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Neighborhood Association needs help on station closing

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  • Neighborhood Association needs help on station closing

    Hi,

    I am Co-President of our Neighborhood Association. The City is planning on closing our fire station in our neighborhood and plan to move it a mile or two away. We need some help.

    Here is a little back ground:

    Mankato, MN
    Population 35,000
    2 colleges (1 state college), multilevel housing, rail road yard, airport.
    Full-time/volunteer combo department. Assist on medical calls with local Gold Cross Ambulance

    We have had a fire station in our neighborhood since the 1960's I believe. It is getting old and can no longer handle todays heavy trucks. It is in need of a face lift and remodel at a minimum.

    One option the City would like to do is close it and build a new one 1.5 miles away. There was one near this location that they recently shut down for I have no idea what reason. They also plan to build another fire station in the "newer" part of town where growth is expected, which make sense, but does affect us in increased response times.

    The City claims response times are 6 minutes. This is NOT always a 4-crew truck. I was told by one city council official that "It only takes one person to drive a truck" . From my understanding response times used to be 3 to 4 minutes.

    As a former volunteer firefighter I am sure the firefighters want/need a new station or at least a major remodel. I also believe the City should be increasing public safety by providing properly staffed stations. Building a new fire station that is not staffed full time does not suit the needs.

    The City will argue using NFPA 1720 and that they have met the needs of the City. We will argue using NFPA 1710 that they are lacking. We would like the City to do a proper GIS mapping to provide a better plan as to where a station is needed. Taking into account concentration of calls, traffic levels, speeds, stop signs, terrain, future growth etc.

    Can anyone provide any further assistance regarding this subject and how to approach the City as to save our station and fire fighters and keep our fire safety from being unchanged?

  • #2
    Originally posted by jasondart View Post
    The City will argue using NFPA 1720 and that they have met the needs of the City. We will argue using NFPA 1710 that they are lacking.
    Which standard applies to your city?
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"
    sigpic
    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

    Comment


    • #3
      Here is a link to current locations (red marks) and proposed locations (yellow marks).

      http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UT...a0c33d2fd56968

      Just from looking at the map, instead of the new fire station being centrally located it is near the river with automatically gives the response times a fan shape versus a circular shape. This seems like a waste of $. Why not have a station encompass a larger area. (other side of the river is a different city, all volunteer)
      Last edited by jasondart; 10-14-2010, 05:18 PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
        Which standard applies to your city?
        Good question. The City will tell you 1720. We used to be a Full-Time Department City. We now have Full-Time along with paid part-time/volunteer staffing in the evenings. Each volunteer staffs a station 3 or 4 nights a month, so some stations are a crew of 3 or 4 from 6 pm to 6 am.. During the day they have more full-time staff. When a large call goes out volunteers show up in their own vehicles or respond to the station to get another truck.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by jasondart View Post
          Good question. The City will tell you 1720.
          Having just read the department website and looked at your Google map, I have to agree with them. You don't have a "substantially all career fire department" -- that's the only way to get into 1710.

          With your career staff and resident volunteers you have a jump on typical volunteer departments but, IMHO, the standard that best fits your department is 1720.
          "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"
          sigpic
          The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
            With your career staff and resident volunteers you have a jump on typical volunteer departments but, IMHO, the standard that best fits your department is 1720.
            Yes, 1720 would best fit this city.
            Jason Knecht
            Firefighter/EMT
            Township Fire Dept., Inc.
            Eau Claire, WI

            IACOJ - Director of Cheese and Whine
            http://www.cheddarvision.tv/
            EAT CHEESE OR DIE!!

            Comment


            • #7
              It looks like the proposed station is about 600 feet from the closed one....

              Is there any media attention on this? Channel 12? The newspaper?

              Comment


              • #8
                If it's only 600', what's the issue?
                Train to fight the fires you fight.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I don't really understand the issue myself....

                  two blocks away from the old station isn't a big deal...am I missing something.
                  Jason Knecht
                  Firefighter/EMT
                  Township Fire Dept., Inc.
                  Eau Claire, WI

                  IACOJ - Director of Cheese and Whine
                  http://www.cheddarvision.tv/
                  EAT CHEESE OR DIE!!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Looking at the map the OP provided, one can't tell the city/town limits.

                    Plus too from what I see the locations seem to be OK where they are or where they would like to build new houses.

