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  • LaFireEducator
    replied
    According to the union's website, they've run 100 working structure fires so far this year.

    So you really want me to beleive that a town of just over 12K has run 100 working structure fires through August, which projects out to over 140 for the year?

    That's more than one structure fire per 100 residents.

    We are a town of 17K and we run under 20. My last department was a town of 24K and we ran under 30 for the year.

    Sorry, that number simply doesn't wash unless they have one hell of an arson problem.

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  • FireMedic049
    replied
    Originally posted by tree68 View Post
    According to the union's website, they've run 100 working structure fires so far this year.

    Before the layoff last year, they were running two stations with 13 career staff. That's two people per station, 24/7, assuming no sick, vacation, or other impediments of the sort.

    There's no way they could operate without their volunteer backup. The career people are/were not much more than drivers, to ensure that the rigs got out the door.
    And you would be wrong.

    In order to get a full first alarm assignment, they need to not only hire everyone back that got laid off (or at least fill the positions), but they need to hire about 30 more.

    I certainly don't see that happening.
    While both of these are pretty much true, many, many small career and predominately career combo departments do not have "full first alarm assignment" staffing on duty.

    What they do have in general, is a small compliment of on-duty personnel to handle the vast majority of calls and the ability to get additional personnel to the scene when needed.

    For example, my small career department has a 5 FF minimum staffing level currently and we easily handle at least 90% of our calls with our on-duty staffing, but we also have the ability to put NFPA 1710 staffing levels on the fireground in a relatively short time period with a callback of off-duty personnel when we have a building fire.

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  • auxman
    replied
    Of course there is politics. That goes hand in hand with being part of the government. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. No public agency is immune. Get two different political factions fighting and no telling what public service might get caught in the middle through no fault of their own. Doesn't make things right, but thats the way it is.

    But, regardless of political fighting, any paid firefighters in a town of 12K are living on borrowed time anyway, especially if the town is in general economic trouble, city budget trouble, or continuing population losses. Unfortunately, there are a lot of towns in this situation, especially in the "rust belt".

    Why is this risky? At least in my state, the crossover point between vol to combo or paid seems to lie between 10-20,000. Above 20K is almost always all paid. Below 10K is always all volunteer. Cities in between can go both ways.

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  • FireMedic049
    replied
    Originally posted by auxman View Post
    Why would anyone think this is unusual?

    Everyone has seen stories about volunteer departments going to combination or paid as their town grows and run volume exceeds volunteer capabilities.

    When a town shrinks due to economic collapse we should expect to see the opposite happen -- paid departments going to combination or volunteer. At that point it may be the best choice for the town at the time.

    Sure it will have some repurcussions, but thats the modern world. I'm sure they're losing all sorts of other local services that they'd like to keep but can no longer afford.
    You're right, this isn't unusual. These types of decisions are becoming commonplace these days.

    What the true issue in this case is simply ego and politics. I believe they have been losing some other local services, but the Mayor seems to have a vendetta-like focus on the FD and they are seeing disproportionate cuts.

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  • FireMedic049
    replied
    Originally posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    So a community of 15,000 can't be served by volunteers?

    The fact is economic problems need real answers. It's unfortunate that these firefighters will lose tier jobs, but a department with that population and that call volume (if it's 800) should have no problems being served by a volunteer department.
    Go troll somewhere else please. This isn't about whether or not "a community of 15,000 can't be served by volunteers". It is about whether or not THIS PARTICULAR CITY can be adequately served by ONLY volunteers. In THIS PARTICULAR CITY it is also about politics and ego (the Mayor's) more than it is about the budget.

    I think this crisis will make a lot of departments in communities of that size reexamine how they deliver fire protection. And in a lot of places it will mean getting back to volunteers, which is not a bad thing.
    Well, you're certainly entitled to your opinions.

    I have been on all-volunteer departments and seen all-volunteer departments with a much larger population operate quite effectively.
    I have too, but I've also seen all-volunteer departments with much smaller populations operate quite ineffectively.

    Again, it's not government's job to provide firefighting jobs. It's duty is to deliver service at the best cost.
    NO! The local municipal government's duty is to ensure that adequate services are provided. In order to do this, some jobs will be created. In most municipalities, this will include jobs in public works, code enforcement and law enforcement. In some, this will also include jobs in such things as secretarial services, city managers, EMS and even firefighting.

    Leave a comment:


  • MemphisE34a
    replied
    Originally posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    Again, it's not government's job to provide firefighting jobs. It's duty is to deliver service at the best cost.
    Governments most important job is public safety and I would argue that governments job is to provide the BEST service possible at a cost that is both fair to the taxpayers and the employees providing the service.

    The bottomline is this, the City of Uniontown is not going broke soley because of the fire department. The Mayor told the 13 person local that he was going to have to lay off firefighters unless they could find a way to fund the salaries. The Local did that in the form of a no local matching SAFER grant and the Mayor got ****ed off.

    Of coarse it will be a cost saving measure, but in this instance that was not the motive. The Mayor is mad at the Local so he refused to accept the SAFER funds and announced he was laying off all the firefighters and going all volunteer - politics, plain and simply at the expense of public safety. As was stated, if volunteers were fitting the bill, they never would have gone paid to begin with. Even the volunteer department will have standards that will be expected and in most areas, a volunteer force cannot be expected on weekdays between 6am and about 7 pm. Hours beyond that are hit and miss at best. Sure there are some areas where volunteer departments operate exceptionally. Chief Harve's department, Prince William, Prince George, and other counties in the Northeast. But these areas are pulling 200+ members from a community of 50,000 plus. Uniontown has 12,000 people and will most likely not hold a roster of over 15 active volunteers who will be scarcely available - a few hours a night and weekends at best.

