Course Syllabus



Course: Analytical Approaches to Public Fire Protection

Course & Section: FES 3780

Credit Hours: 3

Session: Summer 2023



Lecturer:  Adam A. Smith, MSFES, NREMT-P



Bio for Adam A. Smith

Adam Smith is a retired Battalion Chief (Acting)/Medic from Lumpkin County Emergency Services located an hour north of Atlanta in the North Georgia Mountains.  He began his career in emergency services in October of 1986 and retired July of 2020.  Adam has 34 years experience as a firefighter and paramedic.  He has been a Lecturer for the University of Florida since January of 2019 and holds national certifications as a Firefighter, Paramedic, Fire Officer, Various rescue designations, Public Safety Diver, Hazardous Materials Technician, and Instructor.  Adam has an Associates Degree in Fire Science Technology (Chattahoochee Technical College), Bachelors Degree in Fire and Emergency Services Management (University of Florida), and a Masters Degree in Fire and Emergency Services Management with a specialization in Disaster Management (University of Florida).


Office Hours:   My office hours are typically from 0800 am to 1200 pm, Monday through Friday.


Course Communications:   The best way to communicate with me is via email either through Canvas.  I will attempt to answer all emails in 24-48 hours.  If the need is urgent, I can be reached by text or phone call at 404-933-3676 between the hours of 0800 am and 0800 pm


Required Text:



Additional Required Resource:  Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA), 7th Edition (2020): Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. ISBN 978-1-4338-3217-8


 Course Description

This course examines the tools and techniques of rational decision making in fire and emergency services agencies, including data collection, statistics, probability, decision analysis, utility modeling, resource allocation, and cost-benefit analysis.

Purpose of Course: This course covers techniques & methods for making objective evaluations of fire protection and emergency medical services (EMS) in the community.  

Course Goals and/or Objectives: By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Discuss the uses of analytical approaches to rational decision making.
  • Differentiate techniques of analysis.
  • Select appropriate analytic tools to support critical thinking.
  • Discuss how the use of databases, histograms, inferential statistics and probabilities, and GIS are used in fire/EMS station location planning.
  • Apply a cost-benefit analysis process to justify essential budgetary needs.
  • Discuss the budget process to include budget types, budget formats, budget terms, and preparing a departmental budget.
  • Discuss equipment procurement from the request for purchase (RFP) and bidding process, to procurement and maintenance costs.
  • Discuss the municipal services tax unit (MSTU) for fire protection, volunteer dues, and other revenue means.
  • Differentiate the various departmental records and management systems to assure compliance with local, state, and federal law.
  • Discuss fire department management information systems (MIS) to include the retrieval and interpretation of information and data.
  • Discuss community fire protection planning to include fire station location, staffing levels, response/on-scene times, and overtime concerns.
  • Examine the tools and techniques of rational decision making in fire and emergency services agencies, including data collection, statistics, probability, decision analysis, utility modeling, resource allocation, and cost-benefit analysis
  • Complete a comprehensive analysis of a fictitious community by using analytical analysis and determine appropriate locations for new fire stations.
  • Identify the needs of the community and analyzed the costs of those needs.
  • Demonstrate the ability to recognize applicable laws and policies during each phase of the development process in the course.
  • Demonstrate the use of data gathering to form a record of performance.
  • Develop a plan for performance improvement based on the accuracy of this record.
  • Demonstrate the use of records involving response times, GIS, risk and probability to give an analytical analysis of the needs of the community.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of determining a department’s growth by using data analysis, which shall be demonstrated in the final class project.
  • Demonstrate the use of data to analyze statistics of incidents to form a plan to improve and change the department.
  • Discuss the importance of response data, fires per thousand in population, tactical on scene performance, and fire loss to improve overall departmental operations.

Each of the above five goals represent one of five (5) Modules which make up this course.  Each Module is approximately three weeks in length. However, there are quizzes, discussions or essays/assignments which are due each week of the semester. To do well, you must keep up with the course workload.    

How This Course Relates to the Student Learning Outcomes in the Fire & Emergency Services program:  Identify and evaluate organizational problems associated with fire and emergency services. Illustrate knowledge and legal application of safety, health and environmental regulations at state and federal levels. Demonstrate strong verbal and written communication skills for leadership in fire and emergency services.

Teaching Philosophy:  I am looking for students to demonstrate a working knowledge of the subject. You need to be creative when you complete your assignments but maintain a professional appearance of your work. Your work needs to be complete and in such a manner that someone can pick up your document and understand what you are trying to convey. Most of your work needs to be supported with research and cited in properly in APA format.

Instructional Methods: The course is designed for individual and group interactivity. It is important to post and respond to discussion questions in the course within the time frame allotted. This provides a learning environment by networking with other students in the course. The assignments are individual base to give you the opportunity to do a variety of activities, in many cases, similar to what you will be doing in role as a leader in the emergency services profession.

For this course, you need to select a fire-rescue agency to utilize through the semester. Do this immediately, as you will be looking for information and/or data from that agency for certain assignments. If you do not currently work with a fire-rescue department, check with your local community’s agency.  If you encounter a problem, please let the instructor know immediately. 

 Course Policies

Attendance/Participation:  The course is designed in module format. You should check the site several times a week. You are required to complete both assignments and discussion questions within the time period designated on the module. There will be periodic online meetings set up throughout the course. Requirements for class attendance and make-up exams, assignments, and other work in this course are consistent with university policies that can be found in the online catalog.

