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Fire District Self-Assessment Tool 

By Jason Jantzi, Risk Management Consultant – Public Safety

“Just think, you’ll never have to sit in on another conference call or zoom meeting. Enjoy your retirement!” - Unknown 

In case anyone hasn’t noticed, Oregon fire districts have recently had a lot of retirements and subsequent promotions and hirings. In my travels around the state, I am meeting more individuals who are not familiar with the local requirements and resources. This leads me to a question, do the new people in these positions know what is needed or where to check? Do you? If not, allow me to share a resource with you.  

If you have been around a while or attended conferences where I have spoken recently, you should have heard me discuss the self-assessment tool available on the SDAO website. This self-assessment was designed to be used by the fire district board and chief officers to aid in evaluating areas where the district may have weaknesses. This self-assessment is based on federal, state, and local laws, along with best practices taken from consensus standards such as ANSI, NPFA, ISO, and other organizations. It is your responsibility as the fire district board and management team to review any relevant rules and standards to figure out your level of compliance. How you go ahead after your review should be based on your appetite for risk taking. While SDAO staff strives to be comprehensive, we know this tool is not an exhaustive list, as this information is constantly changing. This is just one way to help you assess your district. The current list of topics is below: 

  • Board Policies and Practices 
  • Behavioral Health Program 
  • Cancer Risk Factor Reduction 
  • Contractual Agreements Best Practices 
  • Facilities Use and Outside Trainers 
  • Facilities Maintenance Best Practices 
  • Health and Safety Section - Oregon OSHA 
  • Personnel Management 
  • Recruitment and Promotional Process 
  • Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Drones) 
  • Vehicle Operations 
  • Youth Firefighter Program - Cadet Firefighters 

When you review the assessing statements in the tool and find that there are missing or inadequate items, request help from SDAO. My hope is that this tool opens your eyes to areas that could use improvement. It is meant to be a conversation starter with the intention of ensuring you are meeting at least the minimum standards of care for not only your staff members but also the community at large.  

Find the entire self-assessment tool here