Our latest research explores fire and rescue service sharing possibilities in the Kenosha County communities of Bristol, Somers, and Paris. We find that Somers and Bristol could reduce future cost increases by pursuing such opportunities, while Paris may be able to secure a higher level of service than it could hope to achieve on its own.
Other key findings:
- The current fire/EMS model meets the needs of residents and businesses in the area with adequate response times. However, there are some vulnerabilities going forward in light of new and anticipated development and recruitment/retention challenges associated with continued use of part-time, paid-on-call staff.
- By joining forces to address these challenges, the three communities could recognize some efficiencies. A single consolidated department would allow for reduced command staff and apparatus and could better compete with neighboring communities for staff. However, geographical barriers limit the potential to achieve significant operational improvements from consolidation.
- Other options outside of a full three-way consolidation may also merit consideration. There is particular opportunity for enhanced sharing or consolidation between Somers and Paris – either by having a new station in western Somers take over some or all service responsibilities in Paris, or having a beefed up station in Paris provide coverage for the western portion of Somers.