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  • #31

    [This message has been edited by CousinVinny354 (edited 02-08-2001).]


    • #32
      !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!??????????????????

      [This message has been edited by Capt. D (edited 01-25-2001).]


      • #33

        [This message has been edited by CousinVinny354 (edited 02-08-2001).]


        • #34
          I'm from a small Volunteer department(30 members, 270 runs FY2000) and it sounds like the PG departments are top notch. I hope the Captain that said he has seen irresponsible and free lance attitudes was witnessing isolated instances. We must have pride in our departments and our work or it lends to a poor performance on the fire ground and in training. A department that has low esteem is dangerous. I started out on a department that averaged 6 structure fires a year but when it came to very large prairie or wildland fires we had plenty. These enabled us to have pride in our department because it's what we did best. We led the way! Now I'm on a department that averages 2 - 3 structure fires a month plus the large grass fires, MVAs' on a major turnpike, EMS, rescue, oil battery fires etc... We definitely have a good reputation with surrounding departments and we are very proud of our performance. We're safe, yet aggressive. Now with all that said, I hope your statement about departments that have only a couple structure fires a year, was not intended as a put down. I respect departments that are slower than we are yet they stay with it year in and year out. Think of the dedication that takes. I think these departments should be very proud of what they do, as long as they stay trained and stay safe. It definitely takes more work and guts to keep with it when you only have a few actual fires a year. Hats off to these Brothers. I'm talking like we're really busy but in comparison not even close, but we are very proud of who we are. I hope your departments keep the good reputation you have through not only aggressiveness but with excellence. By the way Bridgecreek Ok is twenty miles southwest of OKC. You may have heard about the F-5 tornado that wiped out a good portion of our community on May 3rd, 1999. Stay safe.

          Tell your family you love them.


          • #35
            Hey Cousin Vinny,

            I don't have a hardon for Kentland or anyone else in PG County. In fact, I have several friends and accquantances (including your father)who are members at 33. All I am trying to say is that the system is not as great as people in this forum try to present it. Compared to many other sytems, both career and volunteer, it is excellent (including 33). But, when a career lieutentant or captain has to respond driver only on an engine because the rest of the crew is out on an ambulance run, something is wrong. The volunteers who are supposed to make up the rest of the crew aren't there. I realize that this doesn't happen at 33, but it IS happening at many other places in the county.


            • #36

              [This message has been edited by CousinVinny354 (edited 02-08-2001).]


              • #37
                well this is interesting...now that my boss is online....

                as far as the state of the department...I agree...most of the busiest companies are hurting for members and do rely on career staffing at some or all portions of the week. It' s not unusual for 4 of 7 companies to respond understaffed on a box alarm, especially early morning in the southside.

                Volunteerism is down nationwide, but i would blame 90% of PGFD's (and their neighbor to the west's) problEMS on ems transport responsibilities. The busiest ambulances in PG run around 4000 runs a year. As a volunteer you are not allowed to use any paramedic skills. How many people do you know that would last very long running 4000 BuLSh*t runs a year. So having an ambulance runs volunteers out of the station. (before all you EMS pundits chime in about _ANYTHING_, i don't care...EMS _is_ important..i am referring to the TRANSPORT aspect. The County KNOWS that the most efficient EMS transport system possible for a county of 112 sq miles , 800,000 population is to use system status management. Take the ambulances out of the stations and no career apparatus would ever go understaffed, and volunteer participation would nearly double.

                BTW 14 sold the "mini" pumper to the PGFD....Pleasant Gap FD, PA.


                • #38
                  After all this heated discussion, I have to know: are there any female FF (volly or paid) in the department under discussion?


                  • #39

                    Just to answer your question, there are many, many females in the PGFD, both in the volunteer role and in the career role. No problems with the County not having any female representation -- no females in the "Forum" though...


                    • #40
                      I felt it necessary to chime in on a couple points that have come across in this topic from the perspective of a former PG Co. volunteer.

                      To begin with - the PG County VOLUNTEER Fire Department is a goldmine for all firefighters. Where else can someone, as I did, volunteer in a metropolitan area that matches some of the biggest cities in the country in call volume, population and other comparable aspects? No where! I would not be where I am right now if it were not for the experiences gained as a live-in member of Company 29, Silver Hill VFD.

                      Diverse opinions have been posted here in the past couple of days on the subjects of impact to the PGFD. Please bare with the length of my email as I explain the background of the department, the problems it faces and the solutions anyone would arrive at looking from the outside in.

                      First of all, the bare bones background on the PGFD.

                      PG County surrounds DC on the south/southeast comprising approximately 1/2 to 2/3 of the Maryland/DC border. It is a county with a 60 + percent minority population of over 850,000. It runs over 160,000 incidents per year. It is made up of urban, suburban and rural areas with the majority of population and urban areas surrounding the district. This includes dense business/industrial and residential areas that are indiscriminatable to corresponding areas in the district.

