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Staffing and SOPS

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  • Staffing and SOPS

    Let me throw this one out for comment...

    Two bills have been introduced in the Texas Legislature:

    SB 469 has been proposed and will change the local government code to require staffing of 4 on engines, rescues, ARFF and hazmats and 5 on aerials.

    HB 1529 would require departments to develop, maintain and use SOPS and that the SOPS are to comply with NFPA. If they don't, the FD would be required to file a letter with TCoFP requiring the governimng municipality of the department to waive immunity for injury or death caused by any deviation from NFPA.

    Your thoughts...

  • #2
    Sounds like 2 good bills the brothers in Texas should be getting behind and supporting. Hope they both pass.

    Kevin M. Fitzhenry, [email protected]
    Firefighter, Truck Co. 2
    City of Bayonne (NJ) FD


    • #3

      The bill concerning staffing is mainly targeted towards the City of Houston. It is being held over the City's head in order to force it to solve its manpower problem. Currently, many of their appparatus run with only 3 man crews (normal is 4). HFD is short something like 300 firefighters, and over 50% of the dept is eligible to retire (20+ yrs of service). Up until last summer, the dept was making up the difference with overtime and nobody on the outside noticed. Then the money ran out and the OT was cut.

      My regular job is a Houston Police Officer, and I'm well aware of the city budget problems (just cancelled several scheduled overtime programs). Houston didn't get into this problem overnight and waving a magic wand and saying "you now have to have even more positions" that you can't staff isn't going to solve it. Both the HFD and HPD have had to cancel / postpone recruit academy classes because there were not enough qualified applicants to fill them. HFD has made some progress, by starting hire FFs who are already certified and running them through an abreviated academy.

      Staffing is an issue that should be decided at the local level. If the State orders HFD to staff 4/5, they only way they (and many other depts) can do it is by closing stations.

      From what I've heard (the President of my VFD is very active in Austin), the legislative committee is sitting on the bill right now. If the City of Houston can present a workable plan (within the next couple of weeks) to fix its problems, then the bill will die. If they don't come up with a plan, then it goes through.


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