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  • slackjawedyokel
    replied
    Tree -sounds like your county needs some major consolidation

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  • FyredUp
    replied
    Okay first of all, pardon my ignorance, what is an NFP?

    42 departments in your county? Pardon my response, but what the hell? No wonder you have trouble with recruiting. What is the population of your county?

    Leave a comment:


  • tree68
    replied
    I should check my messages more often.

    We've participated in the statewide recruitment several times. Our message board sat alongside a busy state highway for a week beforehand. Visitors? Zero. We've put out door hangers in our first due. Response? Zero.

    We have departments in the area who claim many "active" members, but have trouble getting trucks out the door, unless it's a "big" one.

    We are in the process of revamping our operations. We have, in the past, centered ops on the two NFPs, each having a chief, etc. Since we're already both under the same fire district, we will be going to a consolidated command structure. One chief, and one deputy chief will be over both companies (the NFPs), with station officers at each station.

    One problem we've had is members of the other NFP driving past our station to get to their "station." Hopefully that will change, and will help us deal with our known manpower issues.

    There are 42 departments in the county. Virtually all of them are in the same boat. There have been news articles. One department went door-to-door and gained several members. I have no idea how long any of them lasted.

    There's kind of a conundrum in the volunteer service. We want new members, but don't want anyone who will rock the boat. We know we need more people, but if someone asks us about it, we tell them everything is fine.

    Around here, paid isn't an answer. For our fire district, the cost of one 24/7 crew would literally double the fire tax. We have two groups who would have an issue with that. The folks on a fixed income, and the folks with expensive summer homes.

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  • FyredUp
    replied
    Originally posted by tree68 View Post
    The way things are in the volunteer service around here these days, virtually every station is a "ghost" station at various times of the day. Not by choice, by any means.

    We do a recruitment campaign and have a nice day sitting around chatting with each other.

    The public doesn't know they're being lied to. They don't care until they have a need for the fire department's services. Even then, as long as the BRT shows up, they're happy.

    Sadly your story isn't a rare one these days but, and its a big BUT, have you gone to your governing body in a public meeting (that you publicized through social media and other means) and made it brutally clear how dire the situation is?

    Have you gone to the local media to publicize the problem and give potential solutions? More people stepping up to volunteer, part-time paid people, full-time paid people, live in interns?

    Just curious about your recruitment campaign. Where do you do it? At the station? Outside local businesses? At the high school? Local college (if that applies)? Local or regional fire training facility?

    Its a harsh reality that many places just can't do it anymore without paid personell to cover those empty slots. It doesn't have to the death of the volunteers if it is done properly. But having no one to respond is a huge liability that should not be accepted ever.

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  • tree68
    replied
    The way things are in the volunteer service around here these days, virtually every station is a "ghost" station at various times of the day. Not by choice, by any means.

    We do a recruitment campaign and have a nice day sitting around chatting with each other.

    The public doesn't know they're being lied to. They don't care until they have a need for the fire department's services. Even then, as long as the BRT shows up, they're happy.

    Leave a comment:


  • FyredUp
    replied
    Originally posted by FIRE117 View Post
    I always viewed volunteer fire halls, to be unmanned stations. When an emergency occurs, pagers, sirens, etc. notify the volunteers of the alarm and they then respond to the fire hall. If local residents have an accurate view of the fire department, they realize that the FD response is longer, with volunteer firefighters. If someone does not realize what volunteer responses entail, they may belive it is a staffed station and response is faster.

    I have never heard of a ghost station. I've always known, that any substation has some number of volunteers assigned to it.

    Building ghost stations, can give the community a false sense of security.

    Just to be clear I do not consider a volunteer fire station that has members that respond in adequate numbers to handle their calls a ghost station. To me a ghost station is a station built with no intent to staff it with paid personnel, or built where there are no volunteers to respond. I would also add to that a potential ghost station is one where even with volunteer members there are times when there is no guarantee that you will have an adeuate response or any response at all.

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  • FIRE117
    replied
    I always viewed volunteer fire halls, to be unmanned stations. When an emergency occurs, pagers, sirens, etc. notify the volunteers of the alarm and they then respond to the fire hall. If local residents have an accurate view of the fire department, they realize that the FD response is longer, with volunteer firefighters. If someone does not realize what volunteer responses entail, they may belive it is a staffed station and response is faster.

