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  1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber gfdtrk4's Avatar
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    Thumbs down A better run survey???

    Does anyone else dislike the "National Run Survey"?

    I may be alone.........BUT,

    I don't care if the busiest "Heavy Rescue" had "5000" ambulance assists.
    ....and I don't care if the busiest "Ladder Co." had "5000" "runs" and only had 10 actual "fires"!!!!
    .....the busiest Eng. applies 10,000 bandages..... and pulled a 2.5" line sometime "last year"......once!

    If you make 15 runs a shift.....but have a working fire every 2 months ......

    Is there a better way to conduct the "survey"?

    (don't even get me started on the "padding" of the numbers)

    Stay Safe Brothers & Sisters
    FTM-PTB
    trk4


  2. #2
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    I gotta agree he has a point. In addition to those points mentioned by gfdtrk4, the statistics are not really accurate the way they are presented. Example: San Fransisco Engine Co. 1 made 7,457 runs and was the busy Engine Co. in the country according to the magazine. DCFD Engine Co. 10 made 6,518 runs and was 2nd busiest. There is no accounting for the 2nd busiest SFFD Engine Co. that still made more runs than the 2nd "busiest" as listed in the magazine. Another thing, since when does a Pierce Quantum with Tele-Squrt count as a Truck Co.? I say this because you'll notice that SQ2 is listed as the busiest Truck Co. in the country. I'm sure they are busy in Dade County, but for all practical purposes the rig they run is a pumper with 65' tele-squrt on it. It has been in last few issues of the magazine in the pre-connects columns. Most of there runs are probably Engine Co. in nature and really add up to misleading figures for them. That was just an example, not bashing MDFR at all. Now how about the busiest stations part of the survey? An apples to oranges comparisson is not fare. Comparing Colombus, OH Station with 6 units is not a fair comparison unless San Fransisco Station 1 and all stations it is compared to have 6 units at their respective stations. How about the busiest "Heavy Rescue Co.'s"? I am not claiming to know everything about every department but, it would seem to me that some of these departments run their "Heavy Rescue Co.'s" on haz-mat and EMS calls in addition to rescue calls. I doubt that High Point, N.C. Squad Co. 01 outran every FDNY Rescue Co. (Unless they are ommitted for some reason). Not apples to apples, atleast to me. I am not bashing the departments at all for running their calls how they do, just saying that if the survey is worth doing it is worth doing right.
    My suggestion is break it down like FDNY does. They total runs, workers and occupied structural workers (OSW). How about DCFD, their numbers I saw also break it down by response type by company. This is more accurate I believe in terms of what gfdtrk4 is speaking of. It will let the country as a whole know who makes fires and who makes more EMS runs. I thought in the past that the survey had an additioanal column that allowed for structural fires by city. That needs to come back as a minimum. I know it will be more work, but I believe it will be more representitive of the departments and the American Fire Service. Just my thoughts.
    Last edited by STATION2; 07-09-2002 at 10:07 AM.
    Stay low and move it in.

    Be safe.


    Larry

  3. #3
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    Also how can you compare depts. Example:Brockton Ma. 95,000 people in about 20 sq miles with a dept that runs with 5 and 3 and a chief as well as Squad "A" which is actually a rescue pumper not a traditional heavy rescue but is cosidered such in the survey, and does 19,537 runs per year with the low # of apparatus to say a Wilmington NC. that has 92,000 people, unknown on sq. mileage and runs 11 and 2 and 2 chiefs and only does 7,100 runs with a higher amount of apparatus? Demographics for one. I have never been to Wilmington, but I know Brockton is busy Fire and EMS wise because it is a fading Northeast city whose glory days are long gone. Comparing many of these cities is apples to oranges because of this. Another consideration is the EMS factor. In Brockton a co. responds with a contract ambulance (AMR)to every medical. What percentage does Wilmington respond to? It may only respond to a specific level of EMS calls and the petty stuff is left to the EMS provider. Would the runs be comparable if they responded to every medical if this was the case? Providence is an example of this. They run 5 ALS ambulances for 200,000 people. Each truck averages about 5100 runs per year with another 4000 farmed out to mutual aid. Take away these runs and Providence only does about 10,000 fire runs per year, with about 600 structure and 3100 other fires per year. It is the EMS portion that allows them to outrun larger ciites such as Buffalo, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh and Honolulu. While these cities run on EMS calls they don't have their own busses so this factor plays a large part into it. The survey is flawed but if you look at it, whether a job, EMS, or other problem, a run is a run and this is what the survey shows.
    "I have no ambition in this world but one, and that is to be a fireman. The position may, in the eyes of some, appear to be a lowly one; but we know the work which a fireman has to do believe that his is a noble calling."

