First Line Planning

First Line
Second Line
Third Line

Is your fire department “3 Lines Strong?” Let’s make it happen.

If your fire department is looking at the number and consequences of the annual response calls and wondering why the numbers/severity are not going down, it could be that your fire department isn’t “3 Lines Strong” or 3LS.

What does 3LS mean?

The three lines of defence are:

Line one: Public fire safety education
Line two: Fire safety standards and enforcement
Line three: Emergency response

The most successful fire departments invest in each of the three lines and have them all working efficiently and effectively together. Often, achieving 3LS started with strategic planning. Common elements of 3LS planning include:

  • Corporate strategic plan
  • Community risk assessment
  • Master plan
  • Staff & community feedback
  • Communications plan
  • All 3 lines customized to the community

Why isn’t every fire department 3LS?

Although public education and enforcement have been around for decades, the investment into the second line and especially the first, is relatively new. The fire service has traditionally been suppression-centric; the by-product of that is members that rise through the ranks usually originate from suppression and are not of the “Pub Ed world”.

Council and community also view the fire service with a suppression-centric lens. The heroism of firefighters, the visibility of crews during emergency response and the perspective of “need” in terms of budgets have historically meant that resources are allocated to suppression first, and suppression-support services second. If there is anything left over, that is when the second and third lines come into budgetary play.

Most departments (big and small) do not have specialized, dedicated public education professionals. Often, Pub Ed is the responsibility of suppression crews and/or inspectors. In this era of social media, on-demand culture and new levels of audience sophistication, the reliance on non-Pub Ed professionals can result in an under-performing first line.

The good news is that this traditional imbalance is changing; fire leadership, municipal Councils and the community are recognizing the value and benefits of a 3LS department. 3LS departments are achieving positive results (and saving money).

How can TB help?

TB can assist your fire department in achieving 3LS in many ways, including:

  • Assist in strategic planning (short or long-term) – including forecast demographics, incident analysis, gap analysis, org chart review
  • Assess current human resources department-wide; make recommendations that would strengthen three lines within current framework
  • Pub Ed asset management – assess current equipment/capital assets used by/for public education
  • Conduct objective, third-party consultation with staff, Council and community
  • Deliver educational presentations to Council, union and senior leadership
  • Conduct a Public Education Audit
  • Assist in Pub Ed division planning, recruitment tools and training
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