External review of Huntington Fire Department complete

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Huntington, W. Va. – (WOWK) The City of Huntington has released the findings of a review of equipment maintenance issues and policies at the Huntington Fire Department. 

Mayor Steve Williams asked the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety to conduct the review this spring.  DMAPS Secretary Jeff Sandy put together the review team. 

Among the findings is that the responsibility for improper maintenance of the equipment couldn’t be placed on one individual.  It was a series of failures that stemmed from outdated policies that aren’t clear on who is responsible for equipment maintenance.  The review also pointed out the lack of a clear command structure that delegates responsibilities starting at the fire chief down through the ranks. 

To address those issues the review team recommends updating those policies and creating a command structure allowing the fire chief to empower upper management of the department to allow them to take ownership and be held accountable and hold their subordinates accountable. 

It was also recommended by the state fire marshal and union representatives that the firefighters fill out a staff interview questionnaire to give their thoughts on the department.  Additionally, the review suggested a peer review team to look at the department and make suggestions to the mayor.  

Mayor Williams says he will go ahead with all of the review teams recommendations.

“I am encouraged that this external review revealed what I and our citizens have known for some time – that that men and women of the Huntington Fire Department are committed to protecting lives and property to the fullest extent possible,” Mayor Williams said. “Furthermore, I am optimistic that the recommendations put forth by the review team concerning the adoption of updated policies and procedures regarding maintenance of fire apparatuses and a refined command structure aimed at improving management relations will resolve the Fire Department’s issues outlined in the report.” 

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