    Edward F. Croker
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  4. #4
    MembersZone Subscriber TruckSkipper's Avatar
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    I thought in the past that the survey had an additioanal column that allowed for structural fires by city.
    Good idea but it would only work if everyone used the same definition of "structural fires." As it stands now that term has a very broad meaning.

    I.e. If you respond to a kitchen fire in an occupied multiple dwelling of class 5 construction, and the kitchen is well involved, some people would call that a structural fire. But for the sake of argument lets say only the contents were burning, such as the cabinets, table, chairs, cooking grease, cook books, etc., and no structural members were burning, is it a structural fire?

    On the other side I've herd of people going to an "unattended cooking response" and since it's technically a fire and it's in a structure it is written up as a structural fire.

    But in the end I don't think this survey should be made in to a competition. Years ago my Company used to respond to 3000 "Fire Calls" per year. Then the city pulled out all the fire alarm boxes on the street corners. Now we respond to about 1000 "fire calls" per year, and that accounts for only 25% of our annual runs. (yes we do a lot of medical runs). But does that make the older guys more crusty than the newer guys?

    I think this survey is for a general outlook of what is going on in the country and should not be scrutinized to much or taken too seriously.
    DKK
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    "Above all, an assignment to a truck company should be considered a promotion."

    Chief John W. Mittendorf-1998

  5. #5
    District Chief distchief60b's Avatar
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    Question Solutions?????

    I will play the devils advocate here. I have also looked at and followed the surveys each year and often dont' understand why more departments are there or why some information is so extremely different for similar departments.

    But.....I don't have an answer to those questions or a way to fix it so I just kept looking and marvelling at some of the stats.

    So...with that in mind....Instead of bashing the folks at Firehouse.com.....does anyone have some concrete and legitimate suggestions that could be put in writing and sent to them for consideration. After all...the information is for us and if we see something we like or want more information, perhaps if we tell them what it is they will take steps to modify.

    I had an old boss who always said..."Don't come to me bringing problems, bring me solutions!"
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
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    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  6. #6
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    Reckon the survey could include a wider variety of apparatus that would include MPE'S (multi purpose engines that run EMS-rescue-and do engine work on fires), dedicated engine companies (engine companies that strictly do engine company assignments), MPR'S (mutli purpose rescues that also cover EMS), dedicated rescue companies that strictly do rescue comapny work), and also vary it according to heavy-light-medium rescue. Also a specification should be chosen as to what qualifies a vehicle to be named a ladder co., or have MPL's (multi purpose ladder companies that do EMS-Rescue- and normal ladder company operations), and dedicated ladder companies that strictly adhere to ladder company operations on fire calls.

    I also think that there needs to be a region issue addressed due to the fact that in certain areas of the country, apparatus are called different names by local departments, and their assignments vary as to the region. This in itself leads to the varied numbers on the survey. As far as padding the survey, it may happen, but an engine company that responds to EMS calls in its region because that is the norm in the region still handles quite a few calls, and the personnel asnwering the calls feel they should be noticed just like the company that handles more fire calls from an engine company.

    But, then again, JUST HOW IMPORTANT IS IT ANYWAY!


    KEEP DOING IT FOR THE RIGHT REASONS!!!!!!!

  7. #7
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    But, then again, JUST HOW IMPORTANT IS IT ANYWAY!
    That says it all.

  8. #8
    MembersZone Subscriber gfdtrk4's Avatar
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    Thumbs down Survey

    It's not really important....... to be "correct".....then, the survey isn't important

    I was not BASHING anyone (for the record)!

    However it IS misleading.

    One year....I read that an un-named "heavy rescue co." was the busiest in the nation....I set-up a ride.... and went to more ambo/assist calls in 20 hrs. than I do at my job in a year....and NO FIRES.
    (.....Rides are in my PAST, not important now.)

    Maybe..... a column for fire work time?
    .......... a column for pump time?
    ...........specify if the Co. does amb. assist or not!

    Just sparking conversation....looking for opinions!


    NOT .....NOT trying to bash someones head in for reading or printing a survey........put the hatchet away.....I'll keep my head....thanks.
    FTM-PTB
    trk4

  9. #9
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    I was once in a position to put in a request for the company that I would like to be assigned to. While everyone else was busy looking at run numbers, I discovered a table in the back of the annual report that listed "Breathing Air Used." One fire company was only average in the number of runs, but they used twice as much breathing air as the next company listed. I visited the station and knew right away that this was where I wanted to be. I got my assignment and never regretted it. We didn't get the number of automatic alarms that other companies did and we didn't run EMS calls. Heck, we even got to sleep through the night on a few occasions. Our run numbers never did stand out, but we were first due on more working fires than any other company in the city. Whenever someone would brag about their run numbers, we would just snicker and say "Congratulations." They never knew what they were missing.

