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Ranks Thin in Hazard Unit of Fire Dept.

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  • Dalmatian90
    replied
    Thanks E40...

    That's really YOUNG! And I'm sure it's a definite challenge to get the few old farts to download all their years of experience into all the young bucks at ratios like that.

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  • E40FDNYL35
    replied
    Originally posted by Dalmatian90
    What does that mean? 80% have less than 5 years on the job, or you've been staffed only 80% for 5 years, or something else?
    ...Firefighters with less then 5 years are the majority about 80%. Members over 5 year minority about 20%.

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  • Dalmatian90
    replied
    Question for E40FDNYL35:
    80% under 5 years.

    What does that mean? 80% have less than 5 years on the job, or you've been staffed only 80% for 5 years, or something else?

    ======================
    Another observation/relation for what it's worth.
    First, I'm skeptical NYC can be adequately served by a single dedicate Haz-Mat unit, and the Squads/Rescues are awful busy already to keep up high level Tech skills, too.

    But anyway, our local Haz Mat Tech from the State says he used to make Level A entries 40+ times a year, and now they may go months without one. Simply, better compliance with regulations have meant fewer needs for Level A entries. Ironically, as the need for Level A entries has gone down, the resources to handle all Haz-Mats from simple ops to complex, long term mobile lab & mitigation work has increased several fold.

    I'm not sure if that little story is a good one for regulations doing their job, or a tale of government resources being 15 years behind the curve -- now finally having resources to deal with a problem that's a lot less than it used to be.

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  • Bones42
    replied
    Quick question. How often is Hazmat 1 needed but not available due to being on another call?

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  • ff7134
    replied
    FFFred thanks for the extra info. I know that the Squad and Rescue Companies are usually very busy. The Squads also respond to their normal BOX Alarms on top of special rescue and hazmat. And with respect to the daily training of the squads and rescues, I am glad to hear that they do get training time do all their specialties. I know it has to be a pain in the butt due to their call load to get some good training going.

    And I know the amount of time I spend a shift on HAZMAT. I spend at least 2 hours a day reading manuals and other material, and 2 times a month we have a 4-6hr training with the team.

    As for the call load, being that I don't know the exact SOP and call requirements for HM1 and can tell you they are probably very busy. I know we send out our HM Rapid truck for any fuel spill greater than 45 gallons. And FDNY has to have a greater chance of having HM calls than I do. And I have heard that Chicago's HM Team are VERY busy.

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  • MIKEYLIKESIT
    replied
    In Chicago,there are fire companies that are "sister companies" with the haz mat unit. Also the city Squad (heavy rescue)companies respond on haz mat incidents. 5-1-1 which is the Haz Mat unit covers alot of ground. They do, at times respond from one end of the city to the other. Thats almost 30 miles.

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  • FFFRED
    replied
    DrParasite-

    I can see where you are trying to argue the others side but I think some background info and Facts are necesary to alivate any misconceptions...

    1st New York City comprises 468 sq miles of dense developent and humainty, All but the Bronx are on islands. This makes for limited access between Boro's. While other cities may be larger in area...the density and congestion of the streets contributes to poor mobility. The Haz-Mat is based out of Queens and depending on where the Box is, it might take some time for them to arrive.

    Listed in the McKinsey Report was the need for additional Haz Mat resources. Having only one speciallized Haz-Mat company was seen as a weekness especailly in light of 9-11/anthrax scares/terrrorism. While no one is arguing that training Trucks to Ops level is bad...it doesn't provide techs and specialists that can mitigate an incident.

    There are only 5 Rescues and 7 Squads(all have 5 men & 1 officer). They have many duties other than Haz-Mat. Although there might not be multiple Haz-Mat incidents, there might be a simultaneous rescue call and the Rescue and Squad normally assigned are tied up at a Haz-Mat run while waiting for additonal resources in the form of HM1.

    As for the Haz-Mat, Rescues & Squads not training enough...the Rescue's and Squads do nothing but train with multiple drills per day. Some on fire, some tech rescue and some on Haz-Mat. The members of SOC are some of the most motivated and dedicated individuals out there. In fact most depts in the country would be challenged to find companies that drill as much or more than those guys.

    I'm not sure how training Trucks to Tech Level would be the simplest or best idea...there are multiple issues that would need to be addressed. Initial training, recertification training, daily haz-mat drills now must also be fit in with regular daily drills to maintain proficency. $$$ to pay the members for their new responsibility, medical monitioring of blood and more intinsive medical exams for all those truck compaines members. Would that restrict what members could work in those companies on details? Could members of the Engine cross the floor or would they have to hire OT members who are trained as techs? Are these not the same issues your or anyone else's fire dept face?

    Also while call backs might work in your city, they prob. wouldn't work in NY or many other large cities. For that would involve, members being found, reporting to the firehouse getting their gear, procuring transportation to this incident once they were all assembled...but depending on traffic and where one lives in NY it might take 2+ hours just to get to the firehouse. Not to mention that it would involve contract talks regarding a number of issues with the unions. Number one being this is a paid profesional Fire Dept. If NY needs more resources then NY should have more compaines, not call in more members when an incident happens, NYC is not some small village with a paid-on-call vollie company.

    I hope this gives you a better understanding of the issue presented in Times article.
    Last edited by FFFRED; 08-06-2003, 09:01 PM.

