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  • #16
    Originally posted by mrpita View Post
    In case you haven't noticed, we're a fulltime/career only department. To suggest a 15 minute response time borders on the criminal. Even going by NFPA standards (#1710), we should have first engine on scene in 4 minutes, and/or the entire box within 8 minutes, on 90% of our runs. This does not include turnout or dispatch times. So overall we should be there, first-in or box, at 6 or 10 minutes (respectively) from the 911 call. We are approaching some instances of 10 minute response-only times for JUST THE FIRST-IN. Last I heard I think our response gets there in acceptable times only 55% of the runs. The commisioner himself, is on record at the last round of budget hearings stating that any further cuts will reduce response times. We are cut to the bone. We are one of the smallest departments, and yet our cutbacks have been the largest dollar amounts.

    We recently had a day, not all that memorable, save for a few powerful thunderstorms. I'm not talking about a hurricane, or tornados, or anything exceptional, just a few regular summer day thunderstorms, though admittedly powerful. We were tapped out. At least one newscaster even went so far as to say, live, on-air, "Every engine, ladder and ambulance in the city has been dispatched", meaning there is NO ONE left. Over 1050 runs this day, where we usually are 800+, so it's really not much more than we always do. My engine was running first due in areas we're not even on the second alarm. That should be an indicator of how close we are to the breaking point, EVERY DAY.

    But we can keep libraries open their full schedule, not even cut them back a bit. I guess the city is a proponent of book burning, because I've been telling people to turn to the library if their house is on fire. Throw some books at it, because we can't afford the equipment or mapower to put it out.
    "es, until you reach a point of diminishing returns. One could say the basic argument here is where the diminished point is." And that is exactly the problem, how do you determine that?

    As for response times. Just because it is a a career/full time department doesn't mean the response times should be lower for the entire coverage area. One could even say that since the fire fighters are actually on duty the stations could be farther apart, because response time is reduced by having fire fighters in the station. 4 minutes is a great response time, 2 minutes is even better. I'm sure there must be a study on the ideal response time to a fire.

    The other side of the issue is if there is EMS. I can see where an EMS response of 3 or 4 minutes would be viable. To accomplish that you set up PD with basic tools like an AED oxygen, a BVM and a few other supplies to assist in the most critical of events. You could then set up satellite offices where fire fighters could respond to EMS calls quickly in a sprint vehicle and also be available for fires.

    It is time to start looking for innovative ways to provide services.

    Comment


    • #17
      Originally posted by ScareCrow57 View Post

      I'm sure there must be a study on the ideal response time to a fire.

      .
      Even though you're just a civilian, I am astounded that you say that. The ideal response time to a fire in 1 second.

      My god, just when I thought I couldn't be any more surprised by what you say.

      Comment


      • #18
        Originally posted by ScareCrow57 View Post
        The other side of the issue is if there is EMS. I can see where an EMS response of 3 or 4 minutes would be viable. To accomplish that you set up PD with basic tools like an AED oxygen, a BVM and a few other supplies to assist in the most critical of events.
        You're actually suggesting that the city of Philadelphia add EMS to the responsibilities of their Police Dept.?

        Just when I think you couldn't be more clueless, you go above and beyond.

        Comment


        • #19
          Has the union proposed reducing ladder staffing to 1+3 instead of 1+4 to prevent brownouts? I am a union firefighter and I know what I am suggesting might seem unthinkable to some. What about Battalion Chief aides? Is that an absolute necessity?

          I think many larger departments in America need to realize that any company staffed in excess of 4 is a luxury. I would rather have 27 ladder companies with 4 riding than rolling brownouts.

          I totally agree that it is BS that the fire department is getting the brunt of the cuts for the city budget. I also think the city should tell the fire administration and union how much needs to be cut and let them decide what needs to go. In this case I think reduced ladder staffing and perhaps elimination of batt. chief aides is preferable to brownouts and increased response times.

