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  1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber SamsonFCDES's Avatar
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    Default Career Departments serving around 900,000

    I am looling for info on career departments serving cities/areas of 900,000 or so.

    Can anybody list some?

    How many paid FFs do they have on average?

    What would the yearly budget to run a department like that be on average?

    Thank you very much, I am working on a intersting study, but I cant share it until I am done.

    Thanks for the help.
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  2. #2
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    You may want to check out Columbus, OH. The city is around 711,00 (metropolitan area is somewhat larger), but they do cover some of the suburbs. That would put their coverage area closer to 800,000.

    You can get alot of information from the official website at:

    http://www.fire.ci.columbus.oh.us/

    An unofficial site (with more details on equipment etc. can be found at:

    http://columbusfire.8m.com/home.html

  3. #3
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    FH usually puts out the yearly "run stats" in or around June. If you can wait, it may give you some of the info you need. You can try to contact those that fit the profile you want. It usually states amounts of: budget, city pop, work strength, number of stations, engines, trucks, etc etc.
    http://www.sanantoniofire.org

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  4. #4
    Permanently Removed CALFFBOU's Avatar
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    Default West Coast...

    CA- LA City, LA County, Ventura County, Orange County,
    San Diego, Riverside County, San Bernardino County

    NV- Las Vegas, Clark County

    AZ- Phoenix

    OR- Portland

    WA- Seattle, Tacoma

    That was just off the top of the ol head. Good luck!
    Last edited by CALFFBOU; 05-27-2004 at 01:13 AM.

  5. #5
    MembersZone Subscriber SamsonFCDES's Avatar
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    Default

    Thanks guys. I am working on a small study, compairing and contrasting the entire state of Montana to a metro area of similar size. I will check into some of those to see what budgets and manpower comes out to.

    MT is right at 900,000 population, but spread out of a gazillion miles of rugged wildland.

    The biggest single city is Billings, which comes in at 100,000+. The rest are all 50,000 or much less.

    The Billings news paper has been blasting the state wildfire methedology. 73 million spent last season!

    Here are the links:

    http://www.billingsgazette.com/index...e-expenses.inc

    Go to the bottom for more of the story.

    Here are just some bullet points I have put together. It is very rough and un copleted yet, but it is still food for thought. It mostly pertains to how MT deals with wildfire and emergency service in general. IMO, it needs a major revamping, this might not be the way, but it is just ment to get people thinking outside the box.

    Let me know what you think.

    - The first line defense against wildfire, often rural Volunteer Fire Departments and Counties, are often very under funded and outfitted with substandard equipment. There are many volunteer fire districts with yearly budgets <5000$. A single load of slurry from a heavy bomber can cost >5000$. Many of these VFDs operate equipment that is far out dated, and often dangerous. I can think of one VFD that operates a 1950’s vintage Military surplus 6x6 that was deemed unfit for use by their home county. It was then given to the VFD to use as on of their first out brush trucks. This truck has a value of <5000, again, only one load of slurry. Often these rural VFDs do not have adequate PPE (personal protective equipment) and other essentials of firefighting. The cost to equip the majority of these volunteer firefighters with adequate PPE would in most cases be less then the coast of a heavy slurry drop or 2. This VFD, and many others like it, are the first line of defense against wildfire, and even with their poor funding and equipment situation, they still manage to extinguish over 90+% of the wildfires that start in their jurisdictions in the initial attack phase. Many fire service officials agree that initial attack resources, be they DNRC or local, are in great need of improvement.

    - According to the Billings Gazette there as 73 Million dollars spent on fighting fire in MT, FY2003. My first thought on this was how would this dollar figure factor into the state as a whole. 73 million spread over 56 counties 1,303,571$ per county. A simplified cost analysis of how many career fire fighters this would fund would be: 50,000 for wages and benefits for a career firefighter/EMT gives 26 firefigher/EMTs per county. These would be year round career firefighters with the added bonus of Emergency Medical Tech. Many rural counties struggle with funding their volunteer fire and EMS systems, and it seems to be a growing trend of fewer volunteers to go around. Many in rural communities wear more then one hat the way it is, even if they can only wear one at a time. If each county had 20+ career emergency service personnel the level of service to the citizens of MT would likely be significantly increased. This is in contrast to 73 million spent in the wildfire season on personnel that are often laid off at the seasons end, giving no further service to MT during the winter months, in EMS emergencies, and in other non wildfire related incidents. Career firefighter/EMTs would cover all aspects of emergency service, not just wildfire, and they would do it all year long.

