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  • A firee from Down Under with some questions...

    Hey All,

    I'm an active volunteer fire fighter from Melbourne, Australia* and just from reading a few threads on these forums it's become pretty apparent to me that terminology and the organisational structure of fire services in the US differs a HELL of a lot from that we have in Australia. I was wondering if anyone here could give me a brief (as possible :P) run down on how things are structured in the US? I know this is a pretty broad question, so i'll tell you guys how things work in Australia and maybe someone can give me the rundown along the same vien as i've outlined?

    For those who don't know, Australia is broken up much like America, into states (And territories, but lets not confuse things here. For arguments sake, they are the same thing). A lot less states, 8 compared to 50. But states none-the-less.

    Generally speaking, each state will have two fire/emergency organisations. One that covers the capital city of the state and one that covers the rest of the state. Again, generally speaking, the fire services provided in the capital cities will be 24/7 Staffed career firefighters and as you get further out from the cities the fire services will slowly turn volunteer. As you go from staff to volunteer stations usually you will also change organisations. However there are cases where the line is blurred. There are instances where the "volunteer" areas include staffed fire stations that are still part of the same organisation as all the other volunteer stations. Hmm, how well am I explaining this? Confused yet?

    Lets get into some examples to try and clear this up. In my state, Victoria. We have two fire organisations. The Metropolitan Fire Brigade (Effectionaly known as "The Mets") and the Country Fire Authority (Known as, "The CFA"). The Metropolitan Fire Brigade consists of about 60 24/7 Staffed Fire Stations located throughout our capital city, Melbourne, and it's surrounding suburbs. It staffs around 1200 fire fighters....

    The CFA has about 1,200 fire stations throughout victoria, of which about 15 - 20 are staffed. They have about 60,000 volunteers and about 300 or so paid fire fighters.

    So as you can see the CFA is easily the larger of the two organisations, but both provide for a specific purpose.

    Now, this long diatribe does have a purpose... It seems to me, from my readings here, that in america you don't have one large body that overseas your fire services... even on a state-by-state basis. Just from reading some threads here it seems to me that individual stations, or groups of stations, can fit themselves out how they see fit. They can purchase whatever Turnout/Bunker Gear they want. They can choose what SCBA/CABA manufacturer they use. What Branches, Hose, etc. etc. etc.

    Now to me this seems ludicrous. Wouldn't it be better off to have everybody working with the same equipment? So that when these people have to work together problems don't arise?

    Either this system is very silly indeed or I have got things extremely wrong by my readings through these forums...

    Can someone out there help a very confused aussie?

    * South-East tip of Mainland Australia for all those scratching their heads

  • #2
    Dave, welcome to the most enlighting forums group you will ever find. On these threads you will be able to find answers to pretty much any question you have if you are open minded enough to disect it all. But, Here in the US of A were things are free per say, you also will find that there is room for debate when it comes to the fire service as a whole. Pretty neet thing considering that was what made this country to begin with.

    Anyway, We do not have states manage the fire departments has a group. The closests things that you will find in ways the states manage the fire service are their mandates on policies and procedures or their funding assistance. They do not manage our fire service structure for volunteers or paid fire services.

    The largest group of departments you will see that run with any one entity are that of county wide fire services. They have a structured base of officers that in turn manage the individual departments within the county.

    Would be nice if we all did the same thing for the same type of call, or if we all used the same type of equipment, or if our policies and procedures or sop's or g's were the same. But we don't for one reason or another, but the biggest reason is that we have the freedom to manage our own as we feel needed and implement policies that reflect our mission statement for our selected areas.

    We can not agree what types of PPE, SCBA, nozzles, trucks, hose, portable equipment and the like are the best, because again, we have that freedom to choose what works best for our group. Our mutual aid departments do not have everything alike, and again that may sound funny to you all but that is the way of life here. Doesn't make it right, but it does make it their way and our way.

    In our county alone we have 29 fire service departments. Out of those 29, 18 run EMS and Rescue, and then there are 6 strictly EMS departments. We are not a large county by any means, but if there is a group of houses in the area, there is a fire department there. And like others, we do not even have one identical peice of apparatus in the county. We buy and utlize what works for us, as do others. Could a county wide system benefit us, or could merging benefit the people. Sure it can, but would it happen, only if some departments get lost in the shuffle of money.

