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staffing and company asssignmets

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  • staffing and company asssignmets

    With new NFPA standards just around the corner, and budget crunchers who love to give their fire department budgets the ax first and foremost, many departments are forced to deal with barely adequate or below minimum staffing. My department runs 4 houses, with 2 man engines and 2 man ALS ambulances(crossed trained as FFs)!! We have already lost one of our own in the line of duty operating dangerously below acceptable levels! We can only speculate if this standard comes to be will be our salvation or impending doom!!

    I am doing research for a lecture on minimum staffing and company/personnel assignments on the fireground, and looking for data from other departments regarding staffing on each rig and their assignment once they arrive. Any help that can be passed along would be greatly appreciated.

    reply here or my email

    [email protected]

    [This message has been edited by hfdeng2 (edited 01-23-2001).]

    [This message has been edited by hfdeng2 (edited 01-23-2001).]

  • #2
    Here in Cincinnati we run all 4 man companies at the minimum.

    Typical 1 alarm assignment is 2/3 engines and 2 trucks with a district chief.

    In 1998 we fought very hard to get 4 man minimum manning in our union contract. Prior to that we could have as many as 30% of the companies city wide at 3 men.

    The big argument we used was OSHA 2 in/2 out although we are not an OSHA state it is still a recognized standard. Personally I would like to see 5 or 6 per company but budgetary constraints make that seem unlikely.

    I have to tell you its the single biggest step forward in FF safety we have seen here in a long time.

    Just a side note, I was talking to some guys from FDNY about a year ago and we were discussing staffing, they thought it ludicrous that we went to work with only four guys on a company and we have the most manning of any dept. around here.

    Hope this helps.


    • #3
      Each company at my department has 4 men assigned. The minimum (which we usually run) is 3 per rig. I know three is still too little, and it seems to be the standard for most departments--a minimum of 3 which becomes the normal members on a rig per shift (due to vacation and sick leave). But at least you have an officer and Fireman that can go in on a job together. I envy those departments who have at least 4, or maybe 5 on a rig. That's the way it should be, and I wish it were that way wher I work.


      • #4
        The Prince George's County (MD) Fire Department staffs stations as follows:

        Engine and Ambulance, 3 firefighters
        Engine and Truck and/or Squad and Ambulance, 4 firefighters.

        That includes the officer. Not all stations are staffed 24h, in fact most arent fully staffed except M-F 7-3. Many are staffed with one ff. Volunteers make up (or don't make up) the rest.

        So in many houses, if the ambulance is on a run (as it often is) the engine is staffed with only one (rank has it's priveledges)

        I think there are maybe 4 stations without ambulances in the county that are staffed by career men. They are staffed at 3 or 4 depending on weather they have a special service or not.

        NOTE: any replies pertaining to PG county should be posted in the appropriate forum.


        • #5
          I work at a Federal Fire Department in PA. Our minimum staffing is 9. On a normal day we run 4 on the truck and 4 on the engine, plus a Chief Officer. The truck crew cross mans the rescue and the engine crew cross mans the ambulance. During the day we have 4 fire inspectors and the chief working.

          This is how things get tricky. When the ambulance goes out with a three man crew that leaves one on the engine. If the rescue goes on a RIT call the truck is out of service. I would like to see the two slots added to each shift to man the ambulance. Most all our members are EMT's so you would not be stuck on tha ambulance all the time.

          I have to say we have it better them most in our area.

          Henry C. Hoffman Jr.


          • #6
            My hometown Dept, the one I am trying to get hired on too, has a staffing of 3 per rig!!!! and our wonderful city leaders are suggesting since the overall city budget is way over budget( supposedly) they want the department to cut back, it always amazes me that when a city is over budget they look to staff cutting with the Fire dept. so our dept. is suggesting that any retirees we have in the next year they will not be replaced.. so there goes me getting hired! sorry just venting....


            • #7
              5 Man minimum at our one and only station.
              2 on ALS ambulance(we also transport)
              3 pumper

              If 6 on duty
              3 on ambulance
              3 on pumper

              If full shift of 7
              3 on ambulance
              4 on pumper

              All personnel are cross-trained.
              We have one back-up ambulance and currently one back-up engine with 55' squirt and can be staffed if officer chooses to.

              NFPA 1710 sounds great in THEORY! Now NFPA has to find a way for all of us to be able to afford it.

              [This message has been edited by ffnbs (edited 01-23-2001).]


