1. #1

    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    0

    Default Staffing Problems

    I work for a dept in a city of around 26,000. We do both Fire & EMS. We have 3 shifts; 24on/48off. We only have 10 guys on each shift. 1-Capt; 1-Lt; 2-Eng; 6-FF. I'm just trying to get info from ya'll about your dept and it's staffing. My dept is definitely understaffed. When you only have 4-5 guys working a house fire it really sucks. We've been staffed like this for years. The chief really doesn't push for more manpower. He asks the "CITY" and they say 'No. The city doesn't have enough money.' The dept has been working like this for decades. It really does need to change ASAP. This is the major morale buster for us. We are union and have tried to make change to no success. Maybe if I can get some info about your dept's staffing & city size or maybe some suggestions it would really help. Thank you brothers and may the Lord be with you.
    SJS

  2. #2
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
    Posts
    88

    Default

    Columbia, SC

    127,000 Est. Population
    32 Stations
    32 Engines (2 of which have been unmanned due to budget constraints)
    4 Ladders (3 are technically, quints)
    1 Heavy Rescue
    4 "Medium-Duty" Rescues
    1 Haz-Mat rig
    Several Tankers, Brush Trucks
    5 Battalions (1st Battallion's Chief is the Shift Commander)

    Our size is due to the fact that we are under contract to provide fire protection for Richland County, as well as the City of Columbia.

    We run four on an engine (1 Capt., 1 Engineer/Senior FF and 2 grunts), and due to the closing of two engines, and the shifting of one engine to cover a previously unmanned station, 3 of our ladders run 5 (3 FFs).

    Our outlying county stations are a different story. Some have the rescues (3 man rigs), and a paid driver to run brush trucks, engines and tankers. Other stations only have one or two drivers. All of these stations rely on volunteers for personnel.

    Staffing is always a problem at a fire, due to the sheer number of tasks that need to be performed. This is especially true out in the county, since our volunteer participation is low.

  3. #3
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    312

    Default

    First I will say we are volunteer so my situation is not yours. But like most we have staffing problems.

    I just wanted to ask. Do you have any other FDs around you that you can call for Mutual Aid? If nothing else they could help with overhaul.

    Forgive my ignorance of how career departments use or don't use mutual aid. I am not sure if it is against policies or not.

  4. #4
    Early Adopter
    cozmosis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 1999
    Location
    Arkansas
    Posts
    1,925

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Cappy05 View Post
    Forgive my ignorance of how career departments use or don't use mutual aid. I am not sure if it is against policies or not.
    Use of mutual aid among career is like everything else in the fire service -- it varies from place to place. I know some career departments that would strip every station clean before calling mutual aid. Other departments are quick to call for help. Although most departments I know are happy to run mutual aid and go play on someone else's fire, there are certainly cities that only begrudgingly fill aid requests.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    3

    Default

    City of about 35,000

    3 stations- 3 Engine Companies, 1 Ladder Co.

    Staffing of 4 on all.

  6. #6
    Forum Member
    GTRider245's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Augusta,GA
    Posts
    3,065

    Default

    We run 16 engines and 2 ladders with 2 personnel each. Thats the career department. Volunteer department relies on who shows up. I pulled up on a two story residential with heavy fire venting from a second story window last weekend alone.

    It is all about knowing what you have to work with and adjusting tactics to reflect manpower.
    Career Firefighter
    Volunteer Captain

    -Professional in Either Role-

    Quote Originally Posted by Rescue101 View Post
    I don't mind fire rolling over my head. I just don't like it rolling UNDER my a**.

  7. #7
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    2,970

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by sjsuperman View Post
    I work for a dept in a city of around 26,000. We do both Fire & EMS. We have 3 shifts; 24on/48off. We only have 10 guys on each shift. 1-Capt; 1-Lt; 2-Eng; 6-FF. I'm just trying to get info from ya'll about your dept and it's staffing. My dept is definitely understaffed. When you only have 4-5 guys working a house fire it really sucks. We've been staffed like this for years. The chief really doesn't push for more manpower. He asks the "CITY" and they say 'No. The city doesn't have enough money.' The dept has been working like this for decades. It really does need to change ASAP. This is the major morale buster for us. We are union and have tried to make change to no success. Maybe if I can get some info about your dept's staffing & city size or maybe some suggestions it would really help. Thank you brothers and may the Lord be with you.
    SJS
    Yeah, 4-5 for a house fire, been there, done that.

