City of Willowick, Ohio Fire and EMS Department Feasibility Study

Bernie Becker, Cleveland State University


The City of Willowick, Ohio, (Mayor and City Council), commissioned Cleveland State University, Center for Emergency Preparedness to conduct this “Willowick Fire and EMS Department Feasibility” study. The summary of findings and recommendations highlights some of the major issues, which require discussion.

The main focus of this study is on efficient and sustainable staffing for the Willowick Fire and EMS Department; however, there are a number of factors which must be addressed to meet the National Fire Protection Association and Insurance Service Office “best practices,” ones which public safety entities strive to achieve. In addition, this study will provide staffing alternatives, identify financial and legal information and identify funding opportunities that may be available for hiring personnel.

A thorough background literature review of the Insurance Service Office “Fire Suppression Rating Schedule,” “Emergency Medical Services” and “Fire and Rescue Services” are provided to assist in the understanding Fire and EMS service activities, which are mentally challenging, physically demanding and labor intensive.

This study investigated the current Willowick Fire and EMS Department staffing status, solicited information from contiguous jurisdictional Fire and EMS Departments, and identified staffing models which the Willowick Mayor and City Council may select as the “best fit” for their jurisdiction.

Recognizing that expenditures must be matched by revenue and system improvement should be constructed in service delivery increments, building from the current service delivery level through four possible models, with the fourth model being optimal.