  10. #10
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    I agree completely gfdtrk4. I thought the same thing when I saw the results.

    Statisticly the survey is lacking one important factor. "Consistency" There are no common definitions.

    Example: My Dept which is featured in the Run Survey lists 4 ladders and 3 engines as our total. Now why would someone have more ladders than engines? Because the Ladders are actually Quints and not really the traditional Ladder that lets say Chicago lists when they list their Truck companies.

    Also Some departments Have what may be termed a "Truck" But runs non-traditional alarms such as EMS, Car fires and Investigations (as a single company) So While a city such as Boston Ladder 17 might run 2000 something alarms they are not likely to be the same as a City that runs quints but counts them as Ladders in the survey.

    Perhaps they need more categories for a more representive survey, however due to the diversity across the nation's FDs the likelyhood of any success in such an endevor is minimal.

    Two cents from a fireman.

  11. #11
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    Also, in the survey you might notice that if you ad all NYC fire and ems runs, it only totals 1,155,007 runs, but total runs is 1,379,189
    leaving 224,182 runs left out of fire and ems runs. These runs would be stuck elevators, water leaks, pin jobs, outside rubbish, auto fires etc., I believe when NYC responds to the survey, the fire runs are all reported structural fires, where many depts. include ALL non ems runs as a fire run. It all depends on how each department classifies runs.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Dalmatian90's Avatar
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    Several random thoughts:

    One, although I have fun "slicing & dicing" the Firehouse Run Survey and even NFIRS suffer severely from a lack of consistency.

    Never mind "structure" we don't agree about what a "worker" is, and with the attitude of many that any building could have someone in it, the definition of "occupied" is up for debate.

    (For the record, I like the definition of a worker being TWO or more lines USED or planned to be used on the fire -- if you put it out with only pulling a single line or a single line & a standby line, it ain't a worker. If you declare it a worker since you think it'll take both lines and the first does the job, good work.) (That definition pretty much eliminates things like "Working Car Fire" and "Working Chimney Fire"**)

    NFIRS suffers similiarly from so much detail, each department, heck each officer on each shift codes it in differently.

    Two, I'm reminded of some of the old fire reports I've seen -- that asked for hours pumped & feet of hose used. Those would give you some indication at least of duration and geographic size of the fires -- a room & contents fire for us is 150' of 1.5" to reach a rear bedroom...a r & c in the sixth floor of a tenement may end using 300' of 2.5" for the same amount of "pumping time," so it gives you an indication of the relative complexity of the buildings.


    **Expounding a bit, it's much better IMHO to say, "Fully involved car fire" or "Flames shooting from the chimney" than "working" in either case.

  13. #13
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    For the record, I like the definition of a worker being TWO or more lines USED or planned to be used on the fire -- if you put it out with only pulling a single line or a single line & a standby line, it ain't a worker.
    But we have one of those CAFS pumpers. The first line works to good. So thats not fare!!!
    Just a quick bit on that. A couple of weeks ago I went first due on a house hit my lighting. The report was fire on the roof. On that night I was the assigned operator of the tower ladder. On arrival the first due engine company report heavy fire in the attic. There was a slate roof and the fire had not broken through. The houses was about 100ft X 40 and 150ft off the road. I put the tower in the drive way and started to set it up. At the same time the fist line ( 1 3'4) was going in. Befor the vent team even got in the bucket the fire was out. Here is the kicker, the attic was fully invoved with fire blasting out of the gable vents on both sides. It was put out with 185 gallons of water (or CAFS).
    So what does that count as?
    This space for rent

  14. #14
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    Oi. Deleted because, in my infinite wisdom, I posted the same thing Dal talks about a few posts down.

    Better late than never? You decide.
    Last edited by wannabe-EMT; 07-10-2002 at 07:16 PM.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Dalmatian90's Avatar
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    Here is the kicker, the attic was fully invoved with fire blasting out of the gable vents on both sides. It was put out with 185 gallons of water (or CAFS).
    So what does that count as?


    IMHO, were you planning to pull a second line to attack the fire? If so, it was a worker, you just did a hell of a good job and put it out sooner than anticipated

    On the other hand, if you sized it up as simply a single-compartment fire like a Room & Contents and only planned to use one hoseline to knock it down, it wasn't a worker.

    Worker = All Hands Working = Everyone on the initial assignment is or will soon be committed
    (The corrallary being your initial alarm should be heavy enough to deploy at least 2 handlines, plus truck work).

