The special guest speaker at our first meeting in April was Keith McGee, Fire Chief, Apex Fire Department. Keith has been the Apex Fire Chief now for a little over 4 years (he started December 29, 2014). Prior to coming to Apex he was with the Rocky Mount Fire Department for 23 years.
As the Town of Apex population grows so too does the Fire Department need to grow to provide the proper protection. This involves more Fire Fighters as well as new equipment and even new strategically located Fire Stations to ensure proper response time to all residents.
When Keith started in December 2014 there were 58 staff but they have grown to 82 and anticipate hiring 12 more very soon when a new station is opened and a new ladder truck is delivered. Soon after starting with the Apex Fire Department a strategic plan was created with community input and now it is nearing completion and expected to be complete in July of 2019. The Community Expectations heard included:
• Prompt response.
• Public education.
• Ensure a well-trained staff.
• Prioritize life and property.
• Be involved with citizen volunteer groups
• Maintain up-to-date equipment
• Involvement in community activities
• Have adequate staffing.• Coverage / response.• Availability of services• Effective prevention program.
The Strategic Plan which was produced as a result included:
1. Establish a physical fitness program and a physical screening schedule to improve the overall health and wellness of the AFD personnel.
2. Create a comprehensive community outreach plan to better align our efforts with our citizen’s expectations.
3. Enhance the department’s training programs to better support employee development.
4. Ensure the department has the physical resources to meet
the current and projected needs of the community.
5. Improve department internal communications to better disseminate information.
6. Create a career development program to ensure continuity of excellent leadership.
7. Develop an organizational culture that promotes
empowerment, trust and open communication.
8. Conduct and document a self-assessment of the department utilizing the CPSE/CFAI Fire and Emergency Services Self-Assessment Manual criteria.
One final thought shared was the chief’s favorite quote: “No matter how much you have achieved, you will always be merely good relative to what you can become. Greatness is an inherently dynamic process, not an end point.” — Jim CollinsGood to Great and the Social Sectors
The AFD currently responds to approximately 3,000 calls per year which averages out to more than 8 per day. As the population of the town grows (which is anticipated) the number of calls will grow as well. But Chief Keith McGee and the Apex Fire Department are already making strategic plans to ensure public safety and proper response times as that happens.