          I'm sure glad they kept the libraries open. If I ever visit Philly I am glad I won't have to worry about showing up at a library and it being closed.

          Comment


          • #20
            Originally posted by ScareCrow57 View Post
            As for response times. Just because it is a a career/full time department doesn't mean the response times should be lower for the entire coverage area. One could even say that since the fire fighters are actually on duty the stations could be farther apart, because response time is reduced by having fire fighters in the station.
            I think you're looking at this from the wrong perspective. You seem to be thinking that rural response times are the norm.

            4 minutes is a great response time, 2 minutes is even better. I'm sure there must be a study on the ideal response time to a fire.
            Yeah, it's called NFPA 1710.

            The other side of the issue is if there is EMS. I can see where an EMS response of 3 or 4 minutes would be viable. To accomplish that you set up PD with basic tools like an AED oxygen, a BVM and a few other supplies to assist in the most critical of events. You could then set up satellite offices where fire fighters could respond to EMS calls quickly in a sprint vehicle and also be available for fires.

            It is time to start looking for innovative ways to provide services.
            They are already closing companies permanently/temporarily due to a lack of personnel and money. So where would the staffing and funding for these "innovations" come from?

            Comment


            • #21
              Originally posted by ScareCrow57 View Post
              "es, until you reach a point of diminishing returns. One could say the basic argument here is where the diminished point is." And that is exactly the problem, how do you determine that? Whatever it is, we're headed the WRONG way.

              As for response times. Just because it is a a career/full time department doesn't mean the response times should be lower for the entire coverage area. One could even say that since the fire fighters are actually on duty the stations could be farther apart, because response time is reduced by having fire fighters in the station. 4 minutes is a great response time, 2 minutes is even better. I'm sure there must be a study on the ideal response time to a fire. NFPA 1710: Standard for the Organization and Deployment of Fire Suppression Operations, Emergency Medical Operations, and Special Operations to the Public by Career Fire Departments" - A commonly accepted NATIONAL standard isn't good enough for you?

              The other side of the issue is if there is EMS. I can see where an EMS response of 3 or 4 minutes would be viable. To accomplish that you set up PD with basic tools like an AED oxygen, a BVM and a few other supplies to assist in the most critical of events. You could then set up satellite offices where fire fighters could respond to EMS calls quickly in a sprint vehicle and also be available for fires. See below

              It is time to start looking for innovative ways to provide services. Yeah - we could respond from the libraries, they'll be open. Or maybe they're the "satellite offices"?
              "I can see where an EMS response of 3 or 4 minutes would be viable." Yeah, our engines (and ladders) are first responders staffed with at least one EMT and BLS equipment. NFPA 1710 (that standard you don't apparently like) states 4 minutes for first responder, 8 minutes for ALS. We had the 4 minute mark with our prior levels. It now looks like the 8 minute mark will be just for our first responders.

              Not mentioned in all this is how woefully "under ambulanced" we are. For the runs we do, our city controller put out a report two years ago that we should have something on the order of 90 units. We have 50. I forget the exact breakdown, but we have something like 10 BLS 24 hour units, 5 BLS units manned 8a-6p M-F, and 20 ALS (24 hour) and 15 ALS (12 hour, 8a-8p). Last I heard one of our medics coimplaining, I think he said our response times are something in the 12 minute area. That same controller report showed over 40% of our runs were late, and it's gotten worse since then. Those run totals showing us with 8,000 runs for an ambulance aren't typos.

              "To accomplish that you set up PD with basic tools like an AED oxygen, a BVM and a few other supplies to assist in the most critical of events." BWA-HA-HA!!! I'm lucky to find a cop who knows (or admits knowing) CPR. As it is, they got out of EMS some 35(?) years ago. They're reducing the types of events to which they respond. Many crimes and most MVAs, you need to go to the district or phone in a report, they're not coming. They're not going to pick up another 250,000 incidents per year.
              Opinions expressed are mine alone, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Philadelphia Fire Department and/or IAFF Local 22.