  16. #16
    Some Guy
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    The second line made it to the door, but due to the "pup" that pulled it, ended a bit short. 150' line when the house was 150' off the road. Needless to say it was not need in the first place.
    This space for rent

  17. #17
    MembersZone Subscriber truck6alpha's Avatar
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    While everyone else was busy looking at run numbers, I discovered a table in the back of the annual report that listed "Breathing Air Used." One fire company was only average in the number of runs, but they used twice as much breathing air as the next company listed.
    I like that. Only problem is that I know of a company or two that use more air because they're sucking it up faster than it comes out of the cylinder. We don't call them "Frosties" for no reason...
    Michael "Mick" Mayers
    Acting Director, Urban Search and Rescue
    South Carolina Emergency Response Task Force
    www.sctf1.sc.gov

  18. #18
    Forum Member MIKEYLIKESIT's Avatar
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    There is alot of "creative" record keeping out there. It would be interesting to see who actually sees fire duty and who dosent. My deapartment is not particularily busy, but our guys go to more fires then many larger departments in the region.Chicago Truck 3 is ranked the busiest in the city. It's downtown and runs a ton of automatic alarms. There are plenty of Trucks in the city that go to way more fires. Not a knock on Truck 3, but run volume dosent make a company better. I happen to know that GFD Truck 4 is a very busy company when it comes to fires. I dont think these surveys really say all that much.

  19. #19
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    My department's fool-proof strategy for not getting bent out of shape over the run survey is to simply completely ignore it (don't read it, don't respond to it), since it has absolutely no impact on our operations or everyday lives whatsoever.

    That said, I'm sure we'll eventually get sucked into NFIRS (although at the rate PA is getting PennFIRS online, we might get a few more years of freedom from excess paperwork...we'll see). This will eventually impact us, so it matters at least a little bit. While the idea of a compendium of micro-level data of fire operations nationwide is appealing from a statistician's point of view, it is likely that the data that will be collected will be terribly flawed. A few companies near us started using the spoftware for their internal reporting some time ago, and, as was mentioned before in this thread, consistency is a problem.

    Worse yet, since (like ISO questionnaires) the underlying theory of the data layout appears to be based upon a single, self-sufficient department's operations, there's a lot of "fudging-by-necessity" going on. For example, it is common in our area to have 2 or 3 separate volunteer companies responding on structure alarms (including AFAs). It is also common, especially in the case of nuisance AFAs, for the company of primary jurisdiction to hold assisting companies at station, reduce them to normal flow of traffic, or to cancel them altogether if initial reports warrant it. Some versions of the NFIRS software require dispatch, on location, and in station times to accept a record. Here's the rub...if you're held or cancelled, you have no on location time and you have to make one up to keep the software happy. Most people's "best guess" at that time will be generous. On the other hand, if you're "normal flowed", you might get on location, but a few minutes later than you would at emergency speed. Then, your response time looks terrible. Worse yet, apparatus that gets out fast is more likely to be normal flowed than apparatus that gets out slowly, so response times entered into the software will be worse, on average, for apparatus that gets out faster. In other words, response time data in my (very common) example will be absoutely meaningless. If this data is to be used for more than an academic exercise (insurance rates, legal actions, etc.), then these shortcomings could do real damage.

    This is but one example, and I have no "magic bullet" to fix such problems. I offer it as something to think about, since it's similar in nature to some of the problems with the run survey.

  20. #20
    MembersZone Subscriber truck6alpha's Avatar
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    Capt. Bob- you're on the mark-

    While the idea of a compendium of micro-level data of fire operations nationwide is appealing from a statistician's point of view, it is likely that the data that will be collected will be terribly flawed.
    I'm not a statistician, but I do a lot of analysis. If NFIRS information was gathered and processed (and then used) as it should be, the fire service as a whole could do some amazing things. We could spot trends, we could warn the public about faulty appliances, we could apply federal and state funding to given areas, etc, etc.

    You know- I think that's what the cops do!

    Problem is, we've got people out there that can't even tie their shoelaces who are writing reports. And as the old saying goes, "Garbage In = Garbage Out".

    If I have accurate data, I can go to my Chief and his bosses (Town Council) and say, X number of tourists are getting run over by cars every month; we need to plan to allocate resources to either prevent it or mitigate it. Or X number of fires are occurring in this development and it takes us X minutes to reach that; we need to add a station. When are we (the national fire service) going to realize that ACCURATE statistics (that compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges) are tied to our funding and planning and do something about it?

    And to prove I'm serious, if someone is planning a committee or work group to study this program and is reading this- I'll put my money where my mouth is and help if you need it.
    Michael "Mick" Mayers
    Acting Director, Urban Search and Rescue
    South Carolina Emergency Response Task Force
    www.sctf1.sc.gov

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