Waukesha County

Frequently Asked Questions: Fire/EMS Feasibility Study

About the Study:

The concept of conducting a Fire/EMS study began when several community administrators in the Lake Country area approached County Executive Paul Farrow about studying enhanced fire and EMS service areas within Waukesha County. The administrators believed that, working together, area communities would be able to find ways to maintain or improve Fire/EMS services while identifying potential cost savings. After talking with the administrators, Waukesha County identified municipalities with which we began a conversation about funding a study. In late 2015, the County Executive included $50,000 in his 2016 Executive County Budget to fund the county’s portion of the study to be augmented by contributions from local municipalities. In November 2015, the Waukesha County Board overwhelmingly passed the County budget, and the funding for the Fire/EMS Study. In May of 2016, following an RFP process, the consulting contract for the study was awarded to Fitch and Associates LLC.

Why focus on Lake Country and Western Waukesha County?

The reason for not including all Waukesha County municipalities in a single study was two-fold. First, Waukesha County has varying levels of fire and EMS service. The communities the county engaged have similar service levels or natural geographic associations. The second reason is cost. County Executive Farrow included $50,000 for a consolidated Fire/EMS study, enough money to include a portion, but not all of Waukesha County in the study.

What communities have agree to participate and fund the study?

The original partners on the feasibility study are as follows: City of Oconomowoc, Town of Delafield, Town of Lisbon, Town of Merton, Town of Oconomowoc, Village of Merton, Village of Hartland, Village of Pewaukee, Village of Summit, and the Village of Sussex.

Throughout the duration of the study municipal leadership in some communities changed. In some cases, the municipality’s interest in the study changed with it. These changes resulted in some communities no longer participating in the study and other communitities being added to the study's scope.

May a community that did not contribute funds toward the study still participate?

Yes. Our goal is to improve the safety of county residents. We were hopeful that all communities in the targeted area would participate in the study by meeting with the consultant and providing useful information regardless of their level of funding. After the study commenced the county was able to collect data from the Town of Waukesha, the Village of Big Bend and the Town of Vernon, three communities who were not orignially included in the study but whose data will be added to the final product.

Will more communities be included in this or a future study?

The County Executive has indicated his openness to the concept and does not want to discourage anything that could improve safety and efficiency. Should additional communities wish to participate in a future study partially funded by Waukesha County, the Executive is willing to have those discussions.

Why did completion of the study take longer than originally anticipated?

Several factors contributed to the length of time it took to finalize the feasibility study. Most importantly, was the consultant's access to data from individual fire districts and from the county's Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) System.

Secondarily, and to a lesser extent, there was turnover of key staff within certain partner communities that led to changes in participation.

Who do I contact with questions?

If you have any questions about the study or the timeline, please visit the Waukesha County Fire Study Page or you may contact the following individuals:

Shawn Lundie, Chief of Staff, [email protected]
Gary Bell, Director of Emergency Preparedness, [email protected]