1. #1
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Question Night time response

    Does anyone have any ideas on how to encourage members to turnout for night time (12 Midnight to 6 AM) alarms??

    We have the Service Awards Program (pension, based on activity, at age 65), but that doesn't seem to have any affect on night time turnouts.

    Our department averages over 1,000 runs per year, so I suspect many members are "burned out."

    Any ideas would be appreciated.



  2. #2
    Truck 2
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Hire paid people. then they don't have a choice!

  3. #3
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Well as much as a volunteer department depends on its people, this is no place for hobby hosers. As tough as recruiting can be, hopefully you can get some people that care enough to respond to all calls and muster out those that don't. Maybe an incentive to provide overnight manning? Good luck.

    Stay safe...

  4. #4
    Firehouse.com Guest


    It's unlikely, but if people don't respond when they are available on our dept. they can get written up. (Usually the chief will give a couple warnings. To my knowledge no one has ever been disciplined beyond a verbal warning.) Even though we are completely vol. (no pay at all for anything), we are expected to respond if we are available. It's not fair for the same guys to respond to night calls and the other guys respond when they want to.

    If someone needs some time off, all they need to do is let the chief know. Then if they don't respond, it's okay.

  5. #5
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Our department solved the overnight response problem very effectively. We have duty crews. One night every two weeks they have a set crew that has to answer all calls from 11pm to 5am. This has been very effective in making sure we have crews available. Every night is covered and if extra people turn out great. Usually we don't have a problem rolling engines on fire calls but for our rescue calls the crews are a big help. Hope this helps your situation.

  6. #6
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Our department solved the overnight response problem very effectively. We have duty crews. One night every two weeks they have a set crew that has to answer all calls from 11pm to 5am. This has been very effective in making sure we have crews available. Every night is covered and if extra people turn out great. Usually we don't have a problem rolling engines on fire calls but for our rescue calls the crews are a big help. Hope this helps your situation.

  7. #7
    Bob Snyder
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I'm just guessing, here, but most high-volume stations in my area (volunteer and paid) get a lot of that volume from AFA's, stand-by assignments, and other nuisance calls. If that's true for you, you may want to attack the call volume rather than the people.

    If this sounds familiar, maybe you could try to get your municipality to pass a nuisance alarm ordinance. Most of these ordinances in our area allow for two or three free false alarms in a year, then impose a fine of anywhere from $20-$50 per false occurrance after that.

    You need to be careful about how "false" is defined, and your reports from the scene need to be precise as to the cause of the alarm (or lack thereof). For example, is "burnt food" a fire or false? If "burnt" is a fire and "overdone" is false, how do you objectively decide what is "burnt" and what is "overdone"? etc., etc. Most municipalities that have enacted such a law (that I know of in my area) have seen significant reductions in nuisance alarms.

    If things like standbys are also a problem, you can go to a limited duty crew system for that...designate 5 or 6 people a week for night standby assignments and let everyone else stay home in bed. The people home in bed can always turn out if something happens, and you can still get a rig or two out immediately to fulfill your standby obligations.

  8. #8
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Is the gear on your dept well used?
    If it is you could come up with something that the people who run the most night calls in a month get a new set of gear, a diffrent person every month of course, that way people will run the midnight calls for a new set of bunkers, which they are eventually gonna need any way.

  9. #9
    Firehouse.com Guest


    We've been taking a couple approaches towards this problem...

    A LOSAP is going in place 1/1/00...although I don't think it will make a huge difference on the overnite calls.

    (Read overnite calls = medical calls after 11pm!)

    A primary way we're trying to address that is by moving to alphanumeric pagers & duty first responder crews. The deal with the membership -- we'll not blow the fire pagers 2-3 a week for medical calls after midnite so most people can get a good sleep...in exchange, we'll have an assigned crew for first responders (in addition to an assigned crew for the ambulance we already have) and they'll individually be paged by the dispatch center. Hoping it's better to alert 6 or 7 and have 5 or 6 respond...than page 60 and have 2 get up!

    The best phrase I've ever heard regarding discipline in the volunteer fire service is "You volunteered to join. However, not everything is voluntary. Attending training, responding to calls, and doing you're fair share of work around the station are not voluntary. Going to parades and attending social events, that's voluntary." It's tough to enforce discipline (no one wants to step on anyone's toes!)...but it's important.

  10. #10
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I dont know about your members commitments.
    but the department that I used to be on started an incentive program with points for runs made and at the end of the year the points were added up and each member was allowed to purchase fire or EMS related supplies or products(i.e. gloves,hood,t-shirts,ETC)from GALLS or any other supplier approved by the department.the points were grouped with a dollar amount for each group(i.e.----50-100 runs=$50 ,100-150 runs=$75 ,ETC)

    that may not work for your department but, for some reason people started making those midnight runs just to build up points

  11. #11
    Firehouse.com Guest


    My personal suggestion.

