCD achieve scale economies over 44 quarters, fiscal years 2004-2014. Moreover, the interviews uncovered that response times were the driving factor behind instituting voluntary inter-local service agreements between the three fire departments. Other positive benefits from the service agreements include an increase in personnel and scene safety, dispatch center protocol enhancements, multi-company/jurisdictional training, overtime savings on large-scale disaster incidents, and trust building. The implications of this research for the scholarly and practitioner community include a better understanding of the technical and allocative efficiencies within the fire service arena. Melding public choice theory with strands of inter-local service agreement literature provides policymakers and scholars with a template for uncovering the fire service production/provision narrative. Though the centralization-decentralization argument is not solved within the research scope presented, the future narrative as uncovered in the research requires a citizenry inclusion. The future public choice prescriptions regarding fire service consolidation requires not only statistical modeling, but a normative democratic ethos tone incorporating multiple stakeholders with the citizens’ concerns at the forefront.
Identifier: FA00004674 (IID)
Degree granted: Dissertation (Ph.D.)--Florida Atlantic University, 2016.
Collection: FAU Electronic Theses and Dissertations Collection
Note(s): Includes bibliography.
Subject(s): Emergency management -- Decision making
Metropolitan government -- United States
Municipal services -- United States
Organizational effectiveness
Preparedness -- Government policy
Regional planning
Held by: Florida Atlantic University Libraries
Sublocation: Digital Library
Links: http://purl.flvc.org/fau/fd/FA00004674
Persistent Link to This Record: http://purl.flvc.org/fau/fd/FA00004674
Use and Reproduction: Copyright © is held by the author, with permission granted to Florida Atlantic University to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
Use and Reproduction: http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC/1.0/
Host Institution: FAU
Is Part of Series: Florida Atlantic University Digital Library Collections.