    - If such a career system was put in place in MT, it would not be a replacement for the volunteer fire and EMS, but it would greatly aid those services in fulfilling their missions. The volunteers in the counties would still serve their jurisdiction and augment the career emergency personnel in response to all emergencies. In the case of wildfire, the volunteers would assist the career personnel in knock down of the blaze and then be freed up to go back to the other obligations. One of the greatest limiting factors for VFDs is that their personnel have to be relieved from incidents to go back to their work and businesses. Rural Montana asks so much of its volunteers, and they in return give much of themselves in service to their fellow citizens of MT. If each county had a small force of career emergency personnel, the personal sacrifice of the volunteers could be lessened, but no less appreciated.

    - 20+ career firefighters ready and waiting for wildfire starts in each county could potentially decrease the percentage of wildfires that grow beyond the initial attack phase and become extended attack incidents. If a wildfire does grow beyond the resources of the county agencies, mutual aid agreements with other counties, Federal wildfire agencies and such would be the next level of response. The final level would be calling in additional resources from further away. A system like this would vastly increase the initial attack strength of the state, and likely result in fewer fires that grow out of control.

    - The examples above were broken down by counties, but it might make more sense to break the state into regions. There are state agencies already in place that have this done, for example DNRC or MT DES. A regional approach would help limit overhead costs and help tailor the needs of the emergency services to each region.

    - With the current state of the world, and more enemies then ever trying to sneak through our borders, the concept of more rounded emergency services for Montana takes on a new light. With the US fighting the war on Terrorism, likely to be a lengthy one, increasing the capabilities of the first responders in MT is of great importance. While the grant monies have helped greatly in regards to equipment needs, we still only have so many volunteers to go around. The often used cliché is that we all wear a lot of hats in regards to MT emergency services. But the reality is we all only have one head, which means you can only wear one cap at a time. A force of career emergency service personnel across the state could offer untold benefit to homeland security issues in MT.

    - 1400 quality jobs are approximately what this concept would provide to MT. The money expended would stay in MT, not go to out of state contractors. The impact that 20+ decent paying jobs would have in many county communities is significant. In much of Eastern MT, adding 20+ quality jobs would be a huge explosion in growth and a welcome addition to the community. The residual effect of more kids in the schools, more families in the community, and more money supporting the local economy would be significant. This is in very sharp contrast to paying huge amounts of money to out of state contractors that come and go during the wildfire season. A significant amount of the salaries of these emergency personnel would cycle through the MT economy each year.

    - Another way to look at this comes when you take MT as a whole. With around 900,000 population, MT compares interestingly with some of the cities of that size. Many have fire departments of 1200+ personnel to serve their citizens as firefighter/EMTs.
    -Brotherhood: I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
    -Mistakes: It could be that the purpose of you life is to serve as a warning to others.

    -Adversity: That which does not kill me postpones the inevitable.

    -Despair: Its always darkest before it goes Pitch Black.

  6. #6
    the 4-1-4 Jasper 45's Avatar
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    This link will give you statistical data about virtually every city in the United States. It does not have data regarding fire departments that serve these cities, but it will give you an exact population as well as almost any other data you could imagine. It might help you pick out departments to research further.city data

  7. #7
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    Fairfax County Virginia Department of Fire and Rescue would be your best bet for the type of comparrison you are trying to make. It would work well becuase the population is around 946,000, it encompasses several orgainized volunteer fire departments, is progressive, and has a very large operating budget.

  8. #8
    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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    Cool And Another................