                    Jason, you need to understand that fire houses are placed by the fire load in the area. Again, I can't tell any more by looking at your map that what I see.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      It looks like it is right by the currently closed station 2. I'm guessing there is not gonna be any fire station now where the old station one was and they will have two station 600 feet from each other. The city might be planning on selling the house two and house one. In that case the scenario purpose makes sense to me.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I'm not sure of the issue either but there is another proposed station site to the north east. I think maybe that is the one he is talking about.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Sorry about that. I included some more information that may help and I will explain more.

                          http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UT...d2fd56968&z=13

                          As you can see our neighborhood is in blue and the current station #1 sits on the SW side of it. The proposed new station in question that would close station #1 would be to the SW more (Yellow Marker) about 600' from the old station #2 (green marker) now closed. Station #3 SE side of city is still open. Schools are blue.

                          The proposed station to the NE is not the issue. Our concern is that the potential station to the SW and the closing of station #1 will increase the response times to our neighborhood, which have been well with in 1710 for the last 40 years. The department used to be all full time and over time have lost jobs and gone more paid volunteer. One firefighter told me response times used to be 3-4 minutes and now they are 6 minutes. Due to the fact the fire department responds to medicals as needed 4 - 6 minutes is a critical time for medical treatment. Not that police can assist with CPR.

                          My argument is that the department is more 1710 and should be held to that guideline, due to the fact it was once all full time and station #1 is still 100% staffed on a full time basis (basically a full time department 24/7 out of station #1 for initial calls and response times). Station #3 is staffed full time from 6 pm to 6 am.

                          Our neighborhood is mostly homes from 1900's to 1930's and we have had the privilege of having a station so close for 30+ years. We understand that budgets are tight, but we believe that public safety should be one of the basic needs of any city. Especially above new amphitheaters, hanging flower baskets and beautification projects. The City has cut full time jobs of both the police and fire, meanwhile spending $30,000 on each one block alley paving projects (home owners paying most of the bill).

                          A GIS map that shows fire loads, schools, topography, etc would do wonders to help settle our concerns, but we are just looking for input as to what other departments have done with station closings and relocations.
                          Last edited by jasondart; 10-15-2010, 06:10 AM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by jasondart View Post
                            My argument is that the department is more 1710 and should be held to that guideline, due to the fact it was once all full time and station #1 is still 100% staffed on a full time basis (basically a full time department 24/7 out of station #1 for initial calls and response times). Station #3 is staffed full time from 6 pm to 6 am.
                            1710 isn't a "guideline;" it's a standard with a specific scope and application. A department cannot be "more 1710" for purposes of applying the standard. Either it's a "substantially all career fire department" or it isn't. You only have a single fully staffed station according to your map with only 16 career firefighters (split over how many shifts?) and rely on resident and non-resident vlunteers to fill out your responses. You barely have enough career firefighters altogether to fill out a first response under 1710. The fact that the department used to be all career doesn't help; it isn't all career now.

                            Our neighborhood is mostly homes from 1900's to 1930's and we have had the privilege of having a station so close for 30+ years. We understand that budgets are tight, but we believe that public safety should be one of the basic needs of any city.
                            That's the argument you're going to have to make -- 1710 isn't a valid argument for you.
                            "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"
                            sigpic
                            The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Understandable, but wouldn't 1710 be a standard that a combo department strive to meet. 1710 specifically states:

                              In the case of this standard, their work is the first organized approach to defining levels
                              of service, deployment capabilities, and staffing levels for those “substantially” career fire
                              departments.
                              and 1720 states:

                              In the case of this standard, their work is the first organized approach to defining deployment for those “substantially” volunteer fire
                              departments.
                              NFPA also says:

                              More often than not, fire departments have been held accountable to the NFPA documents in court and in individual state Departments of Labor. In addition, these standards do not address the issue of the ever-increasing number of combination fire departments.
                              From my research, if you are a combination department, the authority having jurisdiction over your department makes the decision which standard your department is going to use. The department may fall under both 1710 and 1710 day vs night.

                              Seeing as the City Manager seems to be in charge of these decisions (no Fire Chief) I can see why they would choose 1720. Less $ and less liability.

                              Regardless of staffing levels, what have some of your departments/city (Full time or volunteer) done with regards to station location and closing? How did they choose the site? What have you see in areas where stations were closed? Did the response times really change?

                              Comment

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