Public Safety Planning For Our Future
On Tuesday, April 24, 2018, I am thrilled to announce that we officially appointed, Mr. James Simmons as Head of Suppression Department. Due to the types of calls that we have which is more medical and motor vehicle accidents the department will be named, McLendon-Chisholm Fire Rescue. His official title is Fire Chief James Simmons.
Fire Chief Simmons started his first day on Wednesday, April 25, 2018. He is assisting our City Secretary fill out all of the SAFER Grant documents to meet the deadlines and much of the administration information to get started.
All of this is completely new to us. With anything “new” we are going to experience things that are different. Will there be challenges? Of course there will be. To have a great success in anything takes hard work, dedication and perseverance. Back in October when I presented a proposal for a feasibility study, included was a wishlist of what is common for most successful fire departments. Which was Volunteer Programs and a Citizen Academy. Chief Simmons gave me reassurance this is something that he can do and will partner with us with all communication vehicles necessary to achieve this. We are already making plans for him to be on our next coffee chat broadcast. He will be contributing information to our next OEM newsletter. He will be able to utilize our website if needed, as well as, communicate through social media.
Is This Really What The Citizens Want?
According to our recent 2017/2018 survey, below is the question that we asked:
“Would you support the City forming a Fire/Rescue/EMS department, led by an experienced and qualified full-time Chief whose focus will be to build the largest, best equipped, most highly trained all-volunteer department in Rockwall County? This department will welcome all career emergency services professionals, who reside in M-C and surrounding areas and gratefully utilize their skills to support our volunteers in situations such as major motor vehicle accidents or structure fires.”
40.09% Strongly supported and 27.08% Support.
That is 67% out of 471 citizens that responded.
I can’t stress enough the importance of filling out the Citizen Survey. Thank you Mayor Steinhagen for bringing this vehicle as a way to keep MC informed and to help us as a City Council make better decisions to represent the citizens. This survey gave us confirmation to give us the charge to act on the decisions that were before us. This is a prime example of why we didn’t miss the golden opportunity to hire a full-time fire chief. Not to mention his qualifications and the many roles that he can perform. To give you some perspective, Royse City has three individuals for the position of Fire Chief, Fire Inspector and Fire Marshal. Chief Simmons meets all of these roles and more.
The Public Safety Leadership We Have Been Waiting For
Mr. Simmons is the example in leadership that McLendon-Chisholm needs. He has lived in the area. Was employed by many of the cities around us to even trained those fire fighters that are currently employed or have volunteered with McLendon Chisholm Volunteer Fire Department (MCVFD). Mayor Pro Tem Wayne Orchard said it best in describing his spirit as enthusiastic and willingness to do the work that it will take to bridge our public safety needs.
When the City Council interviewed him in open session, which you may listen at your leisure he gave us peace of mind that he will be proactive in a number of areas. We discussed his duties and responsibilities of working with us. We addressed common problems that we hope we will not see again. Even if we did. He gave us confidence that he will communicate with us and work with us. He emphasized the importance of serving the Citizens.
On April 18, 2018, Mayor Pro Tem Orchard shared a letter to MCVFD and to Citizens that included information regarding equipment and a station idea. He obtained this information from Fire Chief Simmons who has assisted in the City of Fate’s combination department to many other departments in other countries. We will be working towards obtaining equipment that will meet our needs, as well as, an appropriate docking station.
We will schedule some opportunities to have a Meet The Chief day to officially give him a warm welcome. We are excited and we look forward to all to meet him. Please do watch the interview below and/or read about him in our OEM Spring Newsletter.