1. #1
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    Default How do you respond to calls?

    Being a volunteer fire department, do you have stand-by crews at the station, or is everyone coming in from around town or at home?

    With my FD, no one has to stay at the FD if they don't want to. However, this also means that at night, it can be a little harder to get a full crew out of the door, as people would rather sleep than get up and get ready.

    With me, when the first night call comes, the only time I wouldn't respond is if I had a final the next day or had work early in the morning, then maybe not. Only if they needed the manpower or if it was a serious call, or the alarm got reactivated and tones dropped again for not enough manpower.

    Other than that, living across the street from the FD would mean responding would take about maybe a 10-30 second drive, so I would make as many calls as I could to help out. Plus if you stay at the FD and clock in, then it would be considered as probie training for hours, which would help my busy schedule.

    So, how does your FD handle calls?
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    Our station does not have any sort of sleeping quarters so everyone responds from home. That is how most of the departments in my area do it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RyanEMVFD View Post
    Our station does not have any sort of sleeping quarters so everyone responds from home. That is how most of the departments in my area do it.
    Same with the sleeping arrangements, but we do have a rest room with several couches. Some members who are friends often use the rec room as a meet-place to play cards, etc... A bunch of the senior members are all amateur radio operators, so they hold a little group meeting once a week there, using a HF antenna they put on the roof. One time it interfered with the tones system and called out tones for the entire FD along with keying up the siren. The siren got stuck in a loop from the antenna sending out RF, and had to kill the power to stop it from keep going.

    Then again, our fire district is so small (5 square miles), it usually doesn't take a full crew too long, only on nights I've heard it can take a bit. But that is expected.
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    Daytime is usually home response, perhaps one or two members in quarters. We have overnight duty crews three nights of the week (we have 8 individual bunk rooms), rest of the time is home response. Within the next month, we'll have 5 nights a week covered by crews.
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    We have a little of both. We are fortunate to have several live in members who take care of getting the first piece, and often times a second piece out the door. We go to a lot of trouble to make sure that there is an squad (heavy rescue) driver in over-night as many nights as possible.

    We also have duty crews for evening (19:00-22:00) and enough shift workers that we can staff the equipment during the day.

    It takes good communication, but if we see that we are thin on people, we try to call or text people to let them know that we need home response, or people to come hang out for a while. It doesn't always work, but it does most times.

    We ran about 2300 calls last year, combined ambulance, fire and rescue.

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    For those that do not have duty crews, do you use the siren after acceptable hours to signal a call? One time we had 3 alarms and the time is 2200 to 0500 when we can't call the overhead sirens. However we did and got the rest of the manpower needed.

    So do you even use the overhead sirens?
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    We haven't had a house siren for at least 6 years, if not more than that. When we did have it, it would only sound for fire calls (not EMS runs) between 0700 and 2100. We cover 72 square miles with members spread throughout that area, so very few members even got the benefit of the siren anyway.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    We haven't had a house siren for at least 6 years, if not more than that. When we did have it, it would only sound for fire calls (not EMS runs) between 0700 and 2100. We cover 72 square miles with members spread throughout that area, so very few members even got the benefit of the siren anyway.
    Interesting. How many members and companies do you have? My FD only covers 5 square miles, but it is very jampacked. There is one on the HQ, one standing on a pole by the large public park, and one across town at the sub station. If there is a call, everyone in town knows about it. Some dont mind, especially due to the silenced alarms at night.
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    1.5 sq mile area...vol department....2 stations....no EMS.....about 250 calls per year.

    No sleeping the firehouse unless it's a storm related standby. All response from home to station except Chief officers. No, sitting at the firehouse hanging around does not count toward probie hours...you have be there doing training and there has to be supervision.

    House siren sounds for all calls from 7am to 11pm. From 11pm to 7am, it sounds for certain types of calls.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    1.5 sq mile area...vol department....2 stations....no EMS.....about 250 calls per year.

    No sleeping the firehouse unless it's a storm related standby. All response from home to station except Chief officers. No, sitting at the firehouse hanging around does not count toward probie hours...you have be there doing training and there has to be supervision.

    House siren sounds for all calls from 7am to 11pm. From 11pm to 7am, it sounds for certain types of calls.
    Basically the same stats for my FD. No EMS for them. Just a ton of false alarms and MVA. The district covers a lot of hills and large county roads. The town over also requests a lot of mutual aid for structure fires, but rarely is my FD actually used that much, often its more for the extra apparatus because the other FD didn't have an extra driver for enough engines on scene.
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    No duty crews. Firefighters are notified of calls by pager.

    I have to agree with Bones, just being at the firehouse would not count in my book towards your probie hours. You aen't learning anything about the job sitting there doing your homework or watching tv or even sleeping. You must be engaged in some fire department related activity or training for that time to count.

    I have to ask you a question though. Why if you live a across the street from the firehouse would you drive to the station?
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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    No duty crews. Firefighters are notified of calls by pager.

    I have to agree with Bones, just being at the firehouse would not count in my book towards your probie hours. You aen't learning anything about the job sitting there doing your homework or watching tv or even sleeping. You must be engaged in some fire department related activity or training for that time to count.

    I have to ask you a question though. Why if you live a across the street from the firehouse would you drive to the station?
    Should rephrase that just being at the house, no. But usually there is someone there who is willing to teach. Just sitting there, no. For example, they would show me where each tool goes, then take them out, and see if I can put them back in the correct spot.
    If I'm sitting down, it better be to read the books or tie someones shoe for them.