    Do your FFs live in the city? Do you do a callback of off-duty personnel for fires? We do both and it makes the situation a little more tolerable. However, sometimes it seems like forever until the reinforcements arrive.

  8. #8
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    247

    Default

    Start a volunteer firefighter program so that you've got some of your own folks to assist for fires. If you haven't been able to increase staff for years, its not likely to happen, so you might as well go figure out how to live with it and this offers an option. You've probably got enough paid staff to handle all the medical stuff, but they could be a big help during the rare fires. Thats how my department does things.
    Last edited by auxman; 10-31-2009 at 09:01 AM.

  9. #9
    Forum Member
    TruckSixFF's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    A Great place USA, which means not West Coast...!
    Posts
    246

    Default

    Population- about 196,000 give or take.

    23 stations just opened 4 new stations in 3 years , 21 engines, 9 trucks, 4 battalion chiefs, 1 heavy rescue (squad), 1 hazmat squad (staffed with 2 every shift) a hand full of ALS ambos. All engines are ALS, all ambos went ALS after a few BLS ambos were swtiched over, all trucks are BLS and a few are planned on going ALS. Engines (officer, driver, back up, nozzle and trucks (officer, driver, irons, exterior OV/roof), The (HR) squad is staffed with 4 about 50%, some shifts they ride with 4, some shifts are short and go down to 3. Squad rolls on all working fires (about 2-3 a shift, if squad is on another run we add an extra truck in its place) and all good pin jobs, tech rescues and the like. Most houses have 6-8 members on duty. Work 24X48 hour shifts. On average about 800-900 working fires a year.


    Respond to over 94,000 runs a year.
    Last edited by TruckSixFF; 10-31-2009 at 12:53 AM.
    FDNY 343 9/11/01 WILL Never Forget!

    (W-6)

    "We Lucky Few We Band of Brothers." William Shakespeare

    "let no man's ghost return to say his training let him down. "

    D-P-T

  10. #10
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Canuck Expat May be anywhere
    Posts
    2,906

    Default

    My Old dept is as follows
    27 stations for city of 1million
    approx 1100 personnel
    33 pumpers
    8 tankers
    11 aerials
    8 rescue trucks
    6 rescue boats
    2 dangerous goods response vans
    1 decontamination trailer
    1 ventilation unit
    1 mobile command centre
    1 hose tender
    1 rehabilitation bus
    1 salvage truck
    1 canine van
    Several all-terrain vehicles
    Additionally, about 50 ACLS ambulances run from hallsaswell as own stations. Fully integrated fire and medical. About 60% of FF are qualified paramedics, about the same for medics to FF. They have missed alot of the economic downturn here, new recruit class in progress, another class to start in spring. Mandated staffing is 5 for pumpers, 4 for aerials and 4 for rescue. Ambulances always 2 but often have 3 as FF getting their hours to stay current or student ride alongs.

  11. #11
    55 Years & Still Rolling
    hwoods's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Glenn Dale Md, Heart of the P.G. County Fire Belt....
    Posts
    10,739

    Post And...........

    Weekday Staffing: Captain, Driver, 3 FFs. (Career) 0700-1500

    Nights, Weekends, Holidays: Volunteer.

    1 Fire Engine, 1 Rescue Engine, 1 Heavy Rescue, 1 BLS Ambulance. (with a New BLS unit in service as of 10-1-09, we now have a 2nd BLS Ambulance in reserve)

    Calls in 2008: Engine 875, Rescue 1,201, BLS 1870.

    Average Staffing per unit: BLS 2.1, Everything else 5.4

    Maybe I'm just hardheaded, but I totally fail to understand Two things about America's Fire Service.

    1. Why every Department doesn't use Volunteers in some capacity, moreso as the size of the Department shrinks. Do I advocate replacing Career Firefighters with Volunteers? Of course not. BUT, having Volunteers to provide additional staffing is a no brainer.

    2. Many people out there are whining about Volunteers becoming more and more scarce. This is NOT the case here, and hasn't been. Even more interesting is the INCREASE in Volunteer Applications since the economy has been down. We do Volunteer Recruiting and Training on a Countywide basis, and since July 1, 2009, we've had over 480 Applications, an average of over 10 per Station., or 3 per station per month. People WILL Volunteer, you just have to reach them.

