DHFD reviewing services merger with Garden City

By BOB OLIVER
Times-Herald Newspapers

HEIGHTS — The Fire Department is exploring a possible merging of services with Garden City but Fire Chief Dave Brogan said the process is in its infancy.

“I’m going to review what they do and talk to crews in Garden City to get a feel for their workday and operations,” Brogan said. “We’re not looking to do anything radical. We’re not looking to do a takeover, we just want to see what we can do together.”

Brogan said that his department has 48 suppression firefighters and five administrators in two stations at the north and south ends of the city while Garden City has one fire station and between 18 and 20 firefighters.

He added that there are several things the departments could do together to save on costs.

“We could do EMS billing and software the same way, purchase medical equipment together and share administrative tasks,” Brogan said. “We do run in a similar fashion so it would be a natural extension to work together and we already back each other up on runs on a regular basis.”

Brogan said the city has observed how the merger between Dearborn and Melvindale in 2013 has worked out for both cities.

“The Dearborn and Melvindale fire merger has worked out well, but they also have a different layout as far as where the stations are in connection to the other city,” Brogan said. “We have a different setup here.”

Brogan said there is no timetable for any decision on what services could merge but that he was going to start investigating it this month.

“I’ve been waiting to start investigating this until their (Garden City’s) city council had a chance to discuss it,” Brogan said. “I want everyone to be comfortable with what’s going on.”

He added that any possible merging of operations has to benefit both cities.

“Is there an opportunity here for saving or will it just be a headache?” Brogan said. “That’s what I’m looking at. How far can we go and have it be beneficial and cost-effective for both cities?”

Calls to Garden City Fire Chief Catherine Harman were not returned by press time.

(Bob Oliver can be reached at boliver@bewickpublications.com.)