    In this country I can not see the government telling us we are taking over the fire service. Hell they can't get themselves straight. Can ya imagine what our big brothers from NY or LA or Chicago or Detroit or Cincy would say to the Government? Like to be the fly on the wall for that one.

    Again, our countries are so much different in the way they are structured. If it works for you all fine. Here, it would infringe on our rights. Plain and simple truth.


    Hope this helps a little. Keep looking!


    STILL STANDING!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Last edited by orangebuster; 10-09-2003, 01:33 PM.

    Comment


    • #3
      Welcome Dave!

      Believe it or not, I check out the CFA's web site pretty frequently. I don't know if I can do a very good job but I'll try to answer some of your questions. The short answer is that the organization of the fire service is very different here in that power and control of public safety issues is usually vested in the lowest subdivision of government rather than the highest. We've got states, which are divided into smaller geographical divisions known as counties, and finally cities. Even at the state level, fire suppression is usually regarded as mostly a county and city. To further confuse you, many volunteer departments are actually private legal entities that answer to a board of directors rather than a county commission or town council. These departments often contract with their local county or city to provide services.

      Our staffing arrangement isn't very different than yours. We've got career (paid) and volunteer departments (our departments are roughly the same as your CFA Brigades). The situation that you described where paid personnel exist within a primarily volunteer organization is very common over here. We refer to them as combination or combo departments. The term refers to the fact that they have a combination of paid and unpaid firefighters.

      There is no FORMAL governing body to set requirements at the national level; however, there is a group called the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) that sets standards for everything from protective gear and fire engines to investigation methodology and building standards. These standards ensure a great deal of compatibility in equipment like BA bottles. Likewise, the turnout gear may look a little different but all of it meets the same minimum performance levels. The standards also help ensure that TRAINED firefighters are taught the same sets of skills.

      I've just scratched the tip of the iceberg but I hope it helps!

      Comment


      • #4
        I am not able to speak from a USA point of view, being a Canadian and all, but up "here" we follow much of the same procedure for equipment procurement as our Southern Brothers.

        The first question I have for you Dave is who foots your buget? Is it locally through taxes, or do you guys fund raise your money for operating expenses? That answer will be a big one for most of us in the forums.

        The reason I ask is because a lot of the US volly depts do their own fund raising to help offset their expenses, so cost is a big factor of why from station to station there is such disparity between gear and equipment.

        To try to answer your main question in very broad terms, particularly from the "Northern" point of view, we purchase equipment according to the majority of the call types that each area and department gets. Example, here in the Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD), which holds some 20 odd stations, mine, (Malahat) being the southern most we service a long chunk of the Trans Canada highway. So the majority of our calls are MVA related, second is medical and then a long distance third are fire related calls. We have had one structure fire in the 3yrs I have been with the Dept. Each year we get about 6-10 chimney fires, but mostly they don't amount to much **knock on wood**.

        As a result, while we do carry a Class A pumper, with 500gal water/foam onboard, and a mini with 150 gal water/foam, and a 3000gal tanker for structure/brush fires (we are also a deeply wooded area). Our main vehicle out the door is the Rescue van, followed by the pumper.

        Our two closest neighbouring stations, Mill Bay and Shawnigan Lake each have two stations compared to Malahat's one, and each one carries a differing set of vehicles. Shawnigan Lake has the only ladder truck at our end of the world, as well as the only high-angle rescue capability. Mill Bay has a similar set up to ours, but again it's different because they have one of two AED's in the south end, Shawnigan Lake holds the other one. Also while they 'reside' in the CVRD, they are self governing by a local Board of Directors.

        So basically equipment purchases around here are governed by call type, tax base, and finally and foremost is the cost. Also as Orangebuster stated, for the most part, none of us can agree on any particular piece of equipment for a standard. Some guys will refuse to use a particular tool because "this one works better". I guess that is part of the joys and privilages of having a large selection to choose from. The greater the choice and selection, the greater the opinions of what is "good" or "not good".

