Leader

Collapse

Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

At what cost ......

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • At what cost ......

    I went to a great seminar today ... After sitting thru it i got to thinking about how the majority of one hundred or so people that represent many different depts . are in two different worlds... The topics discussed spoke on the most effective ways at dealing with different types of constuctions and fire reaction ... But everything is predacated on nfpa standards and the traditional exceptance of what we all agree to be an adequate first alarm response...
    Im fortuanate enough to work in a very busy dept outside Boston and we have the ability to place 16 firefighters on the fire ground on a first alarm assignment ... We pride ourseleves in a aggressive interior attack because frankly we have the ability to so ... And, back that up with more than a complete second alarm ..
    Many of the Depts. represented had the common theme that im sure most people on this board have ... Pulling up with one two firefighters and maybe one guy driving the ladder or another piece following ... meanwhile people are getting toned out and there is a gap before arrival ...
    How can these depts. make any type of an aggressice attack given the manpower.. It really is night and a scary day .. I could not imagine doing the job with anything short of what we have ,,.. And we are down twenty plus bodies...
    So while it was on my mind , and i do far more reading than posting,, i thought i would toss this one out there and see some of the different responses....

  • #2
    On a good day, we too can put the required number of firefighters per NFPA 1710 on the fireground for a first alarm.

    When we are at minimum staffing, we are three short.

    Fully staffed or at minimum, we keep on doing it because it's "da job".

    The other day at the Academy, there was a discussion about things like NIMS, ICS and such. The discussion went to one theme.. how the hell diud we do the job before the alphabet soup came along?

    It's getting to the point in some FD's that they won't even put a line into operation unless all of the "vests" have been given out... and that, Brothers and Sisters, is a damn shame.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

    Comment


    • #3
      The other day at the Academy, there was a discussion about things like NIMS, ICS and such. The discussion went to one theme.. how the hell diud we do the job before the alphabet soup came along?
      The origin of "IC":
      Originally, this was the guy who was good at strategic planning, bringing people together for a common goal. Line Firefighters would run up to him, bringing reports of progress on various tasks and assignments, at which point he would rub his chin thoughtfully and respond, "I see."
      This made him wise and powerful in the eyes of his peers, because anyone who strokes their chin and mutters vaguely must be wise. This is known as Yoda Syndrome, and has been widely noted amongst many scholars.
      Eventually, the position lost its longer, more complex, and contextual namesakes: "Battalion Chief", "Captain", "Incident Commander", "Guy-In-Charge"...and was shortened simply to the characteristic mutterance: "I See."

      Hope that helps.
      My opinions might coincide with someone of importance's POV... I wouldn't know, since I never bothered to ask. My policy is: "Don't ask, don't care."

      IACOJ--West Coast PITA

      Comment


      • #4
        Most often the fire department has little or no say in staffing levels. My department runs four shifts with eight members per shift, plus three chiefs who are on call 24/7.

        The fire department administration would like to increase staffing to NFPA recommended levels, the union would also like to increase staffing. The people who control the budget have repeatedly said no to any more personnel. Our last increase came 10 years ago when we hired civilian dispatchers to replace the firefighter/dispatcher and hired an additional firefighter per shift. That moved us from six to eight members per shift.

        I have done the pie charts, runs stats, explained flashover, talked about reduced insurance rates, increasing department efficiency and safety, etc, etc. The finance board will not authorize a budget increase to raise fire department staffing. We tried to reactivate our volunteer department as a supplement to the career fire fighters and received two applications.

        The chief and I are going back to the budget battle starting next month. We are asking for a lot by requesting our ladder truck have three firefighters instead of two. We already know the answer but will try to sell it again.

        My department does an aggressive interior attack. About 90% of our fires are in one to three family wood frame homes. We may get four or five off duty firefighters on a call back. Mutual aid engine and ladder are few minutes away.
        Last edited by KenNFD1219; 11-11-2006, 10:13 AM.
        -------------------
        "The most mediocre man or woman can suddenly seem dynamic, forceful, and decisive if he or she is mean enough." from "Crazy Bosses"
        -----------------------------------------------
        Genius has its limits, but stupidity is boundless.