              Comment


              • #22
                And now, a seriious response...

                Originally posted by GFPD2005 View Post
                Has the union proposed reducing ladder staffing to 1+3 instead of 1+4 to prevent brownouts? I am a union firefighter and I know what I am suggesting might seem unthinkable to some. What about Battalion Chief aides? Is that an absolute necessity?

                I think many larger departments in America need to realize that any company staffed in excess of 4 is a luxury. I would rather have 27 ladder companies with 4 riding than rolling brownouts.

                I totally agree that it is BS that the fire department is getting the brunt of the cuts for the city budget. I also think the city should tell the fire administration and union how much needs to be cut and let them decide what needs to go. In this case I think reduced ladder staffing and perhaps elimination of batt. chief aides is preferable to brownouts and increased response times.

                I'm sure glad they kept the libraries open. If I ever visit Philly I am glad I won't have to worry about showing up at a library and it being closed.
                Absolutely NOT changing the staffing. There was a VERY hard-fought court battle a few years ago where 1+4 almost became 1+3, we prevailed. (Understand this was before my time, this is what I'm told.) The union lawyer was ok with negotiating away that one guy, and at a union mtg said "Its only ONE F'n guy". At which point he had to retreat from the meeting for his own safety - no exaggeration. No, the union would rather respond to the WHOLE city with just one engine and/or one ladder, so long as that one engine and ladder is staffed 1+3 and 1+4. ("It's the city's job to provide adequate fire protection, it's the union's job to ensure that protection is adequately staffed." - a common refrain regarding this situation) Our contention is, and has been, (since before the original cuts two years ago) that we need an impact study. The city closed companies without studying how response times would be affected, without seeing how best for the remaining companies to pick up slack, without determining how many reponses would be impacting any particular group (geographic, political, socio-economic, etc.), without much forethought at all.

                As for the chief's aides, they were to be cut in last year's budget, but they found they are just too valuable. Just one example, on incidents, they act as the communications liason between dispatch and fireground tac channels (among other things). They had training and plans in place for extra companies to be assigned on a box for this task. The more they looked into it, they realized they would need four untrained guys to replace the one trained aide. Due to the many tasks (admin and fireground) the aides handle, the chiefs all stood up to the administration and said no. So the aides are no longer being considered for cuts.
                Opinions expressed are mine alone, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Philadelphia Fire Department and/or IAFF Local 22.

                Comment


                • #23
                  Originally posted by ATFDFF View Post
                  Even though you're just a civilian, I am astounded that you say that. The ideal response time to a fire in 1 second.

                  My god, just when I thought I couldn't be any more surprised by what you say.
                  You are kidding me right!!! I have said this 100 times or better. The ideal response time is 1 second. However at what cost? If response time were the only issue we could staff and build stations to accommodate that response time. However, nothing in life is free so you have to account for the cost.

                  Perhaps a better way to state the questions is what is the optimal response time considering staffing, equipment and cost?

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by sfd1992 View Post
                    You're actually suggesting that the city of Philadelphia add EMS to the responsibilities of their Police Dept.?

                    Just when I think you couldn't be more clueless, you go above and beyond.
                    I have suggested this in the past and have found that some places do exactly that. I don't think you send the PD to a sprained ankle or a cut lip, but they can respond to cardiac arrest or other life threatening EMS calls.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Originally posted by FireMedic049 View Post
                      I think you're looking at this from the wrong perspective. You seem to be thinking that rural response times are the norm.

                      Yeah, it's called NFPA 1710.


                      They are already closing companies permanently/temporarily due to a lack of personnel and money. So where would the staffing and funding for these "innovations" come from?
                      I know that rural response times can be up to an hour in some of the more remote areas of the country. In some cases it may be several hours. Ideally you have 14 fire fighters responding to every fire in less than a minute. Unfortunately, we cannot afford ideal.

