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    Lightbulb SUVs for EMS calls:

    Aug. 16, 2011:

    This started as an 'experiment' 4 months ago, however has worked-out so well, that a second unit is already being considered. Keep in mind, that AFR does NOT 'transport'.

    This came at no 'extra' cost to the citizens, as a 'spare' Suburban is being used, and staffing was accomplished by using 2 F/F's per shift from one of the '4-man eng. Co's.'

    Fuel costs are part of the study, which is expected to last 90 to 180 days. The larger trucks, which run on diesel, get 3.6 miles per gallon, compared with 10 to 12 mpg for the gasoline-powered Chevrolet Suburban used by the squad, Kassen said.

    During the first 25 days of the study, the squad had responded to an average of 7.1 calls a day. Over the course of a year, that would be almost 2,600 calls. Based on current fuel prices and the call volume, the squad format could save $4,600 a year just at Station 2, Kassen said.

    Maintenance on the Suburban costs less than on a firetruck. For example, a set of tires for the SUV might cost $600, compared with $2,000 for the firetruck, Kassen said. "We're just looking for ways to save money, like everybody else in this day and time," Kassen said.
    more here -> http://www.ems1.com/ems-products/amb...-for-EMS-calls

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    While it is "saving money" on fuel costs for medicals... what about alarm responses?

    Assuming the 2 firefighters are taken from 4 man engine companies, that means that 2 companies are short 1 person... who could be on an attack line, taking a hydrant, etc.

    It has been proven that a 4 man company is more efficient than a 3 man company in getting water on a fire, so how much more damages are a result of having 2 on a "squad"? More fire damage, higher insurance costs, the taxpayer gets bonked more for that than the cost of fuel.
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    Seems like a reasonable way to operate given that more likely than not, you are running far more EMS than fire, which does make EMS your primary mission.

    In our department we run a squad to EMS calls often leaving the engine unmanned at the station. Either the squad will return to Central for the engine, respond to the closest satillte station to the fire or have a volunteer pickup the engine at Central.
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    We've been there done that. Not doing that any more.

    It takes the firefighter off the fire apparatus and put them on a vehicle for EMS calls and does nothing to help the fire side of the job. Usually the guys on the EMS vehicle don't take their turnout gear, they are on a EMS run with a non firefighting vehicle.


    There is a lot of wear and tear on these type of vehicles, Brakes, transmissions are the biggest culprits. Tires wear fast as well, plus the fuel use goes up.


    Department are much better off using regular fire apparatus for all calls. This way once your company has cleared an EMS call you can take a fire call in right away if one should comes in and usually they do.


    In real time years back:

    You take the members from a company put in a EMS type vehicle, Suburban or such, and off they go on a medical call. On to way of returning back to quarters, a Fire comes in their first in territory and they have nothing but a medical kit to go into action. Maybe the engine that they were assigned in now out of service due to less than normal manpower. Another engine from another house traveling several miles has to make the run.

    Let's go further on this, Your department has several of these EMS Suburban's and as usual more EMS calls are in progress than fire calls. An area is depleted of fire apparatus, because the companies are operating with their EMS vehicle and a large two and a half story balloon type structure comes in as being on fire. All the EMS vehicles have nothing to fight the fire.

    They all either, 1 respond and look at what it happening, 2. return back to quarters, mark up the fire apparatus for service and let the fire communications dispatch them, or 3. just forget there is a fire and go elsewhere.

    BTW someone in Memphis had this pipe dream as well.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptOldTimer View Post
    We've been there done that. Not doing that any more.

    It takes the firefighter off the fire apparatus and put them on a vehicle for EMS calls and does nothing to help the fire side of the job. Usually the guys on the EMS vehicle don't take their turnout gear, they are on a EMS run with a non firefighting vehicle.


    There is a lot of wear and tear on these type of vehicles, Brakes, transmissions are the biggest culprits. Tires wear fast as well, plus the fuel use goes up.


    Department are much better off using regular fire apparatus for all calls. This way once your company has cleared an EMS call you can take a fire call in right away if one should comes in and usually they do.



