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  1. #1
    B Shifter rjtoc2's Avatar
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    Default Should You "Ride Short" or Close a Fire Station?

    Given the fact that nearly every fire department is being impacted by today's economy, given a choice, what would you do if you had a make a decision to either 1) ride short, i.e. decrease staffing on apparatus, or 2) close a fire station(s)? Why did you choose the selection you picked?
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  2. #2
    Forum Member MemphisE34a's Avatar
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    IMO, companies staffed with 4 or more are better and safer than piecing manpower together in by 1, 2, or 3 man companies - especially when you are talking about minmal staffing of 1 or 2.

    I know of a couple of departments that staff 4 different fire stations with 1 person. I would rather have one engine company staffed with 4 - same with 3 man companies. I would rather have fewer companies in total with more staffing.
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  3. #3
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    I'd say ride short, and hope you have a smart/good Btn. Chief who calls for the next due engine on the job to make up for the lack of staffing.

    You hear more of staffing getting put back into place then you do of closed firehouse's opening back up!!
    A Fire Chief has ONLY 1 JOB and that's to take care of his fireman. EVERYTHING else falls under this.

  4. #4
    Forum Member Chenzo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rjtoc2 View Post
    Given the fact that nearly every fire department is being impacted by today's economy, given a choice, what would you do if you had a make a decision to either 1) ride short, i.e. decrease staffing on apparatus, or 2) close a fire station(s)? Why did you choose the selection you picked?
    How short are we talking? Down to 2 man or 3 man crews? Because I know there are some plaves who run 3 man crews already. MPO, Officer and a firefighter. If were talking three man crews, than I'd rather ride short as I still believe that the job can be done effectively with the MPO driving and pumping, and the officer and firefighter doing fire supression.

  5. #5
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    Close a company! Atleast when a company does show up they will have adequate manpower. The engine doesnt do anything but flow water, its the fellas who do the work.

  6. #6
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    A lot depends on how many people the rig will have, if you get down to two, close the company and send the guys to suppliment another house. In suburban Chicago 3 man companies are common, you can start with 3 guys, it all depends how close help is. For me the second company is only about 1 to 3 minutes behind me, so it works, if you have to wait 5, 7, 10 minutes for that second rig then there is a problem. I've worked fires with 4, Engineer, me and 2 FF and it is 100% better then 3. I've even had the opportunity to do 5 person and that was real nice.
    I would rather have the correct staffing and fewer companies then crazy stuff like 2 man rigs.

  7. #7
    Forum Member GTRider245's Avatar
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    These threads always make me laugh. Some people don't realize that there are actualy departments in the country who run with two on an engine as normal staffing.I work for one of these dapartments, and we run a 14 engine company department with 2 guys on each engine and truck. The tactics we use reflect manpower we have available.

    The reason why you see those 1 man companies in some departments is becuase it only takes 1 man to handle the run of the mill calls we get everyday which are medical.

    Is it right? Probably not. Does it work for the department who knows what they have to work with and bases thier strategies and tactics off available manpower? Probably so.
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  8. #8
    MembersZone Subscriber Dickey's Avatar
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    If I was the Chief, and only had those two options (cutting other things are not available) I would rather take the lesser of two evils (in my opinion) and cut staff, only to the point of going no less than 3 per engine and 4 per truck. It's true that if you close a firehouse, it rarely opens back up. It's easier to add staff, even if it's only a couple per year, and show justification for increases in staff than opening a firehouse up again.

    I personally wouldn't do either. I would exhaust all other options first before I would do either one but just for the thread that's what I would do.
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  9. #9
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    You close a station. The public doesn't care if 1 person or 5 people show up on any given call as long as someone shows up. The public does notice when stations are closed down and will try to fight to keep it open.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Generic View Post
    You close a station. The public doesn't care if 1 person or 5 people show up on any given call as long as someone shows up. The public does notice when stations are closed down and will try to fight to keep it open.
    Absolutely. Put the heat on the city. Let them explain to the residents why they are less important than people in other parts of the city. Let them decide who's house to close. You can't close the ghetto house, they have tons of runs and you would be accused of racism. Can't close the slowest houses, they are in rich neighborhoods or placed because of specific threats or isolated, hard to protect areas. When a death occurs, let the city explain where that company is. If it were up to me I would close the house that protects the richest neighborhood. Have fun explaining that to your biggest tax base. Why would you ever choose to run any shorter than you have to? To cover some jagoff that wants to take your job???