Quizzes: There may be quizzes within each module.

Online Discussions:  There are online discussions required for each Module – and each has a due date. You must review the Online Discussion Rubric for expectations and guidelines for the discussion posts. 

Written Assignments:  There are written assignments required for each Module – and each has a due date. You must review the Written Assignment Rubric and FES Style Guide for expectations and guidelines for the written assignments. 

Final Paper/Project:  There is a final paper/project for this course. You must review the Final Paper-Project Rubric and FES Style Guide for expectations and guidelines for the final paper project. 

Late Assignments and Discussion Posts

  • Assignments 48 hours late will receive a 10% deduction in their grade.
  • Assignments more than 48 hours but less than 30 days late will receive a 20% deduction in their grade.
  • Assignments more than 30 days late but submitted during the semester will receive a 50% deduction in their grade.
  • All outstanding work must be submitted two weeks prior to the end of the semester.  No outstanding work will be accepted after this time.

Please note that any student having less than 75% of their work complete for the semester cannot earn an “I” contract. If you have 75% of the work complete, you can propose an “I” contract to the instructor.

It is your responsibility to keep your instructor informed at all times. The instructor does have the right under extenuating circumstances with proper notification to assist the student by extending the above time requirements.

Technical support: If you experience difficulties with accessing components of the site, including lectures, quizzes or tests, contact the UF help desk immediately. (352) 392-HELP (4357) |


 Gator Evals

Students are expected to provide professional and respectful feedback on the quality of instruction in this course by completing course evaluations online via GatorEvals. Guidance on how to give feedback in a professional and respectful manner is available at Students will be notified when the evaluation period opens, and can complete evaluations through the email they receive from GatorEvals, in their Canvas course menu under GatorEvals, or via Summaries of course evaluation results are available to students at


 UF Policies

University Policy on Accommodating Students with Disabilities: Students requesting accommodation for disabilities must first register with the Dean of Students Office. The Dean of Students Office will provide documentation to the student who must then provide this documentation to the instructor when requesting accommodation. You must submit this documentation prior to submitting assignments or taking the quizzes or exams. Accommodations are not retroactive, therefore, students should contact the office as soon as possible in the term for which they are seeking accommodations.

UF’s Honesty Policy:  UF students are bound by The Honor Pledge which states, “We, the members of the University of Florida community, pledge to hold ourselves and our peers to the highest standards of honor and integrity by abiding by the Honor Code.”  On all work submitted for credit by students at the University of Florida, the following pledge is either required or implied: “On my honor, I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid in doing this assignment.” The Honor Code specifies a number of behaviors that are in violation of this code and the possible sanctions.  Furthermore, you are obliged to report any condition that facilitates academic misconduct to appropriate personnel. If you have any questions or concerns, please consult with the instructor of in this class.

Plagiarism:  All work submitted during this course has to be your own, original (for this class) work.  Understand that there are various types of plagiarism such as submitting a paper written by another person, resubmitting original work created for another class, or copying information from another source and claiming it as your own original work.  The ramifications will be severe for anyone caught plagiarising.

University Policy on Academic Misconduct:  Academic honesty and integrity are fundamental values of the University community. Students should be sure that they understand the UF Student Honor Code.

Netiquette: Communication Courtesy:  All members of the class are expected to follow rules of common courtesy in all email messages, threaded discussions and chats: all college level communication should have correct spelling and grammar.

  • Avoid slang terms such as “wassup?” and texting abbreviations such as “u” instead of “you”
  • Avoid using the caps lock feature AS IT CAN BE INTERPRETED AS YELLING
  • Avoid the use of emoticons
  • Be cautious when using humor or sarcasm as tone is sometimes lost in an email or discussion post and your message might be taken seriously or offensive
  • Be careful with personal information.  See the University’s Netiquette Guide for Online Courses.

 Getting Help

For issues with technical difficulties for E-learning in Canvas, please contact the UF Help Desk at:

 Any requests for make-ups due to technical issues MUST be accompanied by the ticket number received from LSS when the problem was reported to them. The ticket number will document the time and date of the problem. You MUST e-mail your instructor within 24 hours of the technical difficulty if you wish to request a make-up.

 Other resources are available for:

  • Counseling and Wellness resources
  • Disability resources
  • Resources for handling student concerns and complaints
  • Library Help Desk support

 Should you have any complaints with your experience in this course please submit a complaint.


Grading Policies

The grade is based on a point system. You divide the total number of earned points into the total amount of points available to determine your grade. A grading rubric for the final project is under the Files Tab on the course.

Course Grade Scale:

The final grade will be based on the following:

Discussion Participation                                       35%

Homework Assignments                                       35%

Final Exam-applied research paper                      30%

Total Grade                                                           100%


 Grading Scale:

A   = 94.0 to 100%     C   = 74.0 to 76.9
A-  = 90.0 to 93.9       C-  = 70.0 to 73.9
B+ = 87.0 to 89.9       D+ = 67.0 to 69.9
B   = 84.0 to 86.9       D   = 64.0 to 66.9
B-  = 80.0 to 83.9       D-  = 60.0 to 63.9
C+ = 77.0 to 79.9       F   = below 60.0 


 Evaluation Process

Students are expected to provide feedback on the quality of instruction in this course based on 10 criteria. These evaluations are conducted online at Evaluations are typically open during the last two or three

Weeks of the semester, but students will be given specific times when they are open.

Summary results of these assessments are available to students at

Should you have any complaints with your experience in this course please visit to submit a complaint.