        Comment


        • #5
          Initial daytime response for us during the day is 3 paid firefighters plus 4-5 volunteers who may be at the station and "riding out" or responding from home. Evening response is one paid men, plus ride-outs and volunteers responding from home.

          It's all about knowing what you can do safely, and recognizing what you have the manpower not to attempt. In our community, structure fires are rare and it would be impractical and unfair to the taxpayers to ask them to finance any additional full-time positions. Our full-time manpower levels combined with our volunteer response is sufficiant for 99% of our incidents, but when we do get a 1%er, our chief has made very clear that the priority is our safety, and if the structure burns, so be it. While that may sound cold, he has recognized that we need to work within our limiations, and has accepted responsibility for explaining to the public why we were not able to do more if they should ask.

          While we will put a line out "before all the vests have been handed out", there has been more than one occasion where the IC has chosen not to make an interior attack and sacrifice a structure as a trade off to our safety when manpower was not sufficiant to man a backup line, assemble a vent team or garuntee a water supply.

          And the answer to your question .... No, there are many times where it's not worth the cost. IMO, Firefighter safety should never be sacrificed for a structure and honestly, should rarely be sacrificed for a possible victim.
          Train to fight the fires you fight.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by LaFireEducator
            Initial daytime response for us during the day is 3 paid firefighters plus 4-5 volunteers who may be at the station and "riding out" or responding from home. Evening response is one paid men, plus ride-outs and volunteers responding from home.

            In our community, structure fires are rare and it would be impractical and unfair to the taxpayers to ask them to finance any additional full-time positions. Our full-time manpower levels combined with our volunteer response is sufficiant for 99% of our incidents, but when we do get a 1%er, our chief has made very clear that the priority is our safety, and if the structure burns, so be it.
            Ok you say that its unfair to ask for more manpower then you say

            While we will put a line out "before all the vests have been handed out", there has been more than one occasion where the IC has chosen not to make an interior attack and sacrifice a structure as a trade off to our safety when manpower was not sufficiant to man a backup line, assemble a vent team or garuntee a water supply.
            So you dont have the manpower but yet you say its unfair to ask for more manpower. I gurantee you when you all have a family of 3-4 die that involves kids and I hope you dont but you can bet the public wont think its unfair.

            Your contradictions never cease to amaze me.
            IACOJ
            FTM-PTB

            Comment


            • #7
              And............

              Great Discussion. I too, am fortunate in that manning levels are good, with few exceptions. We are a combination department, with four (sometimes five) full time folks on the floor 0700 - 1500 weekdays, along with any Volunteers that may be in the station. All other times Voluteers make up the full crew. Good example - Last night a box for an Apartment Fire (Auto aid to the next station west of us) Rescue Engine with 5, Fire Engine with 4, and a Chief (me). Other stations sent 2 more Engines with 4 and 7, 2 Ladders with 4 and 6 and a Heavy Rescue with 7. EMS Response was 1 BLS with 2 and 1 ALS with 2, and the EMS Supervisor. A total of 8 Chief Officers also were in attendence. That put 49 people on the Fireground (all on the Apparatus, no call back or home response) with the last unit getting there about 7 minutes after the Alarm was sounded. Career folks totaled 8, with 41 Volunteers. For our part of the world, this is about usual for a Working Fire. Daytime Staffing with the same stations responding would have been a minimum of 27. What's the secret? Attitude Shift. We WANT a Combination system, and one that works well. We absolutely encourage anything (well, almost ) that gets folks to "hang out" at the station. Big Screen TV, Bunkroom, Excercise Room, Etc. We actively recruit Volunteers all the time, maintain an active, ongoing Training program, and do what it takes to get people on the Apparatus. FF1 course (110 hours) and several other items are required for interior Firefighting. Most new folks are going in after about 8 months of joining. Everyone is also required to be an EMT-B, and we have additional training requirements for Heavy Rescue operations. At the other end, Chief Officers need to be certified as a Fire Officer II by the National Pro Board. Does it work? Yes! Is it perfect? No, but we're working on it.
              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


              • #8
                I went to a seminar several years ago on Rural firefighting.

