Thread: response delays

  1. #1
    Junior Member

    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    north east
    Posts
    6

    Default response delays

    I currently work as a full-time firefighter/EMT is Massachusetts and we have a serious response problem with our ambulance. We had over 1100 (711 EMS)emergency calls last year and when the full-time personnel are not working (M-F 8-4) 25% of our calls go unanswered and mutual aid has to be requested. Our average response time is over 12 minutes with over a 100 being over 20 minutes and 4 being over 30 minutes. Does anyone know of any standards for response times or documented cases that have been detremintal to patient outcomes due to delays? Any advice on on how to get more full-timers?

  2. #2
    Forum Member
    BCmdepas3280's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Posts
    873

    Default

    Let them know that brain damage starts in 4-6 minutes.....
    IACOJ Membership 2002
    {15}

    Mike IAFF

    The beatings will continue until the morale improves

  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    3

    Default

    You could start doing EMS billing......it can be very financially productive.....

    D

  4. #4
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Mar 2000
    Location
    Dayton, OH
    Posts
    180

    Default

    I'll answer this from the standpoint of a volunteer. Sorry for reading the paid boards.

    The response times that you list are intollerable. As a volunteer I took an oath to protect the citizens of my community. If a call goes unanswered, someone should get his *** chewed. The next time someone should get fired. Response times as long as that are just plain dangerous. My personal opinion is that anything over 5minutes to respond is horrible and should be dealt with by the Chief.

    I am a volunteer, I run in a combo department (Kettering, OH). Last year the average ON-SCENE time was under 6 minutes for my engine and under 6.5 minutes for my ladder. That is just the Vol. responses, the paid staff (day crew) was much faster. I would love to see that number go even lower, it just takes more dedicated volunteers.

    One last other point for you. Your union contact should spell out the discipline procedures for you all, volunteers dont have that advantage. If you have that big of a problem with your vollies just remind the Chief that he can fire them with almost no paperwork at all. Paid firefighters are great, volunteer firefighter are great too, but everyone needs to act professional. The problem you describe is dangerous and as far from professional as I imagine.

    Scott Henry
    ***********
    Firefighter - Kettering Fire/Rescue, Kettering OH
    Volunteer Coordinator - Washington Twp. Fire Dept., Dayton OH
    *********
    Stay Safe

  5. #5
    Junior Member

    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    TN
    Posts
    11

    Default

    Shenry, Don't apologize for reading the career fourms. I would encourage it. I read the volunteer forums all the time. But I would not go as far to say that
    Far from professional as I imagine.
    . And I am not sure what you mean when you say that a union contact should spell out discipline procedures. I understand that everyone career to volunteer should do all that they can for their department and community, but you have to remember that everyone has a life, jobs, family, that sort of thing. Not to exclude prior engagements such as vacations, business trips. So it is not going to be possible to have someone there to get a truck enoroute as quick all of the time. This is not just a problem that your department is facing alone Andrew. This, I feel, is a problem that many smaller, rural departments accross the country face every day. And one problem that I see is reruiting and retention. A lot of people don't want to give up there spare time because they don't see any "benefits" for them. What does you department have to offer to new recruits? Why should they want to stay within the department? Just something to think about.
    Your question about respnse times....NFPA 1710 -NFPA 1710 - Standard for the Organization and Deployment of Fire Suppression Operations, Emergency Medical Operations, and Special Operations to the Public by Career Fire Departments. It states....The response time objectives for fire suppression, EMS response, and other operations are:
    Turnout time: one minute
    Arrival of first engine company at a fire: 4 minutes
    Deployment of a full first alarm assignment at a fire: 8 minutes
    Arrival of EMS first responder: 4 minutes
    Arrival of advanced life support unit at an EMS incident: 8 minutes
    Keep in mind these are for career departments.
    1720, which is for volunteers states...The NFPA 1720 standards require an initial assembly of at least four personnel before fire suppression activities can begin at a structural fire. When assembled, volunteers must be able to safely start fighting a fire within two minutes 90 percent of the time, starting with an initial rapid intervention team of two fully-equipped firefighters.
    Since you guys are a combination, you have the option to choos what one you would want to adopt, either 1710 or 1720.
    Sorry to be so long with this. A lot of things kept popping in my head. And I hope this helps. Have a good one and be safe.

