By CHELSEY POLLOCK
Union Leader Correspondent
DERRY — After previously low public turnouts on discussion of a 10-year strategic plan for the town’s fire department, Derry fire officials hope residents will come out tonight for an informal meeting to talk about the department’s future.
“We’re looking to solicit input from the public, our citizenry, to see what they think their fire department should be,” said Derry Battalion Chief Michael Doyle on Monday.
Three years ago, the department set out to put together a comprehensive plan laying out goals for the next 10 years.Doyle also said having a solid 10-year plan in place is a big part of receiving department accreditation from the national Center for Public Safety and Excellence group, or CPSE.
Under the current draft, the department’s mission reads “Plan, prevent, provide,” with the core values statement of “Excellence through professionalism, integrity and compassion.” Numerous goals are outlined throughout the 47-page document, ranging from one-year goals such as increasing data collection and quality to 5- and 10-year goals, like receiving CPSE accreditation and possible construction of a new fire station, respectively.
Altogether, a 16-member committee of fire personnel including fire chiefs, dispatchers and firefighters spent 18 months preparng the document, Doyle said. “We want that compass or road map so we know where we’re going,” Doyle said. “If you don’t have a plan, how do you know where you want to be in 10 years?”
Last year, the committee called the public in to comment on the plan, but only a single citizen came out for the meeting, Doyle said. Shortly after, the Town Council tabled consideration of the plan, he said, asking that the committee incorporate further comments from the public.
Doyle said fire officials are now hoping to bring the updated plan before the council in the coming months, but not before one last round of public input tonight.
The current draft will be available for informal public review tonight, as fire officials will be around to talk with residents from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Derry Municipal Center.