Thread: Manpower vs Equipment
03-28-2000, 10:57 AM #1Tony2332Firehouse.com Guest
Manpower vs Equipment
I work on a department that has 112 Firefighter (4 platoons of 26 each), 7 engines, 2 ladders, 3 squads. We are running 1 to 2 firefighters per peice covering about 19 square miles. My question is Do we drop peices to raise manpower on the apparatus, cutting equipment then later trying to get them back? or Do we continue running 2 men engines and SLOWLY (i mean very slowly) try to increase manpower?
03-28-2000, 12:26 PM #2HHoffmanFirehouse.com Guest
The old rock and a hard place! I work on a Military Base, and they want every service know to man provided. Don't get me wrong all the missions are needed. We operate with 9 men minimum per shift. 4 on the engine, 3 on the truck, and 1 on the rescue. We also man a BLS unit with the same people, 3 men from the engine run the ambulance. Then the truck w/ pump has to handle the calls until the ambulance returns.
I don't see a clear answer to the problems with manning.
03-28-2000, 07:13 PM #3rescuebillFirehouse.com Guest
Tony, you guys need to educate the city and public. It is your chief job to pound his fist if nothin else works. Try the troops and chief going in together and talking with your city. If your firefighters are inactive they need to get motivated!
If the public want's it, it will happen.
We are always in the public, we have fire based ems, it has paid off big in my community. good luck!
03-29-2000, 06:59 PM #4Truck 2Firehouse.com Guest
Rescuebill did they strip firefighters off your rigs to man the EMS rigs, like robbing Peter to pay Paul? My view on manning levels are having the correct amount on each piece is more inportant than trying to get lots of pieces on the street with one or two people on each piece. How can you even safely back a vehicle up with only one person with no spotter? It really depends on a lot of different things on manning for each piece. Most of, or all of your buildings have sprinkler systems in them,are you in a fully hydranted area or do you have to depend on tanker shuttlers or long hose lays for water supply? Get my point, I really think theres no easy ansewer!!!!!!
03-30-2000, 01:15 PM #5Dalmatian90Firehouse.com Guest
Dropping pieces (engines) to raise the manpower on the other engines...probably means closing stations.
If y'all want to see how to get politicians in a fit and fury...close a station in their ward
Like the others said, there's no easy answers, and I don't know a lot of details about the area you cover/etc to think of alternatives.
04-01-2000, 05:46 PM #6Herb KingFirehouse.com Guest
Your in a tough area there with manpower. I talked with some guys from Bethlehem before and they told me about having rigs parked on the street to try and get enough manpower to fight a fire because each one was only bringing one or two men. I know also that the City was in tough times financially before, but that is picking up a little. Reading PA was doing the same thing with one or two guys per truck.
I agree with the reply that said shut down a station in a pols district and see the noise it makes. Also you might do like some other departments in the eastern PA region who went to the public and the neighbors, telling them how manning effects their safety (they really don't care about ours) and how slowing a response or a rescue entry could mean them or their children being hurt. You might get some backing from the citizens that way. But to continue to operate any vehicle with only one man is only going to seal you into that status or even lower your manning to one on every piece since it "works" on the units riding with one FF now.
[This message has been edited by Herb King (edited April 01, 2000).]
04-03-2000, 06:05 PM #7HILLBILLY70Firehouse.com Guest
Just do not let them know they could bust you back to 3 platoons and distribute the manpower without more cost. Try shutting down some stations to have the right amount of people on each truck and see the attention that draws!
04-12-2000, 09:49 PM #8cpthuntFirehouse.com Guest
You may not like this idea, but, have you thought about reconfiguring to a 3 platoon system with the same amount of employees? You may be able to submit the three platoon system as part of a solution to adequetely staff apparatus to city hall.
You guys may have to decide which you want more: increased staffing levels or four platoon system.
04-12-2000, 11:15 PM #9PCFDFirehouse.com Guest
O.K. this is a sticky situation. Dont know how you guys get the job done safely. We run 4 platoons as well but we are a little smaller then you in appratus. We have 116 FF's 29 per shift 4 per truck. 5 engines, 1 ladder, 1 rescue. I can only suggest the possibilaty of cutting 2 squads and using only one. Are rescue respondes to all structual calls ( smoke in house, reported house fire, ect.) and rescue calls. If you can cut an engine or ladder do so, are ladder respondes to all structual calls and commercial alarms. We send only one engine to residentail alarms. Otherwise you will have to go to a 3 platoon system or HOPE the city will hire more FF's.
04-13-2000, 02:45 PM #10mfgentiliFirehouse.com Guest
Through the years my department has faced the same dilema. We have minimum manning of 4 per company. Because our local union has been adament about maintaining this manning level, the city has countered by closing 4 engines and 1 ladder company since 1972. The city goes after our minimum manning provision during every contract negotiation but we have stood firm and I hope we will continue. I feel that 4 is the absolute minimum manning that any fire company should have to perform our job both safely and efficiently. Try to get as much manpower as possible on each truck even if it means the city will close some. With any luck, local neighborhood outcries, may force closed companies to be re-opened. Good Luck!
New Bedford Fire Dept.
[This message has been edited by mfgentili (edited April 13, 2000).]
05-04-2000, 10:27 AM #11jmatthe7Firehouse.com Guest
19 sq miles isn't a lot. What is your population and call volume?
In your case a fire truck is only a mode of transportaion to an emergency. A fire truck is useless with 2 men on board, and more useless with 1. I would rather go to a 3 shift schedule (more hours means more money) than continue with short staffed equipment.
We justified manpower increase by raising our level of service. We became more avtive in the community, and have begun other emergency services such as EMS first response, technical rescue. If money is the issue you have to make the city see thaey cannot live without you. If you are union release some public service announcements. Sponsor a survey educating the community about staffing levels and why they need to be increased. Invite City council to train with you. WE have done this and they all say I didn't know this was that hard! Invite council to fire scenes. It is now our protocal to call the mayor, city manager, and fire committee chairman for any working fire. They have come and asked could more people have limited the damage?
Don't get discouraged. I have been there. It took us 6 years to get 3 and 3 manning up from 2 and 2. We still allow 2 on a ladder if necessary. But in the process we have become, in my mind, one of the most innovative departments in the country.
Lt. j. Matthews
05-04-2000, 10:48 AM #12LedbellyFirehouse.com Guest
I was going to suggest a 3 platoon system also, however I'm not familiar with how 4 platoons work. I noticed some negative thoughts about 3 platoons so maybe that's not an option. (?)
Without knowing the political situation, I would go with some of the other posts to consolidate manpower by shutting down apparatus/stations.
05-24-2000, 10:41 PM #13GillFirehouse.com Guest
I think that more personnel on rigs are more important than more rigs on the street. Even if you get a worker, the first rig won't be able to do anything until another couple of rigs arrive. Better to have the personnel. I just can't tell you exactly how to go about it.
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