                      Staffing is comprised of a combination career/volunteer base of over 47 stations spread throughout the county, with the most being located within the Capital Beltway (I-495) and the busiest from the central portion of the county south. The busiest companies run about 6,000 engine calls, 1,200 truck, 4000 ambulance and 3000 squad calls per year.

                      As with suppression services, EMS is provided through both combination staffing, as well as strictly volunteer / strictly career personnel. All ALS is provided by county staffing in the form of about 8 (correct me if I'm wrong) medic units. All but 4 stations have ambulances, some having "Rescue" units which are 100% career staffed ambulances. The remaining stations either staff ambulances by all volunteers or a combination career / volunteer makeup.

                      Although the PGFD is a combination department, by numbers, it is a VOLUNTEER DEPARTMENT, SUPPLIMENTED BY CAREER STAFFING. This is true in the fact that career staffing, with the exception of about 15-20 stations is between the hours of 0700 and 1500. This staffing though isn't required to meet minimum manning requirements until 0900 technically (before the company is placed out of service if no one can be detailed to fill the vacancy). Therefore, the county FD is only required to maintain staffing between 0900 and 1500 M-F. This includes chief officers (Battalion Chiefs) as well. (As a side note, volunteers and career personnel are held to the same standards for training and certification, establishing the basis for a seamless command structure where a Lt = Lt and a Capt = Capt, and so forth).

                      From 1500 to 0700 the county is probably staffed with greater than 75% volunteers. This is when the majority of fires occur incidentally as well. It is true that units are routinely understaffed from many stations but I must go back to spbrooks' post to expand on why it is this way and the impact.

                      THE STAFFING ISSUE (and EMS ISSUE – one and the same)

                      First of all spbrooks hit the nail on the head. The PG County fire department has made a couple of drastic miscalculations, which to anyone looking in from the outside would agree, has created the current problem of understaffing, as well as future issues which will arise. These miscalculations surround EMS and where career staffing is dedicated.

                      EMS in PG County

                      The county maintained a HUGE volunteer base for up until the mid to late 1990s. This was capable for a number of reasons, the largest relating to EMS, and specifically transport services. The county has, especially in the last few years, put undue pressure on the volunteers and their respective companies to provide EMS transport services. The problem regarding this push is that as I have explained, the county is made up of a dense, comparatively (to other US counties) depressed socio-economic population. As anyone who is familiar with other EMS systems in similar areas of the country could attest – EMS transport services are a glorified taxi service to the highest degree. I would wager to say that approximately 70% or more of EMS incidents, including ALS dispatched incidents are not life-threatening emergencies requiring EMS care. The citizens use, and abuse this public service. And therefore, use and abuse the providers of the service.

                      The citizens do pay taxes for these services and therefore should be provided them (I am leaving my own thoughts here unwritten). The firefighters though, those who VOLUNTEER their time, DONATING it to the county ***do not live in the stations, or spend time in the stations to be abused, nor for the majority of them, provide EMS/Taxicab service in general. They VOLUNTEER to provide fire suppression, rescue and their inherent first response to *serious* emergency medical services!***

                      This has over the years reduced the volunteer base significantly. The main reason: Why would you, as a firefighter who wants to volunteer performing fire suppression, rescue and as I differentiated, *serious* EMS care want to be stuck on a big taxi cab filling out hours of paperwork per BS run? Not me, and I would wager, not you. So the volunteers left because they got BURNED OUT.

                      THE MISCALCULATION

                      The county fire department though continues to insists upon requiring those individuals to provide this transport service although they hire compensated staffing. This paid staffing should be directed to positions which would reduce the negative impact on volunteer FIREFIGHTERs, allowing them to do what they are willing to do for free. If the county was to take on what spbrooks recommended, SYSTEM STATUS MANAGEMENT, many of the current issues would be mitigated or resolved. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term system status management, it is basically a dynamic demand based EMS system placing dedicated (paid) staffed units where they are most needed. This could be both from firehouses as well as key locations throughout the county.

                      By doing so, the HUGE, unrealistic and devastating burden of EMS transport would be lifted from the volunteer base bringing back many of the volunteer who left from EMS BURN OUT and keeping others who would have left given the current practice.


                      Take the paid fire department staffing and place them on ambulances to allow the volunteers, those who are not compensated, and do not want to be unduly stuck on an ambulance, the ability to ride firetrucks. By taking two paid firefighters per unit and placing dedicated ambulances on the street, the suppression positions they would normally be placed in would be more than made up by keeping, bringing back and basically shoring the volunteer base for fire suppression. In addition, when a fire incident occurs, have the ambulance respond with the fire trucks to supplement fire ground staffing (great for 2-in, 2-out – train them to be the RIC team then those firefighters on the responding units can concentrate on suppression directed activities).

