720-913-5000 auditor@denvergov.org

An audit of the Denver Fire Department resulted in recommendations to improve strategic planning and risk management, Auditor Timothy M. O’Brien, CPA, reported today.

“Fire protection is one of the basic services that local governments must provide,” O’Brien explained. “We wanted to evaluate the Denver Fire Department’s effectiveness in managing its resources to reduce risk in the City.”

Denver is one of the nation’s most rapidly growing cities, with calls for service growing more than 30 percent since 2006.  In addition, DFD has taken over fire protection for four adjacent communities, Glendale, Sheridan, Englewood, and the Skyline Fire District in unincorporated Arapahoe County.  While DFD’s budget has grown every year, those increases haven’t always been matched by an increase in personnel.

“Our main recommendation to DFD was to improve its long-term decision-making processes, from hiring strategies to systematic risk management.  The department agreed to update and formalize its strategic plan and review its cost-benefit analysis for multi-year agreements like those it has with adjacent communities.” said Audit Supervisor LaKeshia Allen Horner.

Denver’s burgeoning growth had other negative impacts on DFD’s performance, auditors found.  DFD has been unable to meet the fire safety inspection goals mandated by the Denver Building and Fire Code, and there are persistent coverage issues in District 5, which includes Northfield, Montbello, Green Valley Ranch, and much of the Peña Boulevard corridor.  Consequently, DFD will release a three-year assessment and standard of coverage plan that meets accreditation requirements for the Commission on Fire Accreditation International at the Center for Public Safety Excellence.

“We would like to thank the Auditor’s Office for conducting a fair and thorough audit,” said Deputy Fire Chief Todd Bower.  “While we applaud the important work being done by the men and women of the Denver Fire Department each day, we remain committed to finding more efficient ways of doing business. The recommendations provided as a result of this audit, coupled with the work we have already begun towards obtaining accreditation through the Commission on Fire Accreditation, position us to continue to provide world class service to those living in, working in, and visiting the communities we proudly serve.”

“We’re pleased that DFD recognizes the importance of following national and local standards for providing emergency services,” said O’Brien.  “In the course of the audit, DFD expressed its commitment to following the guidance of the National Fire Protection Association, the Insurance Services Office, and similar organizations.  DFD’s commitment to preparedness and prevention compels it to measure response and turnout times, and use these metrics to allocate resources.”

Read the full report here.

Channel 7 story November 17, 2016

Colorado Statesman story November 21, 2016

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