    In real time years back:

    You take the members from a company put in a EMS type vehicle, Suburban or such, and off they go on a medical call. On to way of returning back to quarters, a Fire comes in their first in territory and they have nothing but a medical kit to go into action. Maybe the engine that they were assigned in now out of service due to less than normal manpower. Another engine from another house traveling several miles has to make the run.

    Let's go further on this, Your department has several of these EMS Suburban's and as usual more EMS calls are in progress than fire calls. An area is depleted of fire apparatus, because the companies are operating with their EMS vehicle and a large two and a half story balloon type structure comes in as being on fire. All the EMS vehicles have nothing to fight the fire.

    They all either, 1 respond and look at what it happening, 2. return back to quarters, mark up the fire apparatus for service and let the fire communications dispatch them, or 3. just forget there is a fire and go elsewhere.

    BTW someone in Memphis had this pipe dream as well.
    I guess it depends on the area as most of the fire districts in this area respond with 1-2 firefighters in a sprint type vehicle, either an SUV or F350/450 chassis squad, leaving 1 member at the station to drive the engine should a fire come in.

    All of the sprint vehicles have SCBA and an extinguisher, and the members take thier gear. They can respond direct and perform size-up until the engine arrives, or if's a small fire, they can utilize the extinguishers.

    We use that type of system, and have for many years, and it works very well for us. Of course, we have the luxury of a strong volunteer response that will get 2-3engines and a tanker up, even during the day.

    Given the number of fires we run v. EMS calls, the mimum manning of the engine is not an issue for us. Utilizing the squad allows us to respond to our meat-and-potatoes calls > EMS, much quicker than with an engine and with much less wear and tear on the more costly apparatus.

    The City of Shreveport operates 2-3 sprint vehicles to relieve the pressure on the engines by pulling personnel off the ladder or rescue companies. If a fire call comes in, I beleive a supplemental ladder is dispatched and the crew on the sprint clears the EMS call as soon as possible and then responds to the fire.

    As far as wear and tear, we have found it much cheaper to maintain and replace a F350/450 than a custom engine or rescue (which was our primary EMS response vehicle up until about 4 years ago). That is part of the reason why SFD has also adopted the sprint car concept, and from what I understand, they are also seeing significant maintainence benefits.
    Last edited by LaFireEducator; 08-16-2011 at 02:49 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyChiefGonzo View Post
    While it is "saving money" on fuel costs for medicals... what about alarm responses?

    Assuming the 2 firefighters are taken from 4 man engine companies, that means that 2 companies are short 1 person... who could be on an attack line, taking a hydrant, etc.

    It has been proven that a 4 man company is more efficient than a 3 man company in getting water on a fire, so how much more damages are a result of having 2 on a "squad"? More fire damage, higher insurance costs, the taxpayer gets bonked more for that than the cost of fuel.
    1. The Eng. Co's that the 2 F/F's were taken from, respond WITH an eng. and quint, so there are plenty of personnel on scene.
    2. The taxpayer is not getting "bonked" for anything, but is realizing the SAVINGS
    3. when an eng. responds to a "sickie-call", it is technically OUT OF SERVICE for a fire run, but with this concept, it is still IN SERVICE.
    4. the squad personnel carry their "gear" in the Suburban, and are able to respond to a fire run with eng. 2, but if on a medic run, as soon as the 'private' EMS arrives to transport.

    If you have ANY questions, you might want to contact:
    Asst. Chief Alan Kassen - 817-459-5500

    They are receiving inquires from all over the country on a daily basis, on how to set up a similar system for their departments.

    This may not be (or workout) for every dept., but it is here...

    I guess some people will find fault with nearly everything...unless of course it is 'their' idea...
    Last edited by 1OLDTIMER; 08-16-2011 at 01:48 PM. Reason: add contact info.
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    Sounds like one key to making this system work is to have the ff's bring their turnouts with them. Ditto for outfitting the "squad" with SCBA, and basic hand tools- so the ff's can be ready to go to work when they respond to that second call.