                      In doing so you will experience a significantly improved EMS system (more units and faster response), improved suppression staffing (fewer to no understaffed fire trucks) and better moral overall (compensated individuals do the work the volunteers don’t want to, but get a pay check in return and the volunteers get to spend their DONATED time doing what they came to do). This would SAVE COUNTY TAXPAYERs money because their would be higher volunteer staffing and improved services.

                      Does it make sense? Why won’t the county leadership listen – or the fire department decide they should do what is in the best interest of the county and not Local 1619 of the IAFF?

                      I left PG, and have gone on to other things but my heart is still there and I wish young firefighters in 10 years will still get the opportunity I had. Maybe next time I speak up I'll touch on the Non-profit gaming and where the fire department will end up on its current track.

                      Jeff Park
                      FF - Boston FD


                      • #41
                        I'm with you brother 100%. I too saw the folly of EMS about 1979. A free taxi ride to the hospital for far too many. In fact when I lived at West Lanham Hills # 28 in 1980-1983 I refused to go on any ambulance calls (28 had an ambulance back then, 2500+ per yr.) We had a paid man because of the ambulance, and 3 vollys who were live-ins. The kicker was the ambo was in and out all night long with the paid guy and one of the volunteer live-ins which left only 2 of us for the wagon or the truck. To get a shift man you had to have the ambo. but at the same time the ambo was hurting our fire response readyness.........Do you see where i'm going with this? 28 has told the County to pound salt and the ambo is gone. but as Jeff so skillfully pointed out the ems business is the road to ruin in P.G. County.

                        Why should Volunteers have something imposed upon them by pusillanimous leadership at the County Fire Chiefs level. I'll agree with Capt.Dan of dcfd Manning suffers at most pgfd houses. Thats what makes sucess stories so refreshing such as "The little Engine on Landover Rd that Could"

                        The possible answer is for the Volunteer Chiefs to wake up, stop takin grief from Mr. Sorrynicky and tell him to shove his ambos. The firemen would come back in droves, the county taxpayers would sit-up and take notice. and perhaps the County would do something to address the undermanned companies that plague many PGFD companies.

                        The paid fire chief has been playing a game of pit one volunteer against another for far too long.........the time for real leadership has arrived. When it come to ems...."Just say No"..........Jake


                        • #42
                          Bravo, Jeff! Extremely well presented and quite factual -- let's see if any of the so called "experts" can refute that! Perhaps some of the "leaders" should sit up and take notice!


                          • #43
                            SBrooks brought to light a point which I'm hoping PGFD forum members could clarify. Not to be a puto, but I'd like only current or former PGFD members to answer the inquiry.

                            He mentioned that PGFVD members are not permitted to use paramedic skills. In listening to some radio traffic (haven't had time to come for a visit since graduation from college) that some departments which I think are volunteer do have medics. I've heard company 49 have a medic running (that's Laurel Rescue, right?) and 46's with a medic...Kentland's less known station... Could any of you perhaps enlighten a midwesterner a bit? If you can not administer paramedic skills (narcotics and the what not), what actions would you take if you took a call in your first due area for a full arrest and the medic was still a ways off?


                            • #44

                              I Take Nothing Personal on these Fourms...Your Appoligies are accepted and appriciated...As far as Kentland is concerned if you ever get the chance to go down you will see what everyone means an engine company that responds to thousands of runs a year/all volunteer/sometimes 15-20 per day...Is busy and needs to be good --- the amount of work they see is high also --- read the website www.kentland33.com and even listen to the live audio and you'll see that they have thier s*** together --- Peace and Stay Safe out there


                              • #45
                                As the jake from beantown said, there are 8 (actually a couple more now) medic units in the county. They used to be numbered sequentially 1-8 and i could tell you how many we had, now they are numbered by the station. eg, Medic 4, 12, 47, 49. They are staffed exclusively by career paramedics. The county is now requiring all Emergency Response Technician recruits (what most people would call a FF) to become paramedics. there was talk, don't know how far it has gotten, of openining a volunteer staffed paramedic unit.

                                If you are a paramedic in maryland, and are volunteering your time on a PG county ambulance, and you run a code, and the closest medic unit is 10-15 minutes away, you AED, pump and blow, and load and go. Too bad for the patient i guess.

                                BTW for all of you who know about PG County: They have approximately 500 uniformed employees, perhaps more now that theyve hired 128. How about this break down:
                                10 four man companies staffed 24/7,
                                8 four man companies staffed 12/7,
                                24 two man medic units staffed 24/7, and
                                22 two man medic units staffed 12/7.

                                I believe this comes out to 504 personnel with a daytime peak of 18 staffed companies and an evening peak of 46 staffed medic units. Currently PGFD uses overtime for filling vacancies for sick leave, annual leave, etc.

                                Just a thought. I didn't even bring up quints or casino gaming.


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