Hello Guys and Gals,
In today's day and age our nations fire departments career, paid on call and volunteer are drastically under staffed due to budget cuts, economy and political views. Day in day out we operate at these under staffed levels and continue to get the job done at the risk we get hurt, disfigured and even worse of killed. When is enough? enough! What can we do to increase our staffing on the career side to minimally staff our front line apparatus for safe and effective operations? Being a junior member of a 32 man department, in order to enact change's in my department you have to get the membership on board and then make it the Chief's idea. So I'm trying to get my ducks in a row. I have a few questions that I'm looking for feed back on.
First some back ground:
Large North East Shoreline town about 48 square miles and a population of 21,000, with increase during summer months.
Fire department- Combination-paramedic service. 32 man career side about 15-30 Volunteers on the books. Slowly decreasing to the point of no response on some calls.
We run 24/72, 4 Division's with 8 men, 7FF and a Captain, We staff a paramedic ambulance, 3 man Heavy Rescue (Captain on Board), 2 Man Engine company, and a 1 man Quint/Tower Ladder.
The career Staff is also responsible for 3000 Gal Tanker, Hazmat trailer/Gross Decon trailer/Prime mover, Dive rescue truck, Brush truck, Spare/Extra/Specialty Rescue.
Volunteer side 3 class A pumpers, 3 Back up ambulance's, Air and light unit and another 3000 Gal tanker.
Our operations and tactics will be a another book worth and I don't want to bore or scare you. We run roughly 4000 Calls per year, about 10-15 Structure Fires a year, this includes mutual aid and RIT team response's.
We were granted a SAFER Grant 2 years ago, 3 years remaining, which allowed us to go from 6 man shifts to 8 man shifts.
My idea is going from 24/72 to 24/48. I know there would be opposition going from a 42 hr week to a 56 hr week.
My question is:
Would it make sense to change from 24/72 to 24/48, consolidation of 4 shifts into 3 shifts?
-During contract negotiations ask for something in return?
-Hire 4 additional FF/Medic to bring staffing to 12?
-What is the pro's and con's of this move?
-Will OT or Sick time increase?
This would give us:
Deputy or Shift Commander in a car (New spot)
3 Man Engine
3 Man Tower Ladder
3 Man Heavy Rescue
2 Man Medic Unit
And in the process create 2 Lieutenant's
This seems safer and would make day to day logistics more operable. In my head this makes sense and to others It may not. That is why I pose this question to the Firehouse World!
Thank you and Be SAFE!