    I have seen more than a few posts on the internet form volunteers in Uniontown stating that they have enjoyed it, but when the paid staff goes, they go. They will not have the jobs of 13 people on their concious. I hope that's true and I hope that none of the citizens in Uniontown die before this Mayor and select council members get ousted.

    How many office staff, policeman, and garbage men are the good Mayor laying off. There doesn't seem to be any mention of anything like that in their newspaper.
    Last edited by MemphisE34a; 08-29-2010, 09:47 PM.

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  • auxman
    replied
    Shrinking at least over the long term. In 1940 they had almost 22K and by 2000 were down to 12K.

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  • tree68
    replied
    According to the union's website, they've run 100 working structure fires so far this year.

    Before the layoff last year, they were running two stations with 13 career staff. That's two people per station, 24/7, assuming no sick, vacation, or other impediments of the sort.

    There's no way they could operate without their volunteer backup. The career people are/were not much more than drivers, to ensure that the rigs got out the door.

    In order to get a full first alarm assignment, they need to not only hire everyone back that got laid off (or at least fill the positions), but they need to hire about 30 more.

    I certainly don't see that happening.

    Leave a comment:


  • cozmosis
    replied
    Originally posted by auxman View Post
    When a town shrinks due to economic collapse we should expect to see the opposite happen -- paid departments going to combination or volunteer. At that point it may be the best choice for the town at the time.
    Is Uniontown shrinking? Or are they just broke? And if it's the latter, why are they going broke? If I'm eating out every night and don't have cash for the light bill, guess what I'm going to do? I'm going to eat sandwiches and keep the lights on. Municipalities should do the same with essential & non-essential expenses.

    Originally posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    So a community of 15,000 can't be served by volunteers? The fact is economic problems need real answers. It's unfortunate that these firefighters will lose tier jobs, but a department with that population and that call volume (if it's 800) should have no problems being served by a volunteer department.
    It's possible for a much larger community to be served by volunteers. But at some point, volunteers were obviously not getting the job done and that's why they had a career staff. The question is... Will whatever required the hiring of career firefighters be a problem again? If so, this is not the answer.

    Leave a comment:


  • auxman
    replied
    Why would anyone think this is unusual?

    Everyone has seen stories about volunteer departments going to combination or paid as their town grows and run volume exceeds volunteer capabilities.

    When a town shrinks due to economic collapse we should expect to see the opposite happen -- paid departments going to combination or volunteer. At that point it may be the best choice for the town at the time.

    Sure it will have some repurcussions, but thats the modern world. I'm sure they're losing all sorts of other local services that they'd like to keep but can no longer afford.

    Leave a comment:


  • LaFireEducator
    replied
    So a community of 15,000 can't be served by volunteers?

    The fact is economic problems need real answers. It's unfortunate that these firefighters will lose tier jobs, but a department with that population and that call volume (if it's 800) should have no problems being served by a volunteer department.

    I think this crisis will make a lot of departments in communities of that size reexamine how they deliver fire protection. And in a lot of places it will mean getting back to volunteers, which is not a bad thing.

    I have been on all-volunteer departments and seen all-volunteer departments with a much larger population operate quite effectively.

    Again, it's not government's job to provide firefighting jobs. It's duty is to deliver service at the best cost.

    Ya, I know, I'm no brother and a mutt, and all that other crap, but until the economy improves there often are few other answers. In some cases, the "short-term" answers may end up being an excellent change for the long-term.

    I find it hard to beleive that a community of 15K runs 6,000 calls a year, even with EMS.
    Last edited by LaFireEducator; 08-29-2010, 09:10 PM.

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  • FFEMT2159
    replied
    Maybe I looked at the wrong website but they put their run volume at about 800 a year. It does not excuse the situation however.

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  • PNEFD23
    replied
    Looking at Uniontown Fire's website, they are running around 6000 calls a year, give or take.

    I'm a proud volly, but there comes a point and time where it's no longer feasible to meet the call volume and response times on that alone.

    At 6000 calls a year, if anything they need MORE career firefighters, if not a fully career Department, not this crap.

    The people of Uniontown should be asking the Mayor and council what sacrifices they are willing to make, if they insist on cutting their Fire Service. Better yet, give the city a choice: If they want an all volunteer Dept., they get an all volunteer mayor and council, or GTFO!

    Leave a comment:


  • FireMedic049
    replied
    Originally posted by MIKEYLIKESIT View Post
    Smells like politics 101 to me.
    And your nose would be correct.

    Leave a comment:


  • MemphisE34a
    replied
    Originally posted by L-Webb View Post
    How many people live there?
    12,422 in 2.5 sq. miles.

    Mikey, looks like some of them are gonna do the right thing. The ire department even at full paid staffing was supplemented by volunteers. Looks like several of them are saying when the paid staff goes, they go as well.

    Could be a joint career/volunteer movement before it's over with.

    I wish them all as a department good luck. It's gonna get ugly way before it gets better.

    Leave a comment:

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