  11. #11
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    I've never had to go through it, but I personally beilieve that full staffed truck or at least 4 people, is peferable to 2 or more trucks with 3 or less.

  12. #12
    Forum Member FHJ718's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GTRider245 View Post
    These threads always make me laugh. Some people don't realize that there are actualy departments in the country who run with two on an engine as normal staffing.I work for one of these dapartments, and we run a 14 engine company department with 2 guys on each engine and truck. The tactics we use reflect manpower we have available.

    The reason why you see those 1 man companies in some departments is becuase it only takes 1 man to handle the run of the mill calls we get everyday which are medical.

    Is it right? Probably not. Does it work for the department who knows what they have to work with and bases thier strategies and tactics off available manpower? Probably so.
    The more I read about what it seems to be the majority of the fire deparments operate with the more I feel spoiled. On a box I get 4 engines (1&3) 3 trucks (1&3) heavy rescue (1&3) 1 Re-hab unit (1 guy) and an additional chief.
    Having said that IMO to have that many rigs with only that many members is nothing more than smoke & mirrors. Make the public think they are fully protected by having plenty of rigs but without the adequate manning it means nothing.
    It's no knock on your department but I disagree with riding short.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Generic View Post
    You close a station. The public doesn't care if 1 person or 5 people show up on any given call as long as someone shows up. The public does notice when stations are closed down and will try to fight to keep it open.
    Thats a good point. Not to mention the city will say "see these staffing cuts haven't affected response time." It could also start a slippery slope, shave 1 guy off the crew and no one notices. The city will think "Oh I need more money to spend on crap, lets take another guy off the fire trucks. no one noticed before."

    If given a choice I guess closing a firehouse is for the "greater good". It forces the situation into the light. You can't brush firehouse closures under the rug. Joe blow won't realize many of the other changes because a fire truck is still coming and going from his neighborhood firehouse, but when no firetruck is coming out of the firehouse he'll ask questions. If it gets the citizens to realize their fire protection is being jeopardized its worth it.

    I could see 3 man engines doable in an area with single family and small 3-4 unit apartments. But anything with large commercial buildings, high rises, or anything that will regularly call for the movement of a 2 1/2 inside of the structure 4 or more man engines will be so much more effective and efficient.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rjtoc2 View Post
    Given the fact that nearly every fire department is being impacted by today's economy, given a choice, what would you do if you had a make a decision to either 1) ride short, i.e. decrease staffing on apparatus, or 2) close a fire station(s)? Why did you choose the selection you picked?
    I'd go with less staff because you'll still have all the equipment and you'll still have the same number of people if you closed the stations. (Just getting there on multiple trucks).

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    Quote Originally Posted by ADSNWFLD View Post
    I would rather have the correct staffing and fewer companies then crazy stuff like 2 man rigs.
    What about rural departments with NO staffing and 2 man rigs?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by MemphisE34a View Post
    IMO, companies staffed with 4 or more are better and safer than piecing manpower together in by 1, 2, or 3 man companies - especially when you are talking about minmal staffing of 1 or 2.

    I know of a couple of departments that staff 4 different fire stations with 1 person. I would rather have one engine company staffed with 4 - same with 3 man companies. I would rather have fewer companies in total with more staffing.

    I also agree with this.

    In actuality I see the opposite with regards to a closed station rarely opens up again. The message sent to the citizens becomes much clearer when a firehouse is closed and the taxpayers may actually wake up and realize that such decisions actually DO have an impact. Whereas running short on a rig the avg taxpayer has no clue that there were cuts, they still see the trucks responding and can have a false sense of everything is all hunky dory.