    If they only show up for the 'Hero' calls during the wee hours, but not the others;

    Adapt a policy that will allow chief officers & executive board the right to pull gear.

    Those that show up for the 'Big One' might have a rude awakening when they show up and find they don't have any turnouts to don - which means, ummm, I guess they don't get to go to the 'Big One'.

    Sorry if I sound blunt about the issue, but everyone HAS to pull a fair share of the weight in order for the department to operate.

    PS: They have to show an attempt to respond night calls before they get their turnouts back.

    Firefighter/Paramedic in Northwest Pennsylvain... Stay Safe

  12. #12
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    I have a suggestion for you that our volunteer department just started Jan.1, 2000. We have a night crew program in which me as Captain runs a crew and 3 other Lt.'s run a crew. All of the crews have a designated night each week in which they respond on every call. We have a criteria for limited response calls, and a criteria for full department responses. This way you have only one night during the week that you "have" to respond on every call, and Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays everyone responds that's available. Our crew's respond from 8pm through 4am. It's kind of nice when you hear the department get called out at 3am for a CO detector and you can roll over and go back to sleep. And if the calls turn out to be something more than what they are called out for then the OIC of the crew just drops a recall tone.
    This saves the department members the hassle of getting up for everything, and it also saves the department money because they don't pay more members than needed at a limited response call.
    Any questions feel free to mail me...I will explain more if needed.


  13. #13
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I agree with Captain88. For 10 years my dept in CA has been successful with night crews. If you live out of our district, you are on the sleeper program period. If you want experience in the fire service, then get down to the station and put in your time. We find that our volunteers have a better understanding of the paid ff world and do quite well when hired elsewhere. We are primarilary a volunteer dept and take great pride in seeing some of the ff's "spring board" out of here & get career jobs...but demographics play an important role & we get members from large neighboring cities.

  14. #14
    Firehouse.com Guest


    We are a very low volume vol. dept. averageing 350 calls per year. We have never staffed overnight crews, because most members show up at anytime since there are so few. I do that in surrounding towns that there point/percentage sheets are weighted based on the types of calls they responded to. For example, response to a reported fire alarm may be worth 5 pts, where response to a MVA may only be worth 2 pts. More "exciting" calls are worth less amounts of points.

    Other wise pulling gear sounds like a good idea!

  15. #15
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I don't see to much of a problem with our station (there are 4 station in our department). The Department purchased 4 new engines and now there are guys fighting to get on that engine. To make a long story short we had 4 engines that held 5 people with open jump seat cabs. Now we have 4 new engines that hold 6 people with enclosed cabs. It also makes a difference when the temp it 20 degrees and your riding down the road at 55mph. But anyway....

    We have a 50-point Service Awards Program here. Our Program has worked depending on the station. You have to make 20% of the fire alarms to receive 25 points for alarms.

    In our station, I explain to the guys and gals, if we have 130 calls a year, you have to respond to 26 of those alarms (20%).

    For the 1998-1999 year we had 129 alarms, 65% were daytime alarms (6am to 6pm) and 35% were nighttime (6pm to 6am). Out of those 129 alarms, 47% were active alarms.

    On the same note I have it broken down to how many times we arrive to the scene, have been returned to quarters and held in quarters. For the 1998-1999 year, 65% of the calls we arrived on the scene, 21% of the calls we were returned, and 14% of the calls we were held in quarters.

    Based on our Points Program 1000 calls per year equals 200 calls or 20%. You could raise the percentage requirements based on the percentage of nighttime alarms and call volume. If 60% were daytime and 40% were nighttime and most of the members worked during the day, they would almost have to try to respond to that 40%, if you raise the percentage to 40%.

    This is one option to many others that have been posted here. Try them all and see what works best and go from there.

  16. #16
    Firehouse.com Guest


    This is a problem facing all volunteer stations. In my county it has always been a requirement that to remain a member of the department you had to make at least 50% of the calls your station responded to. If you did not make enough you were put on probation for six months. If you did not meet your commitment at the end of six months, you were let go.

    Now the State of South Carolina has come up with a program that we hope will help more. If a firefighter meets the state requirements at the end of the year, they get a $4000.00 tax credit. the requirements are as follows.
    50% of all calls 50 points
    40% of all calls 40 points

    75% of Training meetings 20 points
    50% of Training meeting 15 points

    Emergency Vechile Drivers Training 5 points
    Pump Operations 5 points
    Incident Command 5 points
    Interior Firefighter 5 points
    Officer Training 5 points
    Haz-Mat Training 5 points
    Fire Inspector Training 5 points

    There are a few other points a firefighter can earn but these are the most common. It should be noted that all of the Training MUST be certified as a South Carolina Fire Academy Class.

    At the end of each year the Department issues a letter to the firefighter and the State Tax Office stating the firefighter is able to claim the $4000.00 that year.


    Try to get your state to help you

  17. #17
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Get a nice BIG old fire siren, a few blasts of that, and anyone will be awake and ready to help. It works for us!

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