                      When times were good and money was plentiful increased staffing was no problem. Under the current environment the Federal government keeps spending like a bunch of drunken sailors and is cutting the money going to the states. The states in turn are tightening the belt by cutting services, and cutting aid to localities. The localities cannot cut any aid payments so they have to tighten the belt. The challenge for local governments is to provide all of the same services but not a the same level. When this happens you look to your highest cost first; just like in your personal finances.

                      In NYS the state is looking at an $8 billion deficit. There needs to be cuts in services as the tax payer is tapped out. Yet every single organization and special interest thinks there own little niche is the most important and cannot be cut or eliminated. For example, NYS has the highest spending per pupil on education. Yet there are groups screaming we cannot cut education funding.

                      There is currently an ad running complaining about funding cuts to hospitals. Which made me wonder why are we giving aid to hospitals at all. Patient care is paid for by the patients (either out of pocket or through insurance) or through one of the 17 different aid programs. There should be NO funding to hospitals at all.

                      And even in a perfect world, would every department by 100% compliant with all of the NFPA standards. I recall when 1710 and 1720 were published stating that this is a great tool to justify more staffing. I got beat up severely for that, now here we are years later and people are using it for just that purpose.

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by mrpita View Post
                        "I can see where an EMS response of 3 or 4 minutes would be viable." Yeah, our engines (and ladders) are first responders staffed with at least one EMT and BLS equipment. NFPA 1710 (that standard you don't apparently like) states 4 minutes for first responder, 8 minutes for ALS. We had the 4 minute mark with our prior levels. It now looks like the 8 minute mark will be just for our first responders.

                        Not mentioned in all this is how woefully "under ambulanced" we are. For the runs we do, our city controller put out a report two years ago that we should have something on the order of 90 units. We have 50. I forget the exact breakdown, but we have something like 10 BLS 24 hour units, 5 BLS units manned 8a-6p M-F, and 20 ALS (24 hour) and 15 ALS (12 hour, 8a-8p). Last I heard one of our medics coimplaining, I think he said our response times are something in the 12 minute area. That same controller report showed over 40% of our runs were late, and it's gotten worse since then. Those run totals showing us with 8,000 runs for an ambulance aren't typos.

                        "To accomplish that you set up PD with basic tools like an AED oxygen, a BVM and a few other supplies to assist in the most critical of events." BWA-HA-HA!!! I'm lucky to find a cop who knows (or admits knowing) CPR. As it is, they got out of EMS some 35(?) years ago. They're reducing the types of events to which they respond. Many crimes and most MVAs, you need to go to the district or phone in a report, they're not coming. They're not going to pick up another 250,000 incidents per year.
                        OK, well fire response and EMS response are two different animals. Except in the rare cases where there is entrapment a fire response can be 15 to 20 minutes. Sure there will be more damage and the fire will be bigger. With EMS in life threatening situations a response of 3 to 4 minutes is what you need.

                        Like it or not, we are now in an age when we have to figure out how to cut cost. Maybe examine that practice of sending an engine or ladder when a sprint car would do the job. Consider setting up what I will call major stations with a full crew of fire fighters and in your case EMS personnel that can respond to anything in 10 or 15 or 20 minutes. Then setup satellite offices with a crew of two to respond to EMS calls and provide a first response to fire calls. Granted a two man crew cannot do much in the way of fighting fire, but they can do scene size up and provide valuable information to the units enroute.

                        All things to consider as budgets shrink. The old way of doing things because "they work for us" are no longer valid.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by ScareCrow57 View Post
                          OK, well fire response and EMS response are two different animals. Except in the rare cases where there is entrapment a fire response can be 15 to 20 minutes. Sure there will be more damage and the fire will be bigger. With EMS in life threatening situations a response of 3 to 4 minutes is what you need.

