Functions of Management in the Fire Department.
A fire department can be defined as a group of people that are organized in a manner intended to provide emergency and non-emergency services to protect lives and property and to render humanitarian services. These services are provided to citizens through fire companies, which can be described as a subdivision of the fire department. Company officers are the ones carrying the responsibility to direct the members of their companies (firefighters) in order to provide the highest level of service. They are the "link between the fire department administration and the firefighters of the department" (IFSTA, 1981, p. 2). The management of the fire department administration as well as the management of fire companies is based on the four functions of the management process: planning, organizing, leading, and controlling.
The planning function includes establishing goals, developing procedures, and predicting the organization's future (Dessler, 2001, p.5). At the administration level, managers are referred as Chiefs. They are responsible for setting the department's goals and objectives. Two years ago, upper management initiated a strategic planning process to develop the FY 2003 Operational Plan. The main objective of the strategic planning was to identify key strategic goals to be achieved by the department. The plan identified forty two goals that are related to one of three strategic issues or focal points. The first strategic issue is capacity development, or the capacity within the department to "effectively address the life safety, property, and environmental protection needs of our community." The second strategic issue is integration into and education of the Fairfax County Community, which refers to external relationships that the department needs in order to become an effective community partner. The third strategic issue is to influence public policy formulation and implementation.