  6. #6
    Forum Member
    BCmdepas3280's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Posts
    873

    Default

    Originally posted by 88kfd88
    .
    Since you guys are a combination, you have the option to choos what one you would want to adopt, either 1710 or 1720.
    Where does it say that ?......
    IACOJ Membership 2002
    {15}

    Mike IAFF

    The beatings will continue until the morale improves

  7. #7
    Junior Member

    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    TN
    Posts
    11

    Default

    Q. What about combined fire departments?
    A. Because there are so many variations, the local authority that has jurisdiction over operations would decide whether standard 1710 (career) or 1720 (volunteer) would apply.

    http://www.nlc.org/nlc_org/site/poli...ards/index.cfm

    or go to this one, word for word, I copied and pasted for you. :-)

    The most controversial and highly publicized standards were NFPA 1710 (Standard for the Organization and Deployment of Fire Suppression Operations, Emergency Medical Operations, and Special Operations to the Public by Career Fire Departments) and NFPA 1720 (Standard for the Organization and Deployment of Fire Suppression, Emergency Medical Operations and Special Operations to the Public by Volunteer Departments). If a fire department is a combination of volunteer and career personnel, whatever authority has jurisdiction will determine whether 1710 or 1720 is applicable.

    http://www.firehouse.com/ems/ludwig/2001/july01.html
    Paragraph 5 of this article.
    Hope this helps Lt.
    Last edited by 88kfd88; 01-22-2003 at 12:47 AM.

  8. #8
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Mar 2000
    Location
    Dayton, OH
    Posts
    180

    Default

    The only way to solve problems like this is to get rid of the people causing the problems. Thats hard to do to someone with a union contract but for these volunteers it should be very easy to get rid of the few bad apples causing the problems.
    This doesn't have anything to do with NFPA standards, its a matter of a Chief who seemingly doesn't want to upset his vollies by cracking the whipp.
    When someone calls 911 they dont care if the responders are paid, part time or volunteer. They want you to come fast and to act professionally. The days of Bubba the volunteer with the Big Johnson Tshirt are over, the public deserves more than that.

  9. #9
    Junior Member

    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    TN
    Posts
    11

    Default

    Shenry...The problem here is not "bad apples" or people not acting professional. It is that they are not getting units enroute as quickly as maybe they should be. To me, correct me if I am wrong Andrew, people are not causing problems. So this "volunteer mentality", We will just throw them out does not apply here. (And when I say "volunteer mentality", I am not saying that in a derogatory way, I am meaning that in general.)
    And the NFPA standards, well, I believe Andrew asked if anyone knows of any standards for response times. And yes it does have everything to do with these standards. If a department adopts them, then they will hire more to staff apparatus to comply, they will meet the response time requirements to comply...how do I know, I work for a department that does this. Be safe people.

  10. #10
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Mar 2000
    Location
    Dayton, OH
    Posts
    180

    Default

    88- I think just the oposite, its the 'volunteer mentality' that has gotten these guys in this situation in the first place. When an older more experienced FF slow rolls at night he is teaching the newer guys that its ok to do the same. Eventually when everyone slows down the original wrongdoers start to get to the station with everyone else and have to ride the rigs again, then they slow down more and the cycle repeats itself.
    I agree that response times are important but 1710 and 1720 are minimums. Just because my volunteer station easily makes the cut for 1720 doesn't mean that our citizens don't deserve us to get there even faster. I'm all for mandating quick responses and I understand that paid in station firefighters are quicker than vollunteers but the vollunteers need to try be quick and professional.
    Last monday I sent a truck out the door in 3 minutes with 5 firefighter and 2 officers on it. The engine was out the door in 2 with 3FFs and 1 officer. Can I achieve this every call, nope, its usually 4 on the truck and 3 on the engine. But every call at any time of day we alway try to get out the door quick with the best selection of guys.
    I have the problem with volunteers who can be to the station in 2 minutes for a confirmed fire or a trap but then it takes them 5 or 6 minutes for a CO call at 4am. Paid guys don't get to pick and choose calls, volunteers shouldn't get away with it either.

