To merge or not to merge: Tough times prompt difficult discussions for volunteer departments

Reviewing benefits and risks of volunteer fire department mergers – and how to start the merger process for a smooth transition

Who would have ever guessed as 2020 began that the American fire service would face such enormous global challenges in such a short amount of time? Never in my wildest dreams – you know, the dreams for which you designed the ultimate tabletop exercises, like the airplane crashes into the hospital and ruptures the gas line that blows up the bridge, preventing you from driving to the scene – did I foresee the challenges that we are facing today.

As the chief of a combination department that is extremely dependent on our volunteer membership, the last challenge I needed was COVID-19 and civil unrest – and so many chiefs are in the same boat.

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