1. #1
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    Mar 2010

    Arrow Optimal Staffing Level

    What is the optimal level of firefighters (staff) to square miles? Is there such a thing? Any source(s) to support your response?

    I greatly appreciate any assistance!

  2. #2
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    DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    Aug 2000
    Somewhere between genius and insanity!


    ISO has a formula for fire statiojn location for maximum credit.
    NFPA 1710 and 1720 covers proper staffing levels per company.
    ‎"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

  3. #3
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    PaladinKnight's Avatar
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    Aug 2006


    NFPA1710 (NUTSHELL) states: Engine Company (w 4 firefighters) responds in 4 minutes 90% of the time. This is only initial response and does not include any additional resources, Ladder, 2nd Engine, RIT, etc.

    ISO: An Engine Company (4 Firefighters) within 1 1/2 road miles of all structures, essentially a 4 minute response time.

    Staffing levels and Station Locations is usually based upon budgets since building stations within 1 1/2 miles of every structure and putting 4 firefighters there 24/7/365 would be a very expensive situation. Most of the time, the biggest bang for the buck is adopted; high value locations, or highest population served. This became increasingly difficult as many cities and towns continued to expand into the 'burbs' during the 1980s to 2000s.

    As CaptainGonzo has advised, reference NFPA 1710 for full-time departments, NFPA 1720 for volunteer departments, and ISO for Maximum Point Credit for Public Protection Classification.

    Keep in mind that NFPA is a Standard and not the LAW.
    ISO awards points for the purpose of rating Fire Suppression capabilities as it relates to Insurance Premium Rates.
    HAVE PLAN.............WILL TRAVEL

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