        For the record though I think it would be nice if we all had pretty much a standard set of equipment for those days when "stuff happens" really bad and in the heat of a Mutual Aid call, you can go for gear from any Station's vehicle and know exactly what to find where, and how to operate it. Although I am kinda wondering what Malahat would do with a tiller truck and a 100' ladder truck. I am not even sure where we could store it.

        **It might be kinda fun to find out** LOL
        If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

        "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

        "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

        Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

        impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

        IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

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        • #5
          Fire protection in the U.S. is a splintered affair.

          In real general terms...

          People & Things People Build are protected by local or County agencies, usually funded by property taxes. However, some departments are simply a collection of neighbors who go begging for money, while others operate on a voluntary "subscription" instead of taxes. There's no distinct line between the types of communities protected by Volunteer & Career on a national basis, although region-by-region there's a little less variation. There are towns of a few thousand who pay for a full-time fire department, while a town like Hempstead, NY (population 750,000 or so) is mostly volunteer protected.

          Forests & Wildlands are protected by State agencies, and the States have oversight over training & safety regulations of the local & county agencies.

          California Department of Forestry & Fire Protection is the closest equivelant to the large Australian agencies...but...even CDF itself only is responsible for wildlands and is a contractor to local/county agencies to protect people & things. Even in California you still have districts, cities, and counties that either maintain their own departments or contract to CDF for that local protection.

          Federal Land & Facilities are protected by Federal agencies. Since the Feds own the most wildland, they're pretty involved there. The Federal gov't is also involved in a number of programs from executive level education to various grant programs. In our Federal system, they really have little control over State & Local operations save for one big thing -- they can wave a lot of cash in front of people, they might not be able to make you do something, but they can bribe you to do it.
          IACOJ Canine Officer
          20/50

          Comment


          • #6
            Firstly, Thanks to all for the warm welcome... I'd been searching the net for some fire related forums and hadn't found anything for quite some time. I'd been involved in the usenet forums but with the amount of spam floating around it just gets pathetic. I've finally found some decent fire-related conversation!

            In our county alone we have 29 fire service departments. Out of those 29, 18 run EMS and Rescue, and then there are 6 strictly EMS departments.
            Most people will probably already know this but it might surprise some to find out that in Australia our Ambulance/EMS service and our fire service are two totally seperate entities. Generally speaking fire fighters get basic first aid and oxygen training and that's it. We have specific trained MICA* paramedics who operate from a totally different agency. However, they are seeing the benefits of amalgamating the two agencies and are taking small baby steps to do so. We know have a "First Responder" program in place that responds the fire brigade to priorty EMS calls if a station is closer to the incident than the nearest MICA. It seems to be working well...

            Rescue is a whole other kettle of fish out here and is the cause of many an argument.... sorry, heated debate :P We actually have two organisations that can provide rescue, The fire service and another entity, known as the State Emergency Service (SES). The SES are just a general emergency service who do things like tarp roofs after storm damage and cut down dangerous trees. But in some areas, they also provide RAR/High Angle. There has always been inter-agency bickering between the fire service and the SES. Put quite simply, we don't like each other. They don't listen to us and we don't listen to them. The government knows this and it doesn't provide for a good rescue service so it is believed (nobody has come out and said it) that Rescue within the SES is slowly being phased out and more rescue training within the Fire service phased in. I've yet to see any evidence of this in my state, but other states have fully implimented it... ruffling a few feathers as they go. You see, with rescue goes your lights and sirens, take away rescue, so do the sirens....

            Believe it or not, I check out the CFA's web site pretty frequently.
            Really? What do you think of the new one they've just put up? Seems pretty good to me. I'd love to be able to show you the "Brigades Online" intranet we have running, that system is awesome. Provides an online database for all our SOPs, FGPs, legislation, mapping, training... you name it, its there.

            however, there is a group called the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) that sets standards for everything from protective gear and fire engines to investigation methodology and building standards.
            We have the same kind of Association, known as the Australian Fire Authorities Council (AFAC). They provide all the training outcomes to be qualified as a Fire Fighter in australia... i'm not sure if they govern the approval of fire fighting equipment though.