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  • drparasite
    replied
    No, I'm not a tech, and not on a team. and i'll be the first to admit that my hazmat knowledge isn't that great. i have no feelings about this topic one way or another (due to my lack of hazmat experience). I do agree that NYC should have a fully staffed hazmat unit. and I think probably 95% of the people on these boards say NYC should have more HazMat units, and I figured i would try and see this from the other side (the non-firefighter side), and state the reasoning. after all, it would be kinda dull if everyone just agreed with the topic. now, I'm going to put my hat back on (you know, the one with the horns) and resume my role as the devil's advocate.

    ff7134, your right about needed lots of techs. but the hazmat team members are all HazMat Specialists. all the members of the squads and rescue companies are trained to the tech level. That's 6 techs per squad and i think 8 techs per rescue. and if they aren't training enough in HM, why don't they just train more? why not train the truck companies trained to the hazmat tech level too? with the exception of the initial training, it doesn't cost signifigantly more.

    MIKEYLIKESIT, good point about bringing up chicago's HazMat Unit. If you say they are busy, then I'll take your word for it. but how often is a second hazmat call pending, while the main hazmat unit is out on another hazmat call? if they can handle everything with one unit, that's great. if CFD or another department needs to recall off duty HM specialists for a major hazmat call, i have no problem with that, since I'm paying them to work. but if one unit can handle all the calls, then what is the need for a second unit?

    once again, i'm not anti-firefighter, or anti-hazmat (I have been in the fire dept for over 4 years).

    i'm just trying to give the persepctive of the non-firefighter, the public citizen, who pays the bills but doesn't always know what the day to day operations are.

    oh, E40FDNYL35, when i went through FF1, my istructor told us he was asked the same question by a public citizen ("why am I paying you to sit around at the station") and his response was exactly what you said.

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  • ff7134
    replied
    DrParasite,

    #1 Are you a Tech???Or on a Team?
    #2 Have you ever been on a large scale HAZMAT Incident?

    My Team has about 25 Techs that come from 4 Departments but Mainly from my department. It takes usually 1 Tech(the Chief) as HM IC, 1 Tech Safety Officer, 2-3 Techs For research, 2 Recon Techs, 2-3 Mitigation Techs and thats 10 Techs and that is for a small incident. I was at a large incident that had 19 Techs and we still needed more. And this is middle of nowhere Ohio. NYC has a whole lot more of potential for a HAZMAT then we do. And yes they do have the Squad Co's and the Rescues. But lets get realistic, how much time do they actually get practicing and studing HAZMAT stuff.....very little!!
    So I could very well see the need for a full Company 1 and a second company. And like E40 said they are at 80% staffing and no one wants to transfer due to the lack of fire, HM is a very thought orientied type of service. Also like E40 said...we are insurance plain and simple. Would you want the guys trying to save your bacon someone who has the training; or guys who live,breath and love HAZMAT?? Me I'll take the second choice!
    Last edited by ff7134; 08-06-2003, 07:58 AM.

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  • E40FDNYL35
    replied
    DrParasite...please allow me to play devil's advocate on this topic: "I'm not paying your guys to sit around; I'm paying you guys to respond to emergencies."

    Firefighters are an insurance policy. You pay into it but you hope you never have to use it. You want to have the most qualified company with the best tools at a HazMat incident. ( New York City Fire has that. ) These guy's are not sitting around. They go to schools and train every day on Hazmat. Me personal I hope I never see the Hazmat pull up because I know something bad is there. But I know if I do there the BEST at what they do. One of the problems still is, the Department is 80% under 5 years.
    Last edited by E40FDNYL35; 08-06-2003, 07:46 AM.

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  • MIKEYLIKESIT
    replied
    Big city's need to be able to have a well trained,FULLTIME haz mat unit. It dosen't matter if they spend most of their time in the firehouse,although that is not necessarily correct. The Chicago Fire Department haz mat team, stays quite busy and the City is much smaller then NYC. In the suburbs, we have regional teams, which is the correct way to do it. In the Big City, it just wouldnt work out too well.

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  • drparasite
    replied
    please allow me to play devil's advocate on this topic:

    from the public's point of view:
    why should my taxes pay for multiple highly specialized units that spend most of their time in the fire house? one unit can respond to the majority of the hazmat calls, and when they respond, both the rescue and squad companies respond as well (both are staffed with hazmat techs). further, if a second call comes in, either the rescue or squad companies can respond. i'm not paying your guys to sit around; i'm paying you guys to respond to emergencies. as a result, i'd rather the department train everyone in hazmat, then have to hire additional FF and create additional compaines that will spend the majority of their time "in the firehouse reading textbooks or carrying handbooks on compressed gases to read on the truck. "

    from the administration point of view:
    yes, we want to expand the hazmat unit. but we have a limited amount of money, that needs to be used to pay for the entire department. recently we created the squad companies, which were designed to be able to handle WMD and HM incidents. furthermore, if we role HM 1 with 2 specs, and also send a rescue and a squad with 10 more techs, that is just as effective as creating 2 HM units staffed with a total of 10 HM specs. plus, the HM unit can direct the techs in what needs to be done about the situation.

    just trying to give the view from the other side.

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  • E40FDNYL35
    replied
    One of the problems not mentioned in this is the Department is 80% under 5 years. Nobody wants to go to HazMat because you do very limited fire duty if any.
    Last edited by E40FDNYL35; 08-05-2003, 05:28 PM.

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  • ff7134
    replied
    Lewiston2Capt

    I guarantee they wouldn't have a problem fully staffing CO 1 and staffing a second company if they would hire outside of FDNY for that postion. I know I would be applying.

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  • Lewiston2Capt
    replied
    I'll do it! Count me in too!

    It's too bad that you have to be in FDNY in order to be selected for the Haz Mat unit. I am sure that there are many people outside FDNY with ample experience that would jump at the chance to be a part of that unit. Two have already spoken up!

    Leave a comment:

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