    If you want and need Volunteers, but don't have them, take a long hard look at your organization, chances are pretty good that you're doing something that turns people off......... Last, I won't criticize without offering help. If you have a question or want someone to look at what you are doing with volunteer recruitment, PM Me.
    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

  12. #12
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    2,970

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by hwoods View Post

    Maybe I'm just hardheaded, but I totally fail to understand Two things about America's Fire Service.

    1. Why every Department doesn't use Volunteers in some capacity, moreso as the size of the Department shrinks. Do I advocate replacing Career Firefighters with Volunteers? Of course not. BUT, having Volunteers to provide additional staffing is a no brainer.
    It may be a no brainer in the situation you're familiar with, but for others it's not so much. Sure, the idea of a pool of workers that come with little to no cost is a great idea (and I come from a volunteer background), but...............

    1. The volunteers must be willing to do what's asked of them in order to be part of that department. We added part-time FFs a few years ago to help with our staffing issues. If we were to add volunteers, then I would expect them to be "operationally equal" to our current staff. Firefighter I is an entry level requirement to apply currently. We would expect that of the volunteers and we'd expect them to "work shifts" and otherwise only respond when requested.

    The volunteers in my area have repeatedly expressed opposition to the certification process and the idea of staffing their stations in some fashion. There's also a fair bit of the "I don't have to do that, i'm a volunteer" attitude. So, I'm not convinced that we'd be able to field enough volunteers to really make a difference without creating more problems than benefits.



    2. Many people out there are whining about Volunteers becoming more and more scarce. This is NOT the case here, and hasn't been. Even more interesting is the INCREASE in Volunteer Applications since the economy has been down. We do Volunteer Recruiting and Training on a Countywide basis, and since July 1, 2009, we've had over 480 Applications, an average of over 10 per Station., or 3 per station per month. People WILL Volunteer, you just have to reach them.
    Glad to hear your recruiting is going well.

  13. #13
    Banned

    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    8,677

    Default

    Population of 15,413 according to the 2000 census. 1 Station, duty crew of 7, 3 apparatus plus chiefs vehicle. 2 per vehicle. 24 on 48 off.

  14. #14
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    247

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by FireMedic049 View Post
    1. The volunteers must be willing to do what's asked of them in order to be part of that department. We added part-time FFs a few years ago to help with our staffing issues. If we were to add volunteers, then I would expect them to be "operationally equal" to our current staff. Firefighter I is an entry level requirement to apply currently. We would expect that of the volunteers and we'd expect them to "work shifts" and otherwise only respond when requested.
    That is how my dept does it with its vols and seems to work fairly well. Need to be able to use them as interchangebly as possible with the paid guys.

  15. #15
    55 Years & Still Rolling
    hwoods's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Glenn Dale Md, Heart of the P.G. County Fire Belt....
    Posts
    10,739

    Question Huh?.......

    Quote Originally Posted by FireMedic049 View Post
    Firefighter I is an entry level requirement to apply currently. We would expect that of the volunteers and we'd expect them to "work shifts" and otherwise only respond when requested.

    Some I get, Some I don't.........

    We require new Volunteers to acquire Firefighter I, EMT-B, and comply with a list of "Smaller" things (NIMS, AED/CPR, Hazmat Ops, etc.) to be able to Ride and actively participate. Here, when you reach a Position such as FF I, you get certified at that level, almost all members get National Pro Board Certs.

    Members put in "Duty Tours" of a 4 hour Minimum, weekly. HOWEVER, (and this is where your remarks have me wondering) we bend over backwards to encourage folks to spend as much time at the Station as they can. A Duty Crew can get one piece on the road, but with more folks hanging out, more units can be staffed and respond. I am totally lost on why you would want to limit the number of responders on any call, or limit the calls that people could respond to. My Apparatus (2 Engines, 1 Heavy Rescue) has a total of 26 seats, and I'd like to have every seat filled on every call.
    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

  16. #16
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    2,970

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by hwoods View Post
    Some I get, Some I don't.........

    We require new Volunteers to acquire Firefighter I, EMT-B, and comply with a list of "Smaller" things (NIMS, AED/CPR, Hazmat Ops, etc.) to be able to Ride and actively participate. Here, when you reach a Position such as FF I, you get certified at that level, almost all members get National Pro Board Certs.

