What Does 2019 Have in Store for Fire Departments?

ESO Staff

If we peer into the crystal ball, what will we see in 2019? For fire departments, we see awareness of mental health and overall wellness as a big topic. We also see data continuing to play an important role in determining long-term impacts of code changes and to help shape implementation of service delivery enhancements.

Below, we explore four trends we believe will have the biggest impact on fire departments in 2019. For a deeper look at each of these trends and recommended actions, download our 2019 Fire Predictions whitepaper.

  • Awareness of mental health and overall wellness will be an area of focus:
    Increased acknowledgement of wear and tear (especially around cancer and suicide since they are the top two killers) – and ways to address the issue – will continue to gain momentum. Departments will need to create programs to prepare, educate, and respond to mental and physical health needs, including budget consideration, preventative measures, and the potential impact on other resources. From a software perspective, we will begin to see functions and features that create reporting and automatic flags to help agencies develop proactive programs for responders.
  • Large-scale events will place funding challenges and response times in the spotlight:
    Large-scale events will continue to occur and bring into sharp focus funding challenges, response times, mutual aid resources, etc. Many large-scale events are regional in nature; however, the response to these types of events tends to be national in scope as departments from around the country send people and equipment to assist. Data will play an increasingly important role to help firefighters improve response planning and objectively provide responses to criticism of managing large-scale fires.
  • Visibility and accessibility to data will continue to increase in importance:
    In 2019, the value and importance of data and data insights will increase as departments across the country leverage data to determine long-term impacts of code changes and to help shape implementation of service delivery enhancements. Additionally, data will help fire departments create a narrative that can easily be shared with government officials and citizens.
  • Budget scrutiny and pressure will continue to increase:
    Budget scrutiny will continue to be an issue in 2019 and budget pressure will ratchet up. According to ESO’s 2018 Fire Trends Report, fire-related calls accounted for 30 percent of all calls while EMS-related calls accounted for about 70 percent of all calls, which will increase scrutiny around investments and budget dollars related to fire. Tracking of dollars to create benchmarks and measure relevant outcomes, including anticipating needs during large-scale events, will improve conversations with city council and local governing bodies.


How are these trends affecting you and your department? Download the 2019 Fire Predictions now for suggested tips and recommendation to face these trends head on.

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