    The other thing is that the staffing on a rig impacts FF safety as well.
    The thoughts and opinions posted here are mine and mine alone and do not reflect the thoughts and or views of city or dept affiliation.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by GTRider245 View Post
    These threads always make me laugh. Some people don't realize that there are actualy departments in the country who run with two on an engine as normal staffing.I work for one of these dapartments, and we run a 14 engine company department with 2 guys on each engine and truck. The tactics we use reflect manpower we have available.

    The reason why you see those 1 man companies in some departments is becuase it only takes 1 man to handle the run of the mill calls we get everyday which are medical.

    Is it right? Probably not. Does it work for the department who knows what they have to work with and bases thier strategies and tactics off available manpower? Probably so.
    Yes, our departments around here run two on a rig. I have actually arrived on scene in the first truck with just two of us and started attack operations, obviously nothing interior. You also know that more guys are on their way, and in some cases the fire is out by the time the rest of the trucks arrive. Situation dependent for sure. If you arrive and have a couch on fire just inside the door hit it.

    There are places in this country where the population or need for fire services has decreased. There are fewer people, industry has left town. The population has moved to a different area, etc. The FD needs to be just as fluid in its movements. Again this is all highly dependent on the city and its current staffing and distribution of stations. Might be that the not so busy station could be manned with 2 guys and 1 rig. And when they need arises they call in more folks.

  18. #18
    Forum Member CaptOldTimer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MemphisE34a View Post
    IMO, companies staffed with 4 or more are better and safer than piecing manpower together in by 1, 2, or 3 man companies - especially when you are talking about minmal staffing of 1 or 2.

    I know of a couple of departments that staff 4 different fire stations with 1 person. I would rather have one engine company staffed with 4 - same with 3 man companies. I would rather have fewer companies in total with more staffing.




    I agree with what E34 said and also, why endanger yourself and the other members of the company but not having the minimum of 4 on each rig?


    Department should never run less than 4, better yet 5 members on any engine, truck or rescue ride.


    You are cheating yourself, your company and the citizens of the city, town, or burg in which you serve!

    Also notify the local print and television media folks so they can get this message across the paper and airwaves.

    If you have to shut down the engine house for a day, put a nice well written computer generated notice on the front door, indicating that due to budget restraints that this fire company or engine house is closed to the time given.

    Should you need emergency assistance call 9-1-1 and wit for the closest company that is available to respond to your assistance.
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    Option three: take the money out of the social services budget .....

    Thanks for all the replies .. it has made me think about a situation i hadn't given enough thought to.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScareCrow57 View Post
    There are places in this country where the population or need for fire services has decreased. There are fewer people, industry has left town. The population has moved to a different area, etc. The FD needs to be just as fluid in its movements. Again this is all highly dependent on the city and its current staffing and distribution of stations. Might be that the not so busy station could be manned with 2 guys and 1 rig. And when they need arises they call in more folks.

    If the city does that they can give me a rebate on my taxes. In most of the cities that fit your description the "not so busy station" is usually the more affluent areas. So why are we going to be offering less services to the a neighborhood with high value property and the neighborhood shelling out a large amount of cash in taxes.

    This is putting aside the facts that you and other people trying to run staffing like the cashiers at Macy's can't wrap your head around. Since we can't say when the fire will happen, we only knows that it will and fires happen in EVERY neighborhood we need adequate resources spread over the entire coverage area to handle a fire. Unless you want to tell someone that the reason their possessions are destroyed and maybe even their dog/cat/son/daughter/wife/husband died despite the large amount they pay the city for fire protection is that their neighborhood only has a fire a couple times a year so you deemed the area not worthy of a fully staffed engine. You aren't important enough to the city since the fire that destroyed your house since that was the only fire on your street this year. Sorry.

    Thats why FD's can't be run like a for profit business.

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