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  • Question about minimum manning

    I recall some time back hearing of a FD that sued their city for not having 4 personnel to an apparatus. Could someone please give me the details of that again. My dept is talking about adding a fourth but is coming under some anti personnel fighting amongst city councilmen and citizens alike. They are saying that there is nothing the FF can do about it if they dont put 4 people to a truck.

    Thanks

  • #2
    Im no lawyer but I dont think there is anything the fire department can do about this issue unless it is in a union contract or a contract of some sort that states that they will staff the apparatus with 4 people. Now if your department head is elected then I think he/she can sue the city to get personnel.

    Now if the city has adopted NFPA 1710 then that might be possibly another avenue you all can take. But most cities dont adopt NFPA 1710 but that dont mean it cant be used against them because they can be sued if a firefighter or citizen gets hurt if they are not metting NFPA 1710 standards.

    Hope this helped some. Were going through the same thing right now. YOu can PM me if you would like
    Last edited by Tann3100; 02-03-2007, 11:26 AM.
    IACOJ
    FTM-PTB

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    • #3
      We have minimum manning in New York City. It is a contractual item. The City MUST start every tour with 4 firefighters (many are 5 firefighters) and an officer in every Engine Co., and 5 firefighters and an officer on every Truck and Rescue Co.

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      • #4
        Sadly for us, most monetary items are non-binding contract issues. If the City does not want to fund new positions they can just not allocate the money. Taking away positions is a little harder as you can show a measure of safety that is being taken away. Either way the only way to force it will proabably be to go to court. Even in court I think we been shown that our safety is not as important as the general publics tax bill. Of course this would also work for cops and other departments that provide a measure of safety to the public.

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        • #5
          Well since I belong to a combination department, career and volunteer, staffing is a big issue. At the present time our county goes with a minimum of four career fire fighters. Which isn't bad as long as there is not a call for the ambulance. If there is a call for the ambulance then the station is down to two fire fighters. Granted there are not many volunteers at my station, but that is another thread. So we the career and volunteers try to make up a minimum staffing of five so if the ambulance goes out at least there are three fire fighters still in the station if there is another call.

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          • #6
            Our first due pumper only seats two, so that solves that problem
            oh, and our other pumper is 40 years old, so it never leaves the town common..
            therefor, its first two at the station rolls, long as one is a driver/operator.

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            • #7
              This is a battle our department has fought in the past. Right now we have two engines and a quint that keep 4-man crews (captain, driver/engineer, two FF). One of the other two quints is allowed to drop to 3 men when the fourth is sent to another station to fill in, but this is soon to be rectified with the hiring of more personnel. The other quint responds with a single-man rescue truck. It's a dual company thing, but it still maintains four coming from that station.

              One thing to keep in mind when discussing the issue with the powers that be is that a 3-man company cannot make an interior attack because of the two-in, two-out rule. Unless there's a rescue situation, how is the public going to like watching three firefighters throwing water through a window?

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              • #8
                Try Iowa City, Iowa. Population is 63,000, plus University students adds to make it 100,000. There are 58 firefighters, 3 stations, 3 shifts. Same numbers since 1970's when population was 40,000. Least in firefighters per 1000 residents in Iowa. The city finally purchased land for a fourth station, but could not budget to staff. Now they are debating the issue again, and the suggestion was to staff it with "paraprofessionals".
                The department is totally reliant on the county mutual aid association. I am a firm believer in helping when needed, but it is out of hand. They call surrounding volunteers to back their stations. Sometimes our trucks sit for hours, for free. the city is sure making out, but these volunteers are taking away a guys paycheck. I'm sure the Union won't allow the volunteers to staff a station, but this is how we got to this point. I am positive that the citizens are not fully aware of the facts.
                Iowa City Fire is great, and we support our brothers. However, for me, an aspiring career firefighter, and the citizens it is a raw deal. How can we get the city to come to grips without stepping on the toes of our brothers, and the mutual aid agreement? I support mutual aid, but not staffing a station.

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                • #9
                  louisville, ky Manning

                  Here we have to maintain 4 to a engine can cut to 3 for reasons like a FF gets hurt/ small injury and needs to be picked up from the ER.
                  After 8hr riding with 3 we have to detail or hire OT to fill the spot.
                  All trucks maintain 4 never cut, for no reason.
                  Tela squrts maintain 4 never cut down.
                  Quints and Quads never cut below 4, most start out riding with 6, but through details acroos town or what ever reason, mostly they ride with 4.
                  we have this set up witth the city as per contract.
                  All units have officers riding in charge, captains here, or acting captains, sgts riding for the day.
                  All units have sgts driving unless a private/FF is driving for the day.
                  We all get diff pay if riding out of our normal rank.
                  345

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                  • #10
                    i live near 2 cities that are full career departments but in my mind and a lot of other ppls minds in the area have questionable staffing. i have seen on numerous occations in both cities engines only being staffed with 2 and trucks being staffed with 1. yes thats only 1. now i do not know the specifics of how a normal response would go but how is a department supposed to make any kind of fire attack with a total of 3 guys between 2 pieces of apparatus. also how can the union agree to that? i volunteer in a town where staffing is usually good(6 to an engine during the day) but something like that goes against everything i was ever taught. also does that open the cities or the departments up to any kind of lawsuit regarding damage that did not have to occur if there was more manpower? i just hope no one gets hurt because of the staffing issue.


                    Stay Safe

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                    • #11
                      Full time department
                      9 Stations
                      8 Engines staffed with 3
                      1 Engine staffed with 4
                      2 Rescues both with only 2
                      2 Ladders both with only 2
                      4 ALS Ambulances with 2
                      About 50,000 population...

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                      • #12
                        When will they learn?

                        This always seems to be a constant problem, I remember this thread http://forums.firehouse.com/showthread.php?t=83917 where people jumped all over me for my opinion so I have shut up and read news on the outside and on these boards and have come to the conclusion that depts should fight for the highest staffing levels that they can get because sooner or later you will need every FF you can get and the powers that be don't understand that when it hits the fan you need everybody you can get. Minimum, staffing is just that minimum, and not what you run with every day. But city managers want minimum staffing because of the budget and don't care until they have to answer for poor staffing which doesn't happen often enough that they will change they way they staff unless we fight for better staffing.
                        Mark Zanghetti
                        FF-EMT
                        Goshen Fire Dept.
                        Waterford, CT

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                        • #13
                          Tell the citizens exactly what has to fall by the wayside at fire scenes because of less than minimum staffing. The only thing most council people understand is losing their positions to dissatisfied voters.
                          Logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead.

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