    My volunteer dept has an f-450 we bought for this purpose. We had a Johnny and Roy style cmpt body installed, and it carries our primary ems gear, backboards, stokes, extinguishers, a toolbox, gas powered generator, lights, etc. Also carries a Hurst combi tool, gas power unit, and a milk crate full of cribbing. A rack with 6 spare air bottles, and a stack of traffic cones is in the bed.

    We got the supercab ( or whatever Ford calls the extended third door cab) and had the rear seats removed, and replaced with 2 back to back SCBA brackets in the middle, and a custom console with the radios, sirens etc and chargers for 2 handlights and 2 portable radios. ( we have to carry both high and low band radios, as we are right at the junction of 3 counties) A set of irons is mounted on the floor behind the console, and a hand tool is mounted to the inside back wall on both sides. The area inside the third doors is left for turnouts.

    This unit is our primary ems vehicle- we do not transport either. It is also an off road light rescue, and a utility truck. We've gotten a ton of use out of it, and if we get toned out for a fire or mva while returning, the crew has the tools to go right to work.

    Other vehicles could be retrofitted for some of this use. For example, you could add 2 SCBA, a "can", a 20# dry chem; some irons, etc along with the required ems gear to an older chief's buggy instead of trading it in. An SOP stating that members responding on this vehicle bring their turnouts with them helps too.

    I honestly don't see WHY anyone wouldn't bring their gear with... We all know the "big one" is going to come in when we are out of position, lol. You look pretty stupid responding lights and sirens to the firehouse to pick up your gear...

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1OLDTIMER View Post
    1. The Eng. Co's that the 2 F/F's were taken from, respond WITH an eng. and quint, so there are plenty of personnel on scene.
    While I wont even try and find fault with what you guys are doing to save wear and tear on the engines, I do find this (above) statement somewhat perplexing. Couldn't someone state that if they're already responding with "plenty of personnel" you could save money by reducing firefighting strength and adding EMS only responders at a cheaper wage? I always fear any statement that says any reduction in reponding personnel or even status-quo in most cases, is "good enough" or acceptable. Fact is few, if not most of us run with enough personnel to effectively reduce risks to ourselves and the civilians we protect. We get the job done, no matter what, but in the safest most effective manner?

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    Quote Originally Posted by RFDACM02 View Post
    Couldn't someone state that if they're already responding with "plenty of personnel" you could save money by reducing firefighting strength and adding EMS only responders at a cheaper wage ?
    Arlington and Fort Worth FR (as examples), do NOT 'transport'! Responce to the need for medical assistance (on the East), is done by Squad 2 in Arlington (until a second squad in put in service for the West). Presently, any med calls outside of two's district is still done with and eng. Co. from one of the other 15 stations along with AMR. I am not positive how F/W handles it, but all transport is done by either AMR or MedStar in both metro areas. F/F strength is not reduced, and the high overhead of running an ambulance...plus 'collecting' for service, is handed-off to the 'professional' (for profit) privates, and I am pretty sure their wages are not what a F/F receives.

    Again, if y'all have ANY questions on this, don't hesitate to call;
    AFR Asst. Chief Alan Kassen - 817-459-5500, as I am positive he (or one of his dep. chiefs) would be more than happy to explain the whole program in detail.
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    I'm Good. BACKUP ONLY to EMS calls. No chase cars here,ANY Med call gets a bus(private). T.C.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1OLDTIMER View Post
    Again, if y'all have ANY questions on this, don't hesitate to call;
    AFR Asst. Chief Alan Kassen - 817-459-5500, as I am positive he (or one of his dep. chiefs) would be more than happy to explain the whole program in detail.
    Hey look, don't go posting something and then get all defensive when people try and understand or question the logic. I stick to my statement that you cannot reduce the number of personnel on any apparatus for a single minute and say that it doesn't have an adverse affect. If you truly don't need that person, then you shouldn't have had them in the first place.

    Now, if you were to say that given what the taxpayers give us, this provides the most advantageous response to our incident types and volume, I'd agree completely. But don't tell me an engine might respond with two less personnel and it doesn't change the fireground tasks.