                The biggest thing I cam away with, for us rural guys with only 2 or 3 men is to do what you can and make sure no one gets hurt. While to lose of property is a trerrible sometimes heart breaking thing, but worse than that would be the injury or loss of personell.

                Comment


                • #9
                  It seems to me...

                  ...that there is a key difference, maybe just in attitute, between Ken's post and hwood's post that may go a long way toward explaining why Ken's department had the volunteer recruiting problem.

                  The difference is summed up in the phrase, "to supplement". No one wants to volunteer in a combo department where the role of volunteers is wash the equipment and maybe do some rehab (whopee!). They want to volunteer in a meaningful role, and be a full part of the team. (Not saying Ken's department wouldn't have done this, just making a general observation).

                  When we hired our first two paid guys, we made sure to be very clear that they were not "more equal" than the vollies. In fact, for several years, all of the officers were still volunteers. One reason why so many combo departments fail and have to go all career is that volunteers come to feel (and, frankly, BE) less valued.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Randsc-you make some valid points. The situation you described has been posted on these forums numerous times about many different departments..

                    My departments desire to recruit volunteers to supplement the career firefighters had the stated goal of training volunteers to work with career staff in all aspects of response. One of my goals, had the recruitment worked, would have assigned volunteers to truck company functions on the fire ground.

                    The fire commission disbanded the previous volunteer company last year due to many years of mis-management and little to no response. We wanted to reorganize the volunteer company to work with the on duty shift to supplement the staffing required by contract, not to give them the crappy jobs.

                    As an incentive, we would have granted points on an entry exam, if not outright preference, for future hiring.

                    It is difficult to start up a volunteer department in an area where many people work out of town and are not interested or able to volunteer. In places were there is a community and family tradition of active volunteers, you can have a department like Chief Wood's.
                    Last edited by KenNFD1219; 11-11-2006, 06:53 PM.
                    -------------------
                    "The most mediocre man or woman can suddenly seem dynamic, forceful, and decisive if he or she is mean enough." from "Crazy Bosses"
                    -----------------------------------------------
                    Genius has its limits, but stupidity is boundless.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by KenNFD1219
                      It is difficult to start up a volunteer department in an area where many people work out of town and are not interested or able to volunteer. In places were there is a community and family tradition of active volunteers, you can have a department like Chief Wood's.
                      I'm willing to bet that hwoods's people live and or work all over the Metro Washington area. That's one of the downfalls of this area - the jobs are here, the housing is there, and the commute is terrible. But the previous poster is dead on in assessing the need of volunteers to feel needed.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by SBrooks
                        But the previous poster is dead on in assessing the need of volunteers to feel needed.
                        I am in 100% agreement. No one wants to be a part of an organization where they are not wanted or treated like second class citizens. I've been there and have the t-shirt.
                        -------------------
                        "The most mediocre man or woman can suddenly seem dynamic, forceful, and decisive if he or she is mean enough." from "Crazy Bosses"
                        -----------------------------------------------
                        Genius has its limits, but stupidity is boundless.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Tann ,, Allow me to make a few clarifications.

                          While we will put a line out "before all the vests have been handed out", there has been more than one occasion where the IC has chosen not to make an interior attack and sacrifice a structure as a trade off to our safety when manpower was not sufficiant to man a backup line, assemble a vent team or garuntee a water supply

                          This situation occured only three times in the 4 years I have been with this department. In two cases, this occurred in a vacant structure, which even if the manpower had beeen available it is unlikely we would have conducted interior firefighting operations anyway, as in our protocol there has to be a confirmed life hazard for interior operations in vacant structures or the structure has to be less than 50% envolved (which these were not). In both situations, there was not enough personnel initially for both a backup line and a vent team, and the IC felt that ventilation was needed for safe operation. A backup handline manned and working is a requirement for our departmeent w/in 1 minute of the initial line being pulled, or the initial line is pulled out. No significant loss as both structures were vacant. The third situation involved a commercial structure where all employees had been evacated and accounted for. The volume of fire dictated a couple of 2.5" lines to contain the fire, which we did not have the manpower for. Again, not significant as it was a commercial structure with no life hazard on arrival.