            The first question I have for you Dave is who foots your buget? Is it locally through taxes, or do you guys fund raise your money for operating expenses? That answer will be a big one for most of us in the forums.
            That question is harder to answer than it might appear without confusing people. If the question is "Who foots the CFA's Budget" then the answer is simple. 90% of the CFA's funding as a whole comes from insurance levy's, 5% from the government and 5% from donation and other means (IE. The sale of Fire Extinguishers...).

            Now if your more specifically looking at my Brigade and who pays for what at Brigade level then it gets more complicated. The CFA provides us with everything it believes we need to provide fire cover as per it's risk assessment of our area. So for us that means we get:

            - The Fire Station (Including limited funds for it's upkeep. Anything structual they'll pay for. Anything cosmetic or a non-essential upgrade, we have to fit the bill.)

            - 2 Fire Appliances. 1 Pumper, 1 Tanker. We have what's classified under our system as a "Type 3 Medium" pumper and a "2.4D" tanker. Basically type 3 refers to it's pumping capacity (3000 Litres/min) and Medium is the amount of weight it can carry. 2.4D Means that the tanker is carries two thousand litres of water, is a 4 wheel drive and runs on deisel fuel.

            - Limited Equipment. Lengths of canvas hose. 38mm and 64mm. Limited amount of synthetic "Duraline" hose. 4 CABA Sets. 4 Spare Cylanders. 4 Chemical Splash suits. 2 fully-encapsulating gas suits. Basic tools. Basic Branches (Nozzles) and fittings.

            - Enough PPE gear to service about 30 members. This includes both Urban, structural gear and Rural, wildfire gear.

            - All our radio equipment.

            So that's what we get from the authority. All this stuff is paid for by the authority and hence, it's upkeep is paid for by the authority. If we want to purchase anything else we may (Using funds we have from fundrasing and Fire Equipment Maintenance), however what we buy must meet CFA requirements. For Example. The CFA Says that to run an efficent brigade they reckon 30 members is enough. So they provide 30 sets of turnout gear. However, we want to run with a member base of 40. So we purchase 10 sets with our own money. The sets we buy MUST be CFA sets. The same goes with CABA. Our pumper is equiped with 4, Sabre Centurion sets. We wanted to equip our tanker with 2 sets... so these sets are also Sabre Centurion.

            We can also fundraise and spend our money to purchase new appliances, however these are subject to approval. So, in theory we could fundrase the 1.2mil or so for a ladder/platform/teleboom... but it would never be approved as we don't need it. We do have a brigade-owned vehicle though... a LandCruiser 4x4 that serves as a command/control/support vehicle.

            Well, that was kind of a long winded answer to a short question wasn't it? :P


            * Mobile Intensive Care Ambulance - Sorry for explaining some acroynms here, i'm not sure if these are used overseas.

            Comment


            • #7
              Welcome Dave, you'll find a wealth of information in these forums! Forgive me if I ramble a little or mispell, my daughter is 7 days old today I I've had 8 hours of sleep since she was born.

              The beauty of the local fire department is that the locality decides what level of fire protection they want. Some towns, like the one I live in, expect a very high level of service so they fund us well, pay us a decent rate, and we rarely want for any gear. Other towns are not willing to spend quite as much so they are truly volunteer and they "buy more with less" which equates to cheaper trucks and gear, less toys etc..

              Having conversed with several of your upside down brothers in these forums (never could figure out some of FlyingKiwi's inverted firefighting techniques ) I've come to understand (and please correct me if I am mistaken) that for the most part your federal goverment has a cookie cutter approach to the fire service, that all the engines are virtually identical, as you mentioned all your turn out gear is the same, and if you or your town don't like it, tough, you can spend more buy your on your own.

              We prefer our freedom of choice (even if it is only an illusion). As Malahat pointed out, each area has different needs, and to lose the ability to custom tailor your response capabilities is a diservice to your customers (read citizens). But of course, it is a double edged sword, since I rarely work with the neighboring towns I do not know their equpment, nor do I know how well they are trained. This can be a problem at a mutual aid fire, in some places it results in turf wars between FD's, always a nasty thing (BTW, if you have not seen the movie "Gangs of New York" yet, there is a great scene of a couple of volunteer FD's in NYC around 1860 fighting over a burning house, those are our roots, it really did happen that way).