    Ultimately, I'm not at all interested in how who ever these FD's are do it, so I have no need to question someone who probably has a good handle on their system, but you opened the door with the first post, I guess you were expecting everyone to sing the praises of this great forward thinking?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rescue101 View Post
    I'm Good. BACKUP ONLY to EMS calls. No chase cars here,ANY Med call gets a bus(private). T.C.
    Doesn't that create far more wear and tear on the apparatus? I know ours don't like to respond in reverse for very far, so backing up to all EMS calls would be counter productive!

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    Quote Originally Posted by RFDACM02 View Post
    But don't tell me an engine might respond with two less personnel and it doesn't change the fireground tasks.

    I guess you were expecting everyone to sing the praises of this great forward thinking?
    1. Didn't say that. Two F/F were taken off of TWO SEPARATE ENG. CO's [different locations], and both of those respond on a fire run WITH A QUINT. No change in fire ground tasks.

    2. "Fireground tasks"? I know of a couple of paid departments that have been running 'combo-companies' with ONLY three (3) F/F's forever. They get an EMS call, and all three ride the ambulance, (leaving the Eng. at quarters) sometime transporting 10 miles away, getting back in-service with an average of 60 mins. If a fire call comes in for their district...they 'cover' with M/A from a vol. dept, who many times are lucky to turn 2 F/F's, and must make the run from miles away. NO immediate 'fireground tasks'. there.

    Another paid dept. is having major staffing issues (due to lack of funds), that completely close stations for a day or so. They too rely on M/A from outside vol. depts, sometimes having to call several to get a crew to show up. Again, NO immediate 'fireground tasks'.

    Staffing is an excellent idea for classroom discussion, but in the REAL world (today), unless it is a major metro dept. with big bucks, many depts. are lacking even minimum staffing, doing the best they can with the money available.

    3. NO, not expecting anyone to "sing praises," but I thought this thread was for 'INNOVATION"...obviously by some, not.

    Apparently we will have to agree to disagree.
    Last edited by 1OLDTIMER; 08-18-2011 at 12:28 AM. Reason: additional info:
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    So a two man engine gets to drop down to 2? Awesome. Besides, this isn't even "new", Syracuse, NY has been doing it for years, but they use a pick up.

    The only way I would be on board with this as a resident and as a fireman, would be to take a L.A. style or Rochester style approach to it. If you want to have an "EMS" vehicle make it have its own staff like the L.A. squads, or the 2 man midis that Rochester, NY uses/used. You still get the alleged fuel/maintence savings while keeping your suppression companies at full or close to full staffing(although Rochester's method left 4 man quints without their midis, but still its a lot better than a 2 man engine).
    Last edited by nameless; 08-17-2011 at 11:39 PM.

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    [QUOTE=nameless;1289628]So a two man engine gets to drop down to 2? QUOTE]

    I guess I was not clear on this. Two F/F's ( ONE FROM EACH CO.) were taken off of SEPARATE 4-man eng. Co's., reducing each of those engs. to 3 instead of 4. However, those run with a quint on every fire call.

    Sorry for the misunstanding...
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    [QUOTE=1OLDTIMER;1289645]
    Quote Originally Posted by nameless View Post
    So a two man engine gets to drop down to 2? QUOTE]

    I guess I was not clear on this. Two F/F's ( ONE FROM EACH CO.) were taken off of SEPARATE 4-man eng. Co's., reducing each of those engs. to 3 instead of 4. However, those run with a quint on every fire call.

    Sorry for the misunstanding...
    Hey look, I do agree that it is an innovative approach to solve an issue and I find no fault with it whatsoever. It would be great if we could get everything we want, but we know that sometimes we need to adjust to meet the needs of the day within the parameters our taxpayers set for us. So when it comes to questioning why this is done, I trust that those running the FD's know far more about their situation than us. You last two post do better clarify the adopted concept.

    Again, I was merely commenting that it seems far too commonplace for our own ilk to say someone has been re-tasked to EMS or firefighters have been cut but public safety remains unaffected. Any loss of personnel has to have a negative affect, as their tasks must either be picked up by the rest of the personnel or are reassigned in the order of priority. There's no way you can do as much as efficiently with 14 guys vs 16. Riding a Quint or any apparatus with 3 vs. 4 reduces the company's effectiveness by 25%. This still may be the best thing for the City overall , just not necessarily for those who end up on that fireground with one or two less firefighters than if no EMS run had taken place.