                          So you dont have the manpower but yet you say its unfair to ask for more manpower. I gurantee you when you all have a family of 3-4 die that involves kids and I hope you dont but you can bet the public wont think its unfair.

                          We are a primarily rural area with a very limited commercial tax base. The first $75,000 of property assessment in Louisiana is exempt from any kind of taxes, including fire district taxes. Approximatly 30-40% of our residental prperties pays no fire taxes because of this. Our fire tax is already slighty over the parish average. The community cannot simply afford additional fire taxes. Nor would they stand for it if we explained that 99.5% of the time our career-volunteer staffing is perfectly adequate for what we face. Maybe I am just one of those who beleive that we have a responsibility to be fiscally responsible, and to me, it is not fiscally responsible or fair to the taxpayers to ask them to fund postions that will be used on .5% of our runs (or about 6-7 times a year). The community as a whole is happy with what we give them and understnad that at times we have limitaions because of our fiscal situation. It is in those situations that we have to make hard choices ... but those hard choices have to be made with our safety first.

                          We are a combo department that makes no bones about saying that we are a primarily volunteer combo department. Our paid staff exists to support the volunteers .. who provide 70-90% of our manpower at our incidents. The paid staff exist to take care of the daily chores, daily truck checks and maintanece and routine tasks such as hydrant maintanence. Any vollie riding out must participate in the daily task assigned to the career staff. It works very well here, and it will be the way we do business for as far into the future as we can predict.
                          Train to fight the fires you fight.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by LaFireEducator

                            We are a combo department that makes no bones about saying that we are a primarily volunteer combo department. Our paid staff exists to support the volunteers .. who provide 70-90% of our manpower at our incidents. The paid staff exist to take care of the daily chores, daily truck checks and maintanece and routine tasks such as hydrant maintanence. Any vollie riding out must participate in the daily task assigned to the career staff. It works very well here, and it will be the way we do business for as far into the future as we can predict.
                            I understtod what you said in your post. But anyway gonna respect the thread. So with you all being a rural department how many calls etc do you all run a year? Also what part of LA. are you all in?
                            IACOJ
                            FTM-PTB

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by throthestick
                              I went to a great seminar today ... After sitting thru it i got to thinking about how the majority of one hundred or so people that represent many different depts . are in two different worlds... The topics discussed spoke on the most effective ways at dealing with different types of constuctions and fire reaction ... But everything is predacated on nfpa standards and the traditional exceptance of what we all agree to be an adequate first alarm response...
                              Im fortuanate enough to work in a very busy dept outside Boston and we have the ability to place 16 firefighters on the fire ground on a first alarm assignment ... We pride ourseleves in a aggressive interior attack because frankly we have the ability to so ... And, back that up with more than a complete second alarm ..
                              Many of the Depts. represented had the common theme that im sure most people on this board have ... Pulling up with one two firefighters and maybe one guy driving the ladder or another piece following ... meanwhile people are getting toned out and there is a gap before arrival ...
                              How can these depts. make any type of an aggressice attack given the manpower.. It really is night and a scary day .. I could not imagine doing the job with anything short of what we have ,,.. And we are down twenty plus bodies...
                              So while it was on my mind , and i do far more reading than posting,, i thought i would toss this one out there and see some of the different responses....

                              Got thrown off sorry. Anyway where I am at we have 7 on duty per shift right now. THey are going to be hiring 6 more within the next 2 months or so. But what you see is what you get. We use 7 people currently on a structure fire and no we do not meet the 2 in 2 out rule. We are a very aggresive department. We do recall 3 off duty firefighters when we have a structure fire but there purpose is just to man the hall just in case something else comes in. However like everywhere else we have to have parks and greenways. They just spent 2.8 mill on a park and when its done it will have cost over 5 million. And not to mention how much they have spent on greenways. I think if we changed our name ot parks and rec we could get anything we wanted.

                              But anyway do what you got to do with what you have.

                              Sincerely
                              Tann
                              IACOJ
                              FTM-PTB

                              Comment

                              300x600 Ad Unit (In-View)

                              Collapse

                              Upper 300x250

                              Collapse

                              Taboola

                              Collapse

                              Leader

                              Collapse
                              Working...
                              X