              One of the largest manipulative forces affecting US FD's is the insurance industry. In fact we can trace our begining to insurance underwriters paying the VFD's (as in the Gangs scene). Insurance companies pressure their clients to get better protection (through insurance rates) for the client's assets, which includes a better fire protection service. Often insurance companies will specify NFPA compliant protection, such as in automated spinkler systems.

              Another way the insurance companies adjust to cost of insurance is with the town's ISO rating (Insurance Services Office, not to be confused with the International Standards Organization). ISO is a numerical score assigned a fire protection district based on size of the FD, water supply, turnout times, and other variables. Since most people who buy insurance are also tax payers, they pressure the local goverment to improve the FD thereby lowing the insurance rating for all residents. As I mentioned, my town likes good fire proctection and as a result we have an ISO rating that is pretty much maxed out for a VFD (we would need people living at the FD to improve it further).

              To nationalize the fire service at this point would remove the ability to custom tailor fire protection. In the end some people would end up with better protection than they have now, others would lose, and since our federal goverment wastes most of the money it collects we would collectively get less for the same amount of money.
              ________________________________________________
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              A bad day in the boat is better than a good day in the office. And in my case the office is a boat!

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              • #8
                Oh, and in regards to the ambulance services... In many area we used to have private and/or separate ambulance services. The trend is towards intergrating the fire service with the EMS providers, locally we did it about 2 years ago.

                The advantages of combining the services is a reduction of cost overhead and improved EMS service delivery since most fire fighter's are being pushed towards some degree of EMS training and can often arrive on scene quicker than the EMS service. When EMS does arrive there is a crew ready to help quickly move the patient to the ambulance, no need to call for assistance. It also functions as a boast to the fire service call volume which is used to help prevent budgets from shrinking any further than they already have.

                It used to be that EMS was a secondary job for the FD. It is gradually becoming a larger and larger part of the reason for existance of a FD. We run about 1000 calls a year, about 60% are now EMS or EMS/fire.
                ________________________________________________
                If you are new to posting please CLICK HERE for an essential lesson
                ________________________________________________
                A bad day in the boat is better than a good day in the office. And in my case the office is a boat!

                IACOJ Fire Boat 1

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                • #9
                  I've come to understand (and please correct me if I am mistaken) that for the most part your federal goverment has a cookie cutter approach to the fire service, that all the engines are virtually identical, as you mentioned all your turn out gear is the same, and if you or your town don't like it, tough, you can spend more buy your on your own.
                  Well you are right and you and wrong. It may be a moot point, but Fire Brigades in australia are a state, not federal affair. Also you hint at a negative connintation by saying that our fire service takes a "cookie cutter approach". This is true in some respects but it isn't as restrictive as you are lead to believe. Yes we do have standardisation of our fire appliances(especially with our tankers) but this serves for a very specific purpose in our case. It gives us the ability in long running campaigns to crew appliances with crew that might not be familar with that particular appliance, because all tankers are standardised. It allows people in high places to be able to focus on the bigger issues of how to tackle a fire, rather than how to keep crews on the ground. Keeping crews on the ground is merely a numbers game with this system, we don't have to deal with whether the crews will know how to operate the appliance.

                  It also means that our mobile mechanical workshops don't have to carry spare parts for 100's of different models of appliance. So when appliances break down (as they are bound to in the dusty, hot enviornment of a wildfire) they are back on the road quicker. I really think the advantages of doing it this way far outweigh the benefits of being able to customise your appliances any way you see fit. Lets be serious here anyway, a lot of fire appliances out there today cary a lot of equipment for the "Wank Factor". It seems to me that the goal of putting "wet stuff" on the "red stuff" goes totally out of the window.

                  With all that said, there is nothing to say that any given fire brigade can't have a custom or specialised appliance if the situation warrants it. The difference is that brigades out here have to justify the purchase of such things to a higher authority. They can't just go out buying more and more appliances because the public want to see a fire station full of fire trucks. If a brigade wants a customised or special appliance and can justify it, they'll get it. The problem is, most people can't justify it other than "It'd be cool".

