Innovations Grant
Overview

Developed by Randy Kerkman
Public Works Director
Town of Bristol

In 2000 Bristol was a finalist and received a grant from a Program of the Ford Foundation and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, in partnership with the Council for Excellence in Government. 

This program addresses how small town government can provide professional fire and rescue services for less cost than full time fire and rescue departments. Small municipalities do not have enough incidents to justify a full time department. Volunteer departments are having greater difficulty handling daytime incidents because of the lack of fire volunteers available during the day. This is in part because businesses cannot afford to let employees go on a call during work hours and there are few second or third shift workers available for daytime incidents.

In the past, volunteer departments were able to rely on the family farmer or small local business owners to run incidents during the day. But the loss of small family owned farms and businesses and the increase of corporate America is not conducive to the volunteer system. There is a crisis in rural America in having adequately trained fire and rescue personnel during daytime hours. We believe that having public works employees cross-trained in emergency services is the most cost effective way to provide these services to small communities.


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