    Scott

  11. #11
    Senior Member
    Dalmatian90's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2000
    Posts
    3,120

    Default

    This doesn't have anything to do with NFPA standards, its a matter of a Chief who seemingly doesn't want to upset his vollies by cracking the whipp.

    That's not necessarily the answer -- I don't think we even have a handle on the root problem to know if it's a discipline issue or not.

    There are issues discipline can deal with. And there are conditions it can't.

    IMHO, 50% of ambulance calls in my area (CT) do not in any way, shape, or form require one, and another 25% do not need an emergency ambulance. Having three-out-four calls being BS doesn't exactly motivate people to feel their time is being well spent. If you're not paying them enough make it feel worthwhile, they'll eventually just say screw it. And while they may have a better feeling of worth from fires & accidents, plus more excitement, there's a good chance they'll look at the ambulance runs and say it's just not worth it and if the Chief tells them do both ambulance and fire, they may just say, "No thanks, we'll do none."

    B.S. EMS is a condition. You can pay people more to make up for it. You can also look at regionalizing to provide 24x7 paid ambulance crews to the area (700 runs is too low a volume IMHO to be efficient).

    What you don't want to do is sacrifice having manpower that is available for fires & MVAs be driven away having to deal with useless ambulance calls. If you do that, you may soon find yourself with a two or three person paid ambulance crew (even if they're called an Engine) that also has to fight fires alone.

    Matt

  12. #12
    Junior Member

    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    TN
    Posts
    11

    Default

    I hear what you are saying Shenry, but what I have been trying to get accross is that I don't think that Andrew is saying that the problem is with people "picking and choosing". I think that what he is saying that there is a staffing problem. I agree with Dalmation about not even knowing if this is a discipline problem or not. I am guessing that it is not a discipline problem, but more of a financial, recruitment and retention problem. I could be wrong though.
    Financial in the aspect that the local govt. can not afford to put personnel on 24-7-365, and the recruitment/retention problem for volunteers.

    Have a safe one.

  13. #13
    Junior Member

    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    north east
    Posts
    6

    Default update

    Thanks for all the help so far, it has helped me put together a packet to show the selectman and town administrator. To update you so you have a better feel for what is going on. We currently have 20 EMT's for the ambulance about 3/4 are cross trained as firefighters. They are all paid on call for a 2 hour minumum at around $15.00 an hour. We even tried paying them $5.00 an hour on the weekends to remain on call, during which they could do as they pleased, just not leave town. So they got $5.00 an hour for nothing if there was no calls and if there was a call they got their hourly rate on top of that and it still didn't work. We have only 4 or 5 that regularly respond and the others every once in a while. The chief doesn't want to get rid of the others because he feels some calls being answered by them is better than not having them at all. We have tried numerous times to recruit more, there just isen't anybody out there. We had response times of 34, 26, and 20 minutes already again this week. To me the answer to the question is easy, we have to cover the station 24/7 with full-time personnel. The hard part is getting the town to fund it especially in these tough financial times. We have had complaints from area departments, our own police department, and citizens. Any thoughts on what dropping a dime to the press would do or possibly a outside agency hired to conduct a study?

  14. #14
    Junior Member

    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    TN
    Posts
    11

    Default

    Andrew, I agree with you that the only way to accomplish your goals of better response and turnout times is to have a crew 24 hours/day. The hard part is to get it that way by convincing selectman and town administrator to doing that. I do not know how to handle that sort of thing. A little bit out of my field. I would reccomend doing it in a tactful manner because coming off as a "hard nose" to them will get you on their bad side. Do the nice, political things first. Also use the media as a way to get the public backing. That is all I have to offer. Take care and God Bless. Good Luck on your endeavour.

