Photo: Nick Sulzer // Buckrail

JACKSON, Wyo. — An independent review of Jackson Hole Fire/EMS scoped several areas of significant concern for the department, but also pointed to the outstanding performance of its members and the leadership of Fire Chief Brady Hansen.

In January, Chief Hansen spoke with Buckrail about JH/Fire EMS’s struggles with high call volume. In the review conducted by Gannon Emergency Solutions (GES), they identified this as one of the most significant issues the department currently faces.

“The 35% call volume increase in the last 3 years is putting a strain on members,” said the GES review. “The organization relies heavily on volunteers, goodwill, improvisation and other agencies. There are insufficient career and volunteer numbers across the department. Attracting and retaining members is increasingly challenging due to the rising cost of living and high expectations required of volunteers.”

The review also called attention to Chief Hansen’s performance as a crucial component to the department’s success.

“Chief Brady Hansen is very well respected within the department, by members in every agency we met, and by both town and county leadership.”

In one of the review’s key recommendations of improvement, the GES pointed to Chief Hansen as a vital piece of the department’s ability to improve itself.

“Chief Hansen is at the top of the structure and GES strongly recommends he remains in post until key recommendations in this report are actioned and a strategic 5-year plan is developed and approved.”

GES summarized that the department lacks significant resources to reach its full performance potential and organizational improvements need to be made. While the department’s vehicles and equipment are of a high standard, GES stated that some significant foundational decisions need to be taken to address vulnerabilities and concerns and ensure JHF/EMS is reset to cope with current expectations and future growth (i.e. Safety Training, Safety Culture, Organizational Structure, Staffing, and Stategic Planning).

“The department is committed to providing a full range of operational and prevention services, but are insufficiently resourced to deliver them all as effectively or efficiently as they should be,” said the review.

Buckrail @ Caroline

Caroline Chapman is a Community News Reporter. She's a lover of alliteration, easy-to-follow recipes and board games when everyone knows the rules. Her favorite aspect about living in the Tetons is the collective admiration that Wyomingites share for the land and the life that it sustains.