    Members put in "Duty Tours" of a 4 hour Minimum, weekly. HOWEVER, (and this is where your remarks have me wondering) we bend over backwards to encourage folks to spend as much time at the Station as they can. A Duty Crew can get one piece on the road, but with more folks hanging out, more units can be staffed and respond. I am totally lost on why you would want to limit the number of responders on any call, or limit the calls that people could respond to. My Apparatus (2 Engines, 1 Heavy Rescue) has a total of 26 seats, and I'd like to have every seat filled on every call.
    I think mostly a misunderstanding and difference of systems.

    As I understand your system, responses are pretty much covered by personnel at the station at the time of dispatch. In this area, pretty much all of the volunteer departments utilize exclusively a "home response" system in addition to whomever might be "hanging out" at the station.

    We easily handle 90% of our calls with the on-duty staffing we have now. What I was referring to was limiting responses to those volunteers who are "on-duty" or at the station at the time of dispatch so we don't have people "racing" to the station or scene for calls that we simply don't need them for.

    When we have working fires, we usually call back off-duty personnel (who live in district) and if volunteers were added to the mix, then they'd be incorporated into the call back process.

  17. #17
    Early Adopter
    cozmosis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 1999
    Location
    Arkansas
    Posts
    1,925

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by hwoods View Post
    We require new Volunteers to acquire Firefighter I, EMT-B, and comply with a list of "Smaller" things (NIMS, AED/CPR, Hazmat Ops, etc.) to be able to Ride and actively participate.
    What sort of activities do they get to participate in before they get their certs? We train our volunteers to the Firefighter I level (they actually get FFII curriculum, but are not required to test for it). However, they don't get to make any runs during their training.

    So, that means we take our gung-ho volunteer recruits and make them attend class two nights a week for a year before they get to have much fun. On one hand, these weeds out anyone not 100% dedicated to the cause... but on the other, it discourages some that are on the bubble.

  18. #18
    55 Years & Still Rolling
    hwoods's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Glenn Dale Md, Heart of the P.G. County Fire Belt....
    Posts
    10,739

    Thumbs up From Day 1...........

    Quote Originally Posted by cozmosis View Post
    What sort of activities do they get to participate in before they get their certs? We train our volunteers to the Firefighter I level (they actually get FFII curriculum, but are not required to test for it). However, they don't get to make any runs during their training.

    So, that means we take our gung-ho volunteer recruits and make them attend class two nights a week for a year before they get to have much fun. On one hand, these weeds out anyone not 100% dedicated to the cause... but on the other, it discourages some that are on the bubble.

    A person submits an Application to the VFD that they wish to join. The VFD approves the individual for Probationary Membership and forwards the Application to the County Fire Commission Office. Fire Commission has a Record Check done, if the Individual passes that, they are notified to schedule an appointment for a physical. Physical works out OK, the Individual is scheduled into an "Orientation Class" which we call Volunteer Recruit School, or VRS. Pass VRS, and they get a set of PPE assigned, with a Red Helmet to idintify them as a Trainee. It's taken about Six Weeks to get to this point. From here, the Individual can ride on Calls, BUT, is limited to "Outside" Tasks until they complete the FF I Course. From the time their Application is approved, they have Thirty Months to Complete the Required Training. Everyone, regardless of wether their station operates an Ambulance or not, MUST become an EMT-B.

    In Short, there is enough going on, and enough latitude for new folks, that keeping their interest up isn't a problem.......

    Additionally, If a new Member comes with Training from another Jurisdiction, we have the ability to certify that person as meeting our requirements without doing everything all over again, IF they meet our criteria. We use NBFSPQ (Pro Board) as a benchmark. Come to my Department with Pro Board FF II and you're in great shape.........
    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

  19. #19
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    441

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by sjsuperman View Post
    I work for a dept in a city of around 26,000. We do both Fire & EMS. We have 3 shifts; 24on/48off. We only have 10 guys on each shift. 1-Capt; 1-Lt; 2-Eng; 6-FF. I'm just trying to get info from ya'll about your dept and it's staffing. My dept is definitely understaffed. When you only have 4-5 guys working a house fire it really sucks. We've been staffed like this for years. The chief really doesn't push for more manpower. He asks the "CITY" and they say 'No. The city doesn't have enough money.' The dept has been working like this for decades. It really does need to change ASAP. This is the major morale buster for us. We are union and have tried to make change to no success. Maybe if I can get some info about your dept's staffing & city size or maybe some suggestions it would really help. Thank you brothers and may the Lord be with you.
    SJS
    I'd say you're not doing that bad with paid staff. Paid FD I'm familiar with (pop 4000 -200000) average around 1 FF/1000pop. If you need more the combined FD is were you need to go. Unless your community is quite wealth unlikely you going to suck funding out of it to substantially increase your headcount and likely don't have the calls to justify it anyhow. Perhaps a SAFER (apps open up approx Nov15) to add a couple more FF per shift. BUT a big expense for city in out years as they are committing to paying 50% of the cost of additional FF over 5yr period.