    Here is our webpage if you want to check it out.

    http://vhost1.tricon.net/org/kptfd/firegraf.htm

  15. #15
    MembersZone Subscriber
    jthomas's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Cortlandt Manor, NY
    Posts
    86

    Default

    Just a quick suggestion- the combo dept I volunteer in has has some of the same issues- not as severe, but our leadership has done studies showing EMS call volumes vs time of day and No.s of calls that go to mutual aid (by time of day) due to not having an ambulance crew ready. Our trouble periods seemed to be in the early morning "rush hour" and early afternoon. Maybe to do with overlapping of various work schedules, etc. While not particularly egregious, it was enough to cause concern, and a concerted effort to address the problem of staffing the ambulances at high demand/short staffing times. The one big thing they have started doing is Rostering, where volunteer EMTs, drivers and attendants sign up for time blocks to be in the house to man the ambulances. Knowing in general when our trouble times are and when people are going to be there helps them plan ahead and adjust the staffing if needed. As SOP, an Engine manned by paid personnel (FF/EMT) is always dispatched immediately to the scene.
    I think it is too early to tell how well this has worked.

    Lawyers chorus:
    The above is my interpretation alone, not officially representing anything or anybody!:-)

  16. #16
    MembersZone Subscriber
    ramseycl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Next to the big ditch
    Posts
    489

    Default

    I have to agree that response times are very important, but you also have to look at the geography of the district. The district that I work in covers around 270 square miles, and is very rural. The response time for a truck leaving for the station with in a minute of the call can be 15-20 minutes. It is not because everyone is moving slower than they use to or because no one is responding, it is because the distance to the call is so great and you are traveling on all dirt roads. Then there is the snow in the winter, you have to contend with roads that have not been plowed and other factors that the department can not control.
    I do agree that if the problems with the response time is coming from the members then it should be addressed, but before putting down another department I think it is important to look closely at the district and the distance to calls.

  17. #17
    Junior Member

    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    north east
    Posts
    6

    Default size

    Our town is only 12 sqaure miles and most time it will take to get from the station to the farthest point in town is about 8 minutes and thats if the roads are covered in snow.

  18. #18
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    540

    Default

    Andrew I feel you are correct.
    There are only 3 ways to end this.

    1) 24/7 staffing.
    2) Many Volunteer dept's in my area do this. Contract an Ambulance to stand by at their stations.
    3) Do not run any medical at all, let an Ambulance company contract it.

    I would personally be all for #1.
    Proud to be IACOJ Illinois Chapter--Deemed "Crustworthy" Jan, 2003

  19. #19
    Junior Member

    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    6

    Thumbs up update

    Just an update, first of all I changed my screen name from andrew4646 and second we got the approval last night at town meeting to hire 2 additional full-time firefighters, not quite up to where we need to be but it is a start. Thanks for all of the help!!!!!!!!!!!!

  20. #20
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    No. Providence R.I. : Land of the "How ya doins"
    Posts
    990

    Default

    Congrats on the progress brother. Which dept. are you with? I am in RI right next door. How many full timers do you have? Seekonk used to do 6am to 2pm and 2pm to 10pm Monday - Friday with call men operating overnights and weekends. Now they do 10/14's, 24/7 but still augmented by call men. Let me know!
    "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
    Chief 1899-1911
    Fire Dept. City of New York

    HOOK N' CAN of the I.A.C.O.J.

  21. #21
    FIGJAM
    lutan1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    I come from The Land Down Under!
    Posts
    1,833

    Default

    Well done 2house on the succesful lobbying for 2 more staff!

    I was going to ask the dreaded question, "What does the community think of the delays and the no response calls?" Do they know? Are they aware?

    Having the community armed with this info can go either way- it can look bad for the department on one hand, but the other way is that they can push the issue with "the powers that be" to improve/rectify the issue....
    Luke

  22. #22
    Junior Member

    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    6

    Default

    The 2 more will now give us 4 so we figured the best hours would be 7am-7pm mostly because the are the busiest and most problematic to cover, we will also cover weekends and holidays which we dont currently do. The town's people are now aware of the situation after it was brought up at town meeting and the newspaper printing the lengthy response times The citizens backed us 110% which was great, they realized how understaffed we are and that is why we are performing inadequetly.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

Log in

Click here to log in or register