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Should All FF's be EMT's or above

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  • Originally posted by DrParasite View Post
    you know, there is a really easy solution to this question. stop going on first response runs. how to do you do that? simple. take your existing ambulance staffing, and double it. if your town has 2 ambulances, make it 4. if you have 30, make it 60. eliminate the need for a first responder, only go on calls when additional manpower is needed.

    or even better, if you are cities, make sure you have as many ambulances as you have engine companies. you should probably have even more, since there are more ambulance runs than engine company runs (subtracting the EMS ones).

    but until EMS gets the resources it needs (and if the IAFF supported this, it would help, but I digress) career FDs will continue to go on EMS runs. and then I still think you should have at least one EMT on a crew that is doing a first response assignment.
    And you know the best part. The amblance service always gets paid for it's services. MANY FDs provide EMS service for no charge. So sense the Ambulance service is getting paid maybe they should increase their staffing levels. Oh yea, if they do that the guy at the top won't get his huge check anymore.

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    • Originally posted by HotTrotter View Post
      And you know the best part. The amblance service always gets paid for it's services. MANY FDs provide EMS service for no charge. So sense the Ambulance service is getting paid maybe they should increase their staffing levels. Oh yea, if they do that the guy at the top won't get his huge check anymore.

      You are right, recently FDNY/EMS started to charge for ambulance rides. But I think the money, which is only at about 50% collection, goes into the cities general fund. But that means nothing if most of the pts are uninsured or have medicaid. You cant get blood from a stone.
      IACOJ Member

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      • Originally posted by HotTrotter View Post
        And you know the best part. The ambulance service always gets paid for it's services. MANY FDs provide EMS service for no charge. So sense the Ambulance service is getting paid maybe they should increase their staffing levels. Oh yea, if they do that the guy at the top won't get his huge check anymore.
        actually, you are wrong. ambulance services do not always get paid for services. in fact, if I'm not mistaken, most have collection rates below 50%.

        Further, ambulance companies often don't get a dime when they transport people who don't have insurance. They have to write it off as a loss.

        Additionally, if an ambulance charges $800 for a transport, and the insurance company give them only $200, guess what. no, the company doesn't charge the patient for the rest, they take the $200 and write the rest as a loss.

        Lastly, if someone doesn't have insurance, or can't pay, you can't refuse services. So even if you know you are going to lose money on a job, you can't not treat the person. Oh yeah, and unlike the fire department who is funded by taxes, many ambulance companies are 3rd party agencies, where the majority (if not all) of their funding comes from the revenue they bring in from their transports. So while a fire department can operate without charging since their funding comes form taxes, most ambulance companies aren't so lucky.
        If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!

        FF/EMT/DBP

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        • If your position that Density was the driving force behind our staffing, then Hoboken and West New York, NJ would have much better staffing per company than us, No?
          FFFRED, Hoboken, good example to take a look. I spent a summer years ago at Stevens, brings back a few memories. Your correct, Hoboken is denser than NYC, about 30K/sq. mi. But is painfully obviously why they don't have FDNY staffing per company. If Hoboken was part of NYC, the 40,000 residents would be easily be covered by a single engine co. and single truck co. 40,000 per engine is almost exactly FDNY coverage and 40,000 per truck would actually be better than FDNY 55,000 residents per truck. Sq. mileage coverage would be actually be better - 1.3 sq. mi for that single engine vs. FDNY's 1.5 sq. mi. /engine and 1.3 for that single truck would be much better than FDNY's 2.3 sq. mi./truck. So FFFRED, could Hoboken staff at FDNY per company if Hoboken was just a part of NYC? Absolutely! Looks as though Hoboken runs 3 engines, 2 ladders and rescue - Hoboken actually spends a fair amount on the FD, pretty substantial numbers, but even with that extra funding, can't match FDNY as you state when thye are staffing 6 companies vs. what FDNY would staff as 2 companies for that size population.