    You have personnel now to roll 2 engines and a ladder. Volunteers properly organized can have additional apparatus on scene 3-5min behind you.

  20. #20
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    441

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by hwoods View Post
    .. Everyone, regardless of wether their station operates an Ambulance or not, MUST become an EMT-B.
    What additional can you provide on the logic here? I think would cut out a signficant # of personnel a FD can use. For paid FD often EMT is required of all FF but is part of the justification of paid FD (also the medic organization). Same isn't true with vol FD.

    I've had 1st Resp med. Not my thing. Not into bandaids and aspirin business. I also wouldn't sign up for 80hrs training in counseling/handholding, sewer operator, public water system management. There are folks that like are into med or the other lines of public service work (vol. or paid staff). We have full time ambulance with EMT at the local hospital.

  21. #21
    Forum Member
    GTRider245's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Augusta,GA
    Posts
    3,065

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by fireinfo10 View Post
    What additional can you provide on the logic here? I think would cut out a signficant # of personnel a FD can use. For paid FD often EMT is required of all FF but is part of the justification of paid FD (also the medic organization). Same isn't true with vol FD.

    I've had 1st Resp med. Not my thing. Not into bandaids and aspirin business. I also wouldn't sign up for 80hrs training in counseling/handholding, sewer operator, public water system management. There are folks that like are into med or the other lines of public service work (vol. or paid staff). We have full time ambulance with EMT at the local hospital.
    They may run medical first responder calls out of the houses that dont have ambulances to supplement. I also for one like the peace of mind knowing that everyone on a fireground with me is trained to handle a medical problem, just in case I am the one experiencing it.
    Career Firefighter
    Volunteer Captain

    -Professional in Either Role-

    Quote Originally Posted by Rescue101 View Post
    I don't mind fire rolling over my head. I just don't like it rolling UNDER my a**.

  22. #22
    55 Years & Still Rolling
    hwoods's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Glenn Dale Md, Heart of the P.G. County Fire Belt....
    Posts
    10,739

    Thumbs up Well............

    Quote Originally Posted by fireinfo10 View Post
    What additional can you provide on the logic here? I think would cut out a signficant # of personnel a FD can use. For paid FD often EMT is required of all FF but is part of the justification of paid FD (also the medic organization). Same isn't true with vol FD. We have full time ambulance with EMT at the local hospital.

    Easy Answer: WE Run the EMS Business Here. ALL of it, ALS, BLS, Transport, Whateverelse. Each Firehouse has, and runs, an Ambulance. Our system was born in 1928, and the Fire Department has enjoyed total control over Emergency Operations since then. If you need ANYTHING for an Emergency, other than Knives or Guns, You get the FD coming to help with whatever you need. We learned a Longggggg time ago, the best route to survival is to be the only game in town. Any prospective Volunteer (or Career Recruit) who says that they have no plans to be an EMT, or participate in EMS, is on the receiving end of a very short message: "Bye". We have our system laid out as it is because we want it this way. I have no idea how far it is from here to the nearest Hospital that operates an Ambulance Service for General Public EMS needs, but it's in the Hundreds of miles. Here, You are required by law to call 911 for an Emergency, so you'll get a response from the FD or the PD, nobody else............
    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

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Half -staffing flag for low staffing!What @*****????
    By coldfront in forum Firefighters Forum
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 04-25-2008, 07:04 PM
  2. Staffing
    By ftfdverbenec770 in forum Firefighters Forum
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 06-03-2006, 06:31 PM
  3. East Coast Staffing/West Coast Staffing?
    By EricCSU in forum Firefighters Forum
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 05-09-2004, 11:07 AM
  4. Staffing
    By firetrainer87 in forum Emergency Services Administration
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 04-10-2002, 10:47 AM
  5. HOW TO GET STAFFING
    By schorched28 in forum Firefighters Forum
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 08-24-2001, 05:15 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

Log in

Click here to log in or register