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    If you have a four man company, be it an Engine, Wagon, Quint, Truck, Squad, or Quad, whatever the terminology is in your department and you cut two members out and put them on a EMS fast response vehicle to render to a victim somewhere in the district or catching a call in someone's else's district, then the company for all intents and purposes is out of service.

    Our department doesn't not run with less than 4 on any piece of fire apparatus. So when we did run a EMS type vehicle, the company was out of service in quarters.


    You also mention the term Taxpayer. Hey Pal, I am a taxpayer too and I expect to see the apparatus arrive at my house or next door with a full crew and not with a half of one.
    Last edited by CaptOldTimer; 08-18-2011 at 08:05 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RFDACM02 View Post
    Doesn't that create far more wear and tear on the apparatus? I know ours don't like to respond in reverse for very far, so backing up to all EMS calls would be counter productive!
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    Well intersting (yes i am old) prior to Johnny & Roy we used Suburbans and International travelalls with 8 inch raised roofs for EMS and we could carry four stretchers. MCI was a movie company back in the late 60s & early 70s.

    Our first new one was $17,000.00 and the editor of our paper said it cost more than his house.



    Quote Originally Posted by 1OLDTIMER View Post
    Aug. 16, 2011:

    This started as an 'experiment' 4 months ago, however has worked-out so well, that a second unit is already being considered. Keep in mind, that AFR does NOT 'transport'.

    This came at no 'extra' cost to the citizens, as a 'spare' Suburban is being used, and staffing was accomplished by using 2 F/F's per shift from one of the '4-man eng. Co's.'



    more here -> http://www.ems1.com/ems-products/amb...-for-EMS-calls

    "Folks that come up with brilliant ideas today...need to be commended"

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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptOldTimer View Post
    If you have a four man company, be it an Engine, Wagon, Quint, Truck, Squad, or Quad, whatever the terminology is in your department and you cut two members out and put them on a EMS fast response vehicle to render to a victim somewhere in the district or catching a call in someone's else's district, then the company for all intents and purposes is out of service.
    EXACTLY Capt., but I don't know WHAT you have ref. to ? AFR DOES NOT "CUT" two (2) members off of ANYTHING. As stated previously, 'the two' (2) that run on the EMS Suburban, are NOT OFF OF THE SAME ENG., but ONE EACH from 'different' (4-man) engines, 'different' stations. Those stations run with a quint on a FIRE call, so you are only talking about minus one (1) person on a fire run. If seven (7) F/F's cannot make an initial attack (with more on the way), then there deffinately is a serious problem.

    Also, the 2 F/F's on 'the squad', have there (fire) PPE with them, therefore are able to respond (to a fire) as soon as the 'transport' paramedics arrive. NO ENG's are 'out-of-service', but before the squad concept, when an ENG responded on a EMS call, technically that ENG. was out-of-service for a fire run.

    Obviously there is some 'confusion' on this basic/simple issue, and there is no point of debating it. All I KNOW is...this is 'working' VERY nicely for AFR, and another squad will soon be in-service for another (high EMS) call area, saving fuel, tires and wear 'n tear on a $400k eng. with a $50k 'spare' suv.
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    who is the "those take the quint people?" Engine 1, Engine 2, or Squad 1? Too many subjects and too liberal with the pronouns.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1OLDTIMER View Post
    EXACTLY Capt., but I don't know WHAT you have ref. to ? AFR DOES NOT "CUT" two (2) members off of ANYTHING. As stated previously, 'the two' (2) that run on the EMS Suburban, are NOT OFF OF THE SAME ENG., but ONE EACH from 'different' (4-man) engines, 'different' stations. Those stations run with a quint on a FIRE call, so you are only talking about minus one (1) person on a fire run. If seven (7) F/F's cannot make an initial attack (with more on the way), then there deffinately is a serious problem.

    Also, the 2 F/F's on 'the squad', have there (fire) PPE with them, therefore are able to respond (to a fire) as soon as the 'transport' paramedics arrive. NO ENG's are 'out-of-service', but before the squad concept, when an ENG responded on a EMS call, technically that ENG. was out-of-service for a fire run.