                  We prefer our freedom of choice (even if it is only an illusion). As Malahat pointed out, each area has different needs, and to lose the ability to custom tailor your response capabilities is a diservice to your customers (read citizens). But of course, it is a double edged sword, since I rarely work with the neighboring towns I do not know their equpment, nor do I know how well they are trained. This can be a problem at a mutual aid fire, in some places it results in turf wars between FD's, always a nasty thing (BTW, if you have not seen the movie "Gangs of New York" yet, there is a great scene of a couple of volunteer FD's in NYC around 1860 fighting over a burning house, those are our roots, it really did happen that way).
                  We still get the same type of petty bickering on the fireground when jobs are close to brigade boundries. The difference being is that both brigades answer to the same higher power, so the question gets refered on to the Duty Officer and he makes a decision. If you have the same boss, then who can you argue with?

                  It really wasn't my intention here to start the "Our System is better than yours" debate but it seems that it was inevitable. I'm not saying that either one of the two countries should change their systems and I acknowledge the fact that it would totally unreasonable to do so. However I find it hard not to enter such a debate when, on the surface, it seems like things are very much done "The hard way" in the states.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Dave1105

                    Also you hint at a negative connintation by saying that our fire service takes a "cookie cutter approach".
                    My appologies for coming off negative, it was early when I wrote this and I had a sqirming 7 day old in my left hand. I used the term for lack of a better mind to phrase it with. There are certianly advantages to the such a level of standardization as you point out. Our lack of standardization (even within the same FD from truck to truck) causes many problems which are of course compounded on the 3rd alarm at oh-dark-thirty in the AM. I also greatly appreciate the commonality of spares issue.

                    It seems to me that the goal of putting "wet stuff" on the "red stuff" goes totally out of the window.
                    Careful! We've hashed this issue several times in this forum , but its the sad truth that actual firefighting is something we do less and less, which makes validating the money spent on an FD tougher each year. This is one of the reasons we have picked up EMS duties. As a result we are forced to answer more calls and need more special tools to that end.

                    It really wasn't my intention here to start the "Our System is better than yours" debate but it seems that it was inevitable... it seems like things are very much done "The hard way" in the states.
                    Our systems are different, period. No need to debate it. Each is the result of years of growth and harsh lessons(in our case dating back to the very begining of the country).

                    Your system is heavily influcened by the wildfire dangers you face, something that most of us in this country has no concept of. I think you'd find the system in California is much more like your system with the larger regional fire organization, lots of emphasis in modernization and standardization. It is routine for these department to have incidents involving thousands of fire fighters which leads to solving the issues in the same way your country has.

                    Here on the east coast it is rare for an incident to reach even 100 firefighters. Any wildfire larger than an acre qualifies as a disaster and will involve many alarms with helicopters and state agencies getting involved. In the end it will be a complete circle jerk with lots of white hats fighting over who is in charge and the grunts in the field trying to figure out why the hose from Dept X won't screw onto the pump panel of Dept Y. But these incidents may happen once or twice a year, so we just don't deal with it.

                    As for doing things the "hard way," well we have a saying here... American Firefighting, 200 years of tradition unhindered by progress . Yes we are stuborn, and damned proud of it!

                    Once again, I intended no disrespect, my appologies if it came off that way.
                    ________________________________________________
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                    A bad day in the boat is better than a good day in the office. And in my case the office is a boat!

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                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Really? What do you think of the new one they've just put up? Seems pretty good to me. I'd love to be able to show you the "Brigades Online" intranet we have running, that system is awesome. Provides an online database for all our SOPs, FGPs, legislation, mapping, training... you name it, its there.
                      Sounds like a neat setup. The CFA site has always seemed very neat and well-organized. Not too much glitter to distract from the content. My bookmark goes to the "Brigades on the net", I've checked out most of those sites too.

                      I don't think you will find many American firefighters that will argue against the need for a little more organization in our fire service. Everything I've seen about your system makes me think it works very well, but it simply wouldn't transfer to the states (or at least not mine). As Fire304 pointed out, our local governments demand the right to determine the level of fire protection they receive and I don't think there's any way they would ever be convinced to relenquish that authority.

                      Again, welcome and thanks for starting such an interesting discussion.