    Prince Georges County, Maryland. Population 830,000+ Combination Volunteer and Career Fire service, 312,000 Responses last year by approx 700 Career and 1750 Volunteers using 24 Ladder Trucks, 90 Engines, 14 Heavy Rescues, 12 Brush Rigs, 3 Tankers, 64 Ambulances, and a number of specialized units such as HazMat, Tech. Rescue, Bomb Squad, (That's Right, Bomb Squad. We don't let the cops do anything dangerous, we do it ourselves) And a bunch of other things. Area covered is about 430 Sq. Miles, and this area sees a lot of mutual aid responses on a daily basis.
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  9. #9
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    Chief Woods,
    Is that unit responses or calls? Eg. On a medic local you'll get a medic, engine, and ambulance; does that count as three responses or one?

    Eric

  10. #10
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    Samson,
    Based on the objective of your study, I would recommend focusing on career depts. in your region of the US as opposed to those that serve communities with populations in the 900,000 range. I've done a fair amount of research on FD funding/staffing US wide and once you get to a population regionally that maintains a career FD, you will not find much difference in funding (on a per capita basis) and staffing levels (on a # of a FD staff per 1000 or 10000 population) regardless of community size. (That is also the reason why small career depts can't typically run 4-5 man staffing on all of their apparatus; funding and staffing follow population so small community = low funding and staffing - that's often compounded by the fact that as community size goes down, population density goes down - spreading out fixed staffing even further)

    The significant differences are from region to region. As an example, if you chose to make a comparison to career FDs in New England, you would see funding in the $200/capita range, even up to $240-250 in select communities. For the 900,000 in Montana, that would translate into a budget approaching $200,000,000. Staffing would be in the 2300-2500 range, possibly even up to 3000 with lower pay scales and the higher end budget.

    That is in significant contrast to FDs in the western part of the US. Here you would looking in the $100 +/- per capita range so that would result in a budget of $90,000,000 +/-. Staffing for 900,000 in the west could be as low as 700 or so up to the 1000 + range.
    I tend to think comparisons to most midwestern and northeast/mid-atlantic career depts. wouldn't be that meaningful - I'd stick to maybe career FDs west of the Mississippi. I doubt the residents of Montana would be interested in funding FDs to same level per capita as let's say Boston. They don't even come close to that level of funding in LA or Phoenix, let alone more rural areas where they probably are at least somewhat more against government spending.
    Interesting study you are doing.

  11. #11
    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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    Originally posted by EricCSU
    Chief Woods,
    Is that unit responses or calls? Eg. On a medic local you'll get a medic, engine, and ambulance; does that count as three responses or one?

    Eric
    That is unit responses, which is the way we track everything. The actual number of incidents was around 122,000. You are correct about multiple units responding on some calls, but there are a lot of Ambulance calls where a BLS unit goes alone. Feb. of 03, we went to a single Engine dispatched on Automatic Fire Alarms as well as the occasional "local" where a single unit handles an Auto Fire, or a dumpster, or some Brush Fires. Structure Fires get a Minimum of 3 Engines, a Ladder Truck, and a Heavy Rescue. Many Medic locals get a BLS and an ALS Ambulance, some stations run a Engine when the info on the printout suggests that extra help will be needed.
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
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    Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

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    www.gdvfd18.com

  12. #12
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    Lightbulb City of San Antonio stats

    -SAFD serves approx. 1.14 million citizens within the city limts of San Antonio.
    -There are about 1020 FF assigned to the suppression division with a total of around 1600 personnel in the dept.
    - 49 stations, 48 motors(engines), 19 trucks, 32 ambulances
    - I have yet to find some definative budget numbers but I'll post them if I can find them.
    Last edited by SAFD46Truck; 05-28-2004 at 12:17 AM.

  13. #13
    Forum Member gunnyv's Avatar
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    Detroit, MI is down to about900,000-1,000,000 range. They have about 42 Engines, 23 ladders, 6 squads, and a seperate EMS division with about 20-25 ambulances. I believe they have about 1000 members.

  14. #14
    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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    Question Money?...................

    The paltry sum of a mere 73 million dollars was mentioned. How much of the 73m is local money from the state and how much is Federal? I don't think the Feds want to give that money to the state. But, who knows? Food for thought............
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
    In memory of
    Chief Earle W. Woods, 1912 - 1997
    Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

    IACOJ Budget Analyst

    I Refuse to be a Spectator. If I come to the Game, I'm Playing.

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