    I have never heard of a ghost station. I've always known, that any substation has some number of volunteers assigned to it.

    Building ghost stations, can give the community a false sense of security.

    Leave a comment:


  • FyredUp
    replied
    Basically those departments are propegating a lie, and a dangerous one at that. Those residents believe thse firehouses offers them fire protection.

    Leave a comment:


  • HuntPA
    replied
    I know of a few departments that have done just what you said. They had an area of their coverage a little too far from the station, so a new "station" was built. Most of them it is just storage and a few have a specialized vehicle (think water rescue, confined space, etc.) or trailer (high angle, mass casualty, etc.). There are no fire apparatus, not structural PPE, and no intention of placing any there. They are storage in a location that benefits ISO or just general public optics rather than a functional emergency response station.

    Leave a comment:


  • FyredUp
    replied
    Originally posted by johnsb View Post
    I wouldn't equate "Ghost station" to any VFD unless there were NO volunteers.
    I agree with that. But my secondary point regarding both volunteer and career/cpmbination departments is that building stations to meet some ISO travel distance standard but having no career staff assigned or volunteers assigned or anywhere near the station is exactly a ghost station.

    Leave a comment:


  • johnsb
    replied
    I wouldn't equate "Ghost station" to any VFD unless there were NO volunteers.

    Leave a comment:


  • FyredUp
    replied
    I guess I could add to the ghost station a "career" department that staffs a station with one or 2 firefighters and if there is an actual fire counts on mutual aid or call backs to assemble enough firefighters to actually do something effective. In the meantime that one or 2 firefighters that arrive to a working fire with trapped victims are put in an impossible situation. Do they attempt rescues, fight the fire, or wait for help? Knowing full well if they attempt rescues or to fight the fire and something goes wrong they are almost assured severe injury or death because no one is their yet to save them..

    Leave a comment:


  • HuntPA
    replied
    It is an interesting thought. I would agree that just because a station is not staffed that it is not a "ghost station". I also agree that there are many "ghost stations" out there built for some purpose other than being a station to respond from.

    I do think that the key to this is communication between the community and the fire department. If the community does not understand the state of the local fire department there are many issues that will come up.
    1) When the department is in need (manpower, responders, financial, etc.) how will people know there is a need. Worse, without the community understanding where the department is at, when a need is presented, the community may feel there has been misappropriations, embezzlement, or other nefarious things happening. This will further damage the department, even when untrue.
    2) People will expect a level of response that is not possible from the existing department. Loss of property, extended response times, and even service not available can occur .
    3) Municipalities may be in violation of various codes and laws regarding providing for health and safety of the public

    Everyone that is honest with themselves knows that volunteers are fewer than ever and manpower is incredibly difficult to come by. If we cannot be honest with ourselves and with the communities that we serve, there is no hope of making things better.

    Leave a comment:


  • FyredUp
    started a topic Ghost Stations

    Ghost Stations

    I heard the term ghost station today, regarding a volunteer department with no staffing on duty at the station. It caused me to ponder this term. Is a station really a ghost station with no on duty volunteer staffing or is a station a ghost station when it is built and equipped in an area with no volunteers or on duty staffing?

    To me if it is a volunteer station with no on duty staffing, yet there are volunteers that respond, in adequate numbers for a call, then it is not a ghost station. It is simply a volunteer station, like so many across the nation that counts on local responders to come from work, or home, or anywhere else.

    If it is a volunteer station and there are times when absolutely no one, or perhaps one or 2 people, can be counted on to respond then I would say that is a ghost station. The fire department is misrepresenting to the community and their governing board that there is 24/7 fire protection. Sadly too many communities are blissfully ignorant of the true state of their fire departments.

    Finally, I know of fire departments that build stations to meet ISO travel requirements to get a better rating, but have no staffing on duty, or any volunteers to staff the station or respond from that station. To me that clearly is a ghost station. Built to create the illusion of fire protection for insurance rating purposes but in reality offering little or nothing in the way of real fire protection.

    We do ourselves, as the fire service, as well as our communities and citizens we protect, no favor by misrepresenting the true capabilities of the local fire department.

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