    And I would drive as the firehouse is across the street, but it is a busy street and the entrance is on the other side of the firehouse. It would be about a 20-30 second drive, but it would take too long considering thr intersection has 5 roads come together, so waiting to walk wouldnt be worth it.
    Keep my mouth shut and ears open.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnFeinberg View Post
    Interesting. How many members and companies do you have?
    We're a rural county. My department has only one station, there are a total of five in the county (272 square miles). My department will do about 700 runs this year, with 50% of those being EMS. We have about 55 members.

    Bones, 2 stations for 1.5 miles? Also, are the members allowed to stay at the station if they want during non-storm times?
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    One station, rural, 37 square miles first-due, between 100 and 150 calls per year, or about two or three a week, about half EMS. Even if we had the facilities, it's unlikely anyone would hang around that station that much. Sometimes it can be ten days or more between calls, which, as we all know, come in groups.

    We use pagers, text (via cell phone), and a siren for all fire-related calls (fire, MVA, hazardous conditions like CO, wires down, etc). Siren doesn't go on EMS or non-emergent calls, like pump details.
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    No sleeping quarters in our station, so we all respond from where ever we are at the time. We all carry pagers and also receive text from Comm Center. We are a small rural department in NW Iowa and are somewhat of a bed and breakfast community. Most members of our community drive into the near by city for jobs, thus our daytime response with a full crew is difficult. We have sirens for storm warnings but do not use them for calls.

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    I'll add in our stats. We are a small volunteer department that has one station that covers 46 square miles. Last year we ran 163 calls. Most of those were medical calls but we really didn't start responding to medical calls until October. We have a major interstate running through our area which is under construction to expand it. Currently we have 13 firefighters on our roster.
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    We respond from home to the station for all calls, no sleeping quarters at the station either. We cover 62 square miles of mostly rural farmland and we only average 80 calls per year so there is really no point to having staffing at the staion. We are alerted by voice pager and there is also a fire whistle in town that gets used during the day.

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    Interesting stats.

    What are your average call-to-leave times, ie...getting tones dropped, arriving, getting gear on, getting on apparatus, leaving?
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    Heads up this guy is not on any fire dept. and after all of the crap that he has talked about the Mt Sinai Fire Dept. NY.

    Example: Ha! My neighbor (ex-captain) told me stories about someone getting caught in the act on the sofa in the break room. They preceded to tell them member to drag the couch outside into the parking lot, douse it in gasoline, then run 1 lap around the firehouse, put on turnout gear and SCBA, put it out. He didn't.Then, he found the couch in the trunk of his car with a note on it: Keep it.


    He never will be, if I had to guess.
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    Oh and by he own admission in the other thread that he started, he doesn't even own a car, so if he is not going to walk across the road which he states is very dangerous then I guess he will have to flap his arms and fly!

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnFeinberg View Post
    The only problem I have right now is not having a car of my own. My family has 2 cars, but I would need my own to respond in most likely. I'd rather not have to bum a ride from a neighbor or friend to go to training every Sunday, so I'll have to keep working hard to get some more money.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    ...Bones, 2 stations for 1.5 miles? Also, are the members allowed to stay at the station if they want during non-storm times?
    Yes, separated by rail road tracks. ISO has wanted 3 engines and 1 ladder in the town for their ratings...neither building is large enough to hold all that apparatus. Each station is it's own separate company and each owns their own firehouse. We "rent" space to the Town for them to park their trucks in. Company officers are Deputy Chief down. Department wide officers are Assistant Chief and Chief. All calls are dispatched for the Department, with both companies responding.

    Also note...that 1.5 sq miles will be full of 40-60k people on a weekend and become a large parking lot...going 2 blocks can take more time than imaginable.

    Company 1 started in 1885 and was the first fire company in Ocean County. Company 2 started ~1915 I believe. The town itself wasn't incorporated as a town until 1886, which is why company 1 is Ocean Fire Company #1 and not Point Pleasant Beach Company #1.....there was no PPB!


    As for staying...guys are free to spend as much time as they want there...but no sleeping qtrs in either building. During the summer...you'll notice the bay doors open more and guys sitting out front admiring the beauty of nature walking by..
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    For night time and evening calls the first rig is usually out of the station within 3 minutes of the page with the second usually seconds behind. During the day most of our members are out of town at their jobs so its usually about 5 minutes from the time of the page for the first out and its usually understaffed, second out is generally a couple minutes behind that and wether or not we can send any more is a crapshoot.

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    We all respond directly to the station and are alerted by Min 5 pagers. We cover 185 sq miles out of 1 station with 28 members. Mix of city and rural. Last year we ran around 240 calls which are all fire/rescue. No EMS.

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    Everybody in my department responds from home, unless we are at the station for our weekly meetings or training of some sort. We have a very small district, so when we do get calls at night, we usually have 3 or 4 members on that call.

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    My Rural dept is POC. We have pagers and respond to the station for calls. However depending on the call, I may go directly to the scene. If it's an MVA or medical call I'll go to the scene if it's in an area where I can be first in. I'm a Paramedic so I have an aid bag and I have some extinguishers I can throw in the Jeep if it's an MVA. I also have a set of nomex coveralls I can wear. We're not supposed to respond to a scene directly if we would pass the station or be near it. But if it's a medical run and the first in medic (Ambulance, full time 3rd service) is tied up or coming from a distance I'll go to the scene if I don't make the truck since I'm a paramedic and only half our guys are EMT basics.

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