              • #8
                we have 3 stations with 3 men per eng. unless a man is on vaca. and there is only one guy on vaca per shift. that eng rides with 2. as far as assignments. when your riding with 3 man engs. 2 men min. your doing it all. truck/eng. your it. if we have a man off sick, our asst. fills in that vacancy. if your tailboard man is off. there goes your command officer. we just recently made some changes that added an additional position to the dept. to allow the asst. to remain in the car at all times. this was long overdue. it's the first time a man was added to the dept. for as long as the older guys can remember. contradicting the trend of downsizing in the US. What we did was add a full time training officer to do just what his title says. he works m-f daylight and also acts as our safety/swingman to cover the vacancies the asst. used to have to cover. going to your council and asking for an extra man per shift to act as a swingman at a cost of over $150,000 or going to them and asking for 35 to 40 thous. to cover the position is a no brainer. you know what they're going to go for. the way we did it is by forming a strategic planning committee to identify all of our goals and vissions of our dept. we had every member of the dept. participate in this process, so it's not just a couple of people coming up with the plan for the dept. it was a joint labor managemnet effort and the results were phenominal. we were backed by council 100% which is a victory in itself. by doing this we accomplished pretty much the top 2 goals of our plan. keeping the asst's in the command position at all times and having a full time training officer. as far as you guys losing a man due to dangerously low manning levels, i can't think of any words to express my feelings on that issue. a few weeks ago there was a post on how the $100 million this year that's going to be available for depts for equipment/training and so on doesn't mention anything about additional firefighters. why not a program to add men on the job similar to what the police have with adding additional men on the streets. good luck with your presentation and stay safe.


                • #9
                  Check out Firefighting Principals & Practices by William Clark. In it details tests conducted by a FD that show how efficency is affected with number of men. Plus there have been countless studies on Staffing and its effects done by many major cities.
                  I will try to email you info on one conducted by San Antonio, Texas.

                  Also if you are Union...call the International for help...if you aren't you might want to look into it.

                  Good Luck.


                  • #10
                    Engines and Trucks have 4, Trucks may have 5 if staffing allows. Rescue(light) gets 2. The rescue attaches to the truck on scene so we have a 6 man truck working the fireground.

                    Some Engines houses have a tender, and if it goes, 3 on the Engine, and a driver on the tender.

                    Generally speaking the 1st engine has attack, the 2nd H20 supply and backup attack,
                    3rd engine can be used as RIT or exposures. Truck (w/ Rescue) will have S&R, Vent, or other truck type work.

                    Hope that is helpful, if you want more for your lecture, E-mail me.


                    • #11
                      We have staffing of 4 on all pumpers and trucks. At least 12 of the pumpers will have a paramedic riding on it for ALS responses. Our ambulances have one paramedic and one EMT. If for some reason one person off an engine company has to ride with the ambulance to the hospital, then that company is on limited manpower, and only responds to first responder calls. No fire calls with 3 people riding, NO EXCEPTIONS.


                      • #12
                        In Detroit we sometimes run with as few as 3 on an engine our union is trying to use the osha law for at least 4 on an engine the only apparatus that has 4 all the time are the squads. We have a big problem with staffing and no overtime. so if manpower drops where there cant be 3 on all the engines and trucks in the city they just start closing Co's.the union fights this action and in some instances it has helped they have started hiring again. There were days i can remember being forced to ride a ladder truck with only 2 a boss and me the driver. The union fought that and won. Its a tough position the city always says that "well if you want to ride 4 on an engine we have to close down the firehouse forever so we go back to riding 3 to keep the slower stations open.Thats the problem what are slow stations in Detroit they are all busy.Now the city wants to do first responder with the low manpower and close stations at the same time.If you can see our situation thats the problem. Just a view from the Motor City.


                        • #13
                          hfdeng2, I hope you got the graphs and attachments I sent you through the E-Mail. If you need a little more information let me know. I have some more if needed.


                          • #14
                            in my dept. we have 3 stations 4 men per truck and 2 on a light rescue and a bat. chief in a car the city is talking about a bond for a new station but there hasn't been much said about budgeting for 12 more men to go there if they dont i guess it will be 2 per truck i hope they surprise us and hire 12 more men


                            • #15
                              All our career personnel are at minimum FF-II and EMT-B.

                              Engine - 4 including a paramedic.
                              Truck or Rescue Squad - 3.
                              Ambulance - 2, Medic Unit - 2 paramedics.

                              My opinions are not necessarily those of my department. I speak only for myself.


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