                      By the way, you're no the only person from the upside-down side of the planet on these forums. There are several Aussie firefighters, a New Zealand firefighter that goes by the name of Flying Kiwi (watch out for him, for some reason he ends up in a lot of threads where the discussion involves sheep ), and even one of your road-rescue guys.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        G'day Dave,

                        Welcome to the forums. Well done on coming up with a pretty good description of how the CFA works and fits in with the Mets. I'm a retired CFA vol You need to get your Private Messaging set up on here.
                        Last edited by stillPSFB; 10-11-2003, 10:09 AM.
                        Busy polishing the stacked tips on the deckgun of I.A.C.O.J. Engine#1

                        ...and before you ask - YES I have done a Bloody SEARCH!

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                        • #13
                          Just went through and setup private messaging.... didn't realise it wasn't setup by default, strange, most forums do.... Anyway StillPSFB if you wanted to contact me (which I assume you did ) private messaging should be setup now.

                          You say your a retired CFA vol... move on to bigger and better things or given up the game? :P

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            WELCOME...........

                            And a big 'Allo Dave. To throw in my bit, I think we are where we are now because we do not want to do anything to lose our individuality or independence. The highest level of Government that has input in our operations is the County, who provides a good bit of our funding. Here, (at least in my neck of the bush) we INSIST on being different. The 49 different stations in my county have at least 9 different color schemes, 94 pumps from about 16 different manufacturers, same for the 13 Heavy Rescues, 24 Ladder Trucks, 60 Ambulances, and so on. We started doing Rescue and Emergency Medical care along with Firefighting about 1929, and have added such things as HazMat as times changed around us. Here, we even operate the Bomb Squad, something that is usually done by police elsewhere. We are now known as the "Everything Department" instead of the Fire Department, and that suits us just fine. "Down under" you seem to have full time folks on in stations that would not need them in our system. One of our stations, the Kentland VFD, is totally volunteer, and they handled 10,495 runs in 2002. My station (www.gdvfd18.com) was 9th in overall runs with 9,137 The busiest station, Silver Hill VFD has both Volunteers and Full Time people on staff at all times. they responded 18,179 times last year. Different world? You bet it is. We love it. Stay Safe....
                            Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
                            In memory of
                            Chief Earle W. Woods, 1912 - 1997
                            Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

                            IACOJ Budget Analyst

                            I Refuse to be a Spectator. If I come to the Game, I'm Playing.

                            www.gdvfd18.com

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Woa... you guys do THAT many calls? For crying out loud, how can volunteers possibly have full time jobs as well as dealing with the brigade with that many calls on the table. I did some math here.

                              AVG Calls per day:
                              10,495 / 365 = 28.75

                              AVG Calls per hr:
                              28.75 / 24 = 1.2

                              So by average, a fully volunteer department is doing more than one response an hour. So lets do some more figures. Each job will take up at least 25 minutes right, even if it's a hoaxy smoke in area or alarm job after adding travel time, paperwork etc. 25 minutes is pretty conservative. Also keeping a rather conservative figure that each firee should attend about 15% of calls, lets do some more math.

                              15% of Calls each day: 4.3
                              Calls attended each week at 15% figure: 4.3 * 7 = 30.2
                              Amount of time required each week: 25min * 30.2 = 12.5hrs Work

                              Then taking into account that most jobs will run over that time period and adding in at least 3 or 4 hours for training/maintenance days.... geeez, you're looking at at least 20 hrs a week per person just to keep the place ticking over.

                              Plus the sheer amount of people needed to cover that kind of requirement. How on earth do you find enough people who have that amount of time (most likely more) each week. How do they keep food on their tables if all of their time is spent volunteering with the fire department?

                              We start talking at staffing stations somewhere around the 7 - 10 hundred mark.... and you have volunteer stations that do around the 7 - 10 THOUSAND mark! To my mind, that is just crazy. If we had single stations that were getting that volume of calls we would seriously start talking about putting in maybe 5 or 6 stations just to cover that one area. It's just so insane to me, how many Did Not Responds do you have each year? I mean, those figures are averages... you're not going to have 1.2 calls an hour. Some hours you'll have none, the next you'll have 6 or 7. Surely calls must start stacking up and time ticking by without an appliance responding...

                              Those numbers are INSANE!

                              Comment

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