    Obviously there is some 'confusion' on this basic/simple issue, and there is no point of debating it. All I KNOW is...this is 'working' VERY nicely for AFR, and another squad will soon be in-service for another (high EMS) call area, saving fuel, tires and wear 'n tear on a $400k eng. with a $50k 'spare' suv.
    Duplicate post. See below.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1OLDTIMER View Post
    EXACTLY Capt., but I don't know WHAT you have ref. to ? AFR DOES NOT "CUT" two (2) members off of ANYTHING. As stated previously, 'the two' (2) that run on the EMS Suburban, are NOT OFF OF THE SAME ENG., but ONE EACH from 'different' (4-man) engines, 'different' stations. Those stations run with a quint on a FIRE call, so you are only talking about minus one (1) person on a fire run. If seven (7) F/F's cannot make an initial attack (with more on the way), then there deffinately is a serious problem.

    Also, the 2 F/F's on 'the squad', have there (fire) PPE with them, therefore are able to respond (to a fire) as soon as the 'transport' paramedics arrive. NO ENG's are 'out-of-service', but before the squad concept, when an ENG responded on a EMS call, technically that ENG. was out-of-service for a fire run.

    Obviously there is some 'confusion' on this basic/simple issue, and there is no point of debating it. All I KNOW is...this is 'working' VERY nicely for AFR, and another squad will soon be in-service for another (high EMS) call area, saving fuel, tires and wear 'n tear on a $400k eng. with a $50k 'spare' suv.
    Sounds like it's a good system that works for you.

    In our case EMS is 84% of what we do and people expect a rapid EMS response. In fact, EMS, not fire response, as it's fairly infrequent, has given us the visibility to allow us to have the resources that we have. EMS here is as , if not more important, than fire response.

    Even when we are tied up on (an) EMS call(s), we still get supression vehicles up either through administrative staff and volunteers left at Central Station or volunteers responding to the satelliete stations.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nameless View Post
    who is the "those take the quint people?" Engine 1, Engine 2, or Squad 1? Too many subjects and too liberal with the pronouns.
    Sorry nameless, but I have NO IDEA whatsoever WHAT you are refering to ? Is that what I said somewhere ?

    Please be more specific...remember I am 'old' and a little 'slow' sometimes
    "we will bankrupt ourselves in the vain attempt at absolute security"
    Pres. / General Dwight D. Eisenhower

  25. #25
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    The problem is you are dropping two 4 man companies to 2 3 man companies if i am understanding you correctly. NIST did a study not to long ago (i will have to find it if you would like) that showed a significant increase in a the effectiveness of a 4 man company over a 3 man company. They further found that the difference between a 2 man company and a 3 man company was less then a 3-4. They also found the samething with the difference between 4-5 man companies.

    I know in my area running with a 3 man company would severally hamper our operations. project lays would be delayed getting streatched. The first in company would not have a water supply ESTABLISHED initally. The work load per man would be increased, a significant issue for busy companies. More pounds of gear that needs to be carried to upper floors of buildings. More demand on members when streatching long attack line lays or when streatching a 2 1/2 for offensive operations. Interior fire attack would be delayed on unoccupied structures due to 2in/2out. Which could cause greater exposure issues.

    we currently run a system that each quint company has a quint and Engine or FRV (basically a engine with a 500 GPM pump). For EMS calls the company (4 Men) take the enigne/FRV. Leaving the quint OOS in the station. This presents several issues with in the system. When a fire comes in and a company company shows up on an engine/FRV. The normal company that takes the FDC shows up on a FRV what company is assigned the to take the FDC, you can't take an FDC with a 500 GPM pump. Secoundly what company is going to perform as the truck company (2nd due per policy), If they show up in an engine/FRV what tools do they use to perform truck work?

    In many systems this would not be as regular issue. However in our case being in an urban environment with significant EMS and Fire problems it is. Now prior to my being on the department when captoldtimer was on, I believe they tried running an SUV type vehical to EMS calls. As he said it did not work out as well in real life as it did on paper.

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