The Centerville-Osterville-Marstons Mills Fire District is a full-time department operating with 50 firefighters and 11 support staff. The organization has been using Lexipol’s Fire and Rescue Policy Management Solution since 2017, and FireRescue1 Academy since 2022.

The Challenge

In the fire service, staying abreast of regulatory changes is critical to operational success. The Centerville-Osterville-Marstons Mills (COMM) Fire District found itself consistently confronting these obstacles. “The biggest challenge was staying relevant and timely with changes in state or national statutes or regulations that affected our industry,” says Chief Michael Winn, a 32-year veteran in the fire service. “It was tough for us to stay up to speed on those changes as they occurred, and our policies were cumbersome, clunky and wordy. Making sure that they were reviewed annually and still relevant to how we were doing business was a challenge for us.”

The department’s paper-based systems also created challenges. “There was a lack of consistency because you have multiple stations and you’re running on a three-ring binder system, and someone might not bring the latest update to the station because they got sent on a call,” Chief Winn says.

The Solution

Chief Winn learned about Lexipol’s Fire Policies and Procedures from Lexipol co-founder Gordon Graham “I’ve attended all of Gordon’s presentations here in the Northeast. When he started talking about Lexipol, I paid attention,” Chief Winn says. “I learned that Lexipol can look at our existing SOPs and SOGs and migrate them to a more modern and relevant policy manual. A couple of years after I transitioned to this department, we incorporated Lexipol. It was just a good business decision for us.”

Collaborating with Lexipol’s Professional Services throughout the onboarding process, COMM Fire District achieved a seamless transition. “We sent Lexipol all our existing SOPs, SOGs, contracts, rules and regulations. They took those apart and together, we combined our existing policy and Lexipol’s policy for a manual that was specific to our department’s needs,” Chief Winn says. “They did the lion’s share of the work and then we just had to go through and cherry pick the things that were really important to us.”

Chief Winn included the union at every stage of the process. “I felt it was a priority to engage labor in this change,” says Chief Winn. “This helped the department accept Lexipol’s outside influence. My union leaders could see the value for their people of having these policies and procedures and that made it an easier integration.”

In addition to implementing a new policy manual, the COMM Fire District turned to Lexipol’s online FireRescue1 Academy to improve their training processes. “Now, we’re doing records management and storage, as well as curriculum development and class assignments, through FireRescue1 Academy,” Chief Winn says. “I like it a lot because you can’t skip to the end to take the test. And if you need to run out the door for a call, your course is still there so you can pick up where you left off.”

The Results

With Lexipol, the COMM Fire District has current policies to direct the department and its firefighters. “The biggest benefit is we now have the ability to stay timely with changes in statutes and laws across the country,” Chief Winn says. “Policies change and a mistake can cost us forever. As a fire chief, I don’t have to worry when state and national standards have changed. We get that update from Lexipol.”

Through Lexipol’s online Knowledge Management System (KMS), the COMM Fire District has access to their policies around the clock via a web-based platform and mobile app. “That was a major goal,” Chief Winn says.

The investment COMM Fire District made in Lexipol’s policies and training is paying off. “When we need to add a new SOP or SOG, we can do that with the push of one button and every member of the department receives the update and acknowledges they read and understand what it says. That’s money from a management standpoint,” Chief Winn says. “Yes, implementing Lexipol’s policies and training costs money, but when you really look at what it’s costing you versus what it could cost you, that’s pennies on the dollar. You’re protecting your organization against risk.”

"As a fire chief, I don’t have to worry when state and national standards have changed. We get that update from Lexipol."

- Chief Michael Winn

COMM (MA) Fire District
"We're doing all records management and storage, as well as curriculum development and class assignments, through FireRescue1 Academy."

- Chief Michael Winn

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