                          Like it or not, we are now in an age when we have to figure out how to cut cost. Maybe examine that practice of sending an engine or ladder when a sprint car would do the job. Consider setting up what I will call major stations with a full crew of fire fighters and in your case EMS personnel that can respond to anything in 10 or 15 or 20 minutes. Then setup satellite offices with a crew of two to respond to EMS calls and provide a first response to fire calls. Granted a two man crew cannot do much in the way of fighting fire, but they can do scene size up and provide valuable information to the units enroute.

                          All things to consider as budgets shrink. The old way of doing things because "they work for us" are no longer valid.
                          I'm done with you; you're simply not rational.

                          EDIT: You're still advocating a 15 minute response time. 90% of our fires are rowhome dwellings. We generally have the fire out, not just under control, in 15 minutes. If we didn't respond until 15 minutes, then every fire would be an extra-alarm job. We handle I would guess about 10 fires in a busy day. We would be absolutely depleted if we had to handle 3 extras in a day, let alone 10. Every job in a rowhome would look more like MOVE. I don't know what kind of response you're used to, but here we get upset if we can't hold the fire to one room, let alone one floor. You're proposing that we hold it to one block.
                          Last edited by mrpita; 07-22-2010, 07:34 AM. Reason: I must be stupid to argue with a fool
                          Opinions expressed are mine alone, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Philadelphia Fire Department and/or IAFF Local 22.

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by mrpita View Post
                            Due to the many tasks (admin and fireground) the aides handle, the chiefs all stood up to the administration and said no. So the aides are no longer being considered for cuts.
                            Sounds like the Aides are more valuable then the chiefs!
                            So you call this your free country
                            Tell me why it costs so much to live
                            -3dd

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Originally posted by ScareCrow57 View Post
                              I know that rural response times can be up to an hour in some of the more remote areas of the country. In some cases it may be several hours.
                              And we really aren't discussing rural responses. Additionally, the exposure considerations in the rural area are generally much less of a problem. So a 15+ minute response time might just mean more damage to the building involved, whereas in an urban environment that same response time might just mean multiple buildings involved upon the FD arrival.

                              Ideally you have 14 fire fighters responding to every fire in less than a minute. Unfortunately, we cannot afford ideal.

                              When times were good and money was plentiful increased staffing was no problem. Under the current environment the Federal government keeps spending like a bunch of drunken sailors and is cutting the money going to the states. The states in turn are tightening the belt by cutting services, and cutting aid to localities. The localities cannot cut any aid payments so they have to tighten the belt. The challenge for local governments is to provide all of the same services but not a the same level. When this happens you look to your highest cost first; just like in your personal finances.
                              Right, but you also have to look at other factors than just cost. My highest cost item personally is my mortgage. Sure I could save a substantial amount of money each month if I stopped paying, but the end result would be losing the house. There would be an economic impact from this - loss of the property itself for resale, etc. and also the loss of a place to live.

                              Most of the time it seems that the only focus is on the savings and not much effort is spent looking at the impact. Sure the FD may be attractive for a larger cost savings, but cutting other services (regardless of how worthwhile they may be) may be the better option in the long run.


                              And even in a perfect world, would every department by 100% compliant with all of the NFPA standards. I recall when 1710 and 1720 were published stating that this is a great tool to justify more staffing. I got beat up severely for that, now here we are years later and people are using it for just that purpose.
                              Not familiar with that discussion.

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by ScareCrow57 View Post
                                All things to consider as budgets shrink. The old way of doing things because "they work for us" are no longer valid.

                                Or maybe because "they are the methods that work in urban areas".

                                You're an alleged firefighter with alleged experience in a rural to suburban setting? What expertise do you have on urban fire suppression? What experience do you have in providing fire protection to cities? From the sounds of it you have no background in urban fire protection which is a different animal than fighting fire in suburban or rural areas.

                                Comment

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