          Your arguing that you have fought for the FDNY company staffing - no question you have, but the main reason it is even on the table is because of NYC population density. You have about 40,000 residents supporting every engine and 55,000 supporting every truck - provide that support for other FDs and you could staff every paid engine and truck in the U.S. with 6. Other communities don't have that level of support - because the population is spread much thinner, companies are spread out and more numerous and per company staffing goes down. Why is it that dense cities like NYC, you talk about staffing at 5-6, moderate density and your at 4-5, and lower densities at 3-4 with more pure suburban 2-3 per company - it is a no brainer, it's density.

          Example New England city I'm very familiar with, spends about $130/capita with a population density of 5000/sq. mi. You want to duplicate FDNY coverage in that city with co. staffing of 6, that $130 goes to about $560 or a factor of about 4.5x. Suprise! that city has a density that is about 1/5 that of NYC. The most affluent communities in New England don't even spend that much per capita, let alone a deteriorating city with a substanial % of the population below the poverty line.

          Bottom line FFFREd is that every community provides the FD with roughly the same size piece of the pie from the municipal revenues - you can spread the more companies out with lower staffing per company, reduce the number of companies and bump up co staffing, etc. - the common denominator is the slice of pie, not firefighting strategy or tactics or even demand for that matter. If that were true, why is it that cities like Detroit don't have the best equipment, staffing at 6, etc. It is predominantly demographics and economics FFFRED.

          Your comment with regard to companies running 500 or so calls per year - answer = risk. FFFRED, do you drive, if you have a family, do you put your kids in car? Motor vehicle risk is very high - #1 killer for a good part of our lives. Auto fatality risk is about 1/10,000. I'll bet you drive and why is that, because the benefit you gain from driving and putting your kids at the highest risk of death they could be exposed to outweighs the risk. FD or no FD, the risk of fire death is even lower, 1/100,000 - do you live in a non-combustible house with no combustible contents, no electricity or fuels as source of ignition or additional fuel? I'll bet you don't - again, why is that, you've minimized the risk based on your knowledge and the benefit outweighs the risk.

          When companies are doing 500 runs a year, that means calls are down, all fires are down, serious fires are down, fatal fires are down, etc. In other words, the risk has been lowered. Now you FFFRED accept a 1/10,000 risk of auto death and you expect Joe and Jane citizen to get worked up about 1/100,000 risk of fire death so much that they are willing to spend tax dollars on 5-6 person co staffing in what is a more typical 4K-5K population density city or down to 500 - 1K density in more suburban areas?? And spending dollars on the FD isn't necessarily going to change the 1/100,000 risk of fire death - people die in fires sometimes even when a well-staffed FD like FDNY shows up. You talk about the FD as "insurance." Insurance allows you to transfer risk in exhange for some premium. There is no guarantee that property or lives will be saved when dollars are spent on the FD - much of the outcome of a fire is out of the FDs hands. What's going to happen is taht they are going to accept the risk of lower staffing per company or longer response times because just like you accept the risk of driving for the benefit, they will gain benefit from spending their dollars elsewhere.

          When you are in NYC and you have 40K people supporitng every engine co., you can get away with taking a position that we only do fire. Wehn you are down to 10-15K people supporting every engine and 500 runs/year, it is almost a sure bet you would lose. Taxpayers are not going to fund fire only 5-6 man staffing to address a 1/100,000 risk when firefighters just like you FFFRED are willing to accept a 1/10,000 risk driving a car everyday.

          I admire your passion and interest in the issue, but your position defies reality to a substantial degree. I think most of your union brothers and sisters also don't see it your way - I doubt it most outside of a few of the bigger older cities would give up EMS.

          The only solution to the fire problem in the US isn't FDs - building codes, detectors, sprinklers, etc. and the industries that support them are as hungry or hungrier than you to get a piece of the fire pie. You can get away with taking your position in NYC, but in most other communities it is a loser. Sometimes you need to change with the times. Provide something additional of value to the citizens and focus on keeping yourself safe with possibly some less than ideal staffing and you can continue to put food on the table and show up at that table after every shift.
          Last edited by kfactor; 03-11-2007, 12:12 AM.

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