FD Man and Machine Strenght?
I would like to get a feel, to compaire and contrast, the strenght levels of rural FDs (metro are welcome to) in relation to the:
1 Size of their Coverage Area
2 Population Desnity
3 Fuel Types/Terrain/Calls
4 Hazards and disaster potential
5 Location (Western/Eastern US, Austrailia, Canada, etc...)
I would like to get a feel for where your strenght levels are at right now and where you would like them to be in about 5 years.
Metro departments feel free to chime in although your numbers are going to be very high in comparison, especialy if you consider square mileage covered!
We recently came up with a 5 year plan to bring our "firepower" up to a higher level to address our districts needs. I am curious as to what your thinking is as to what is realy needed for various fire districts as far as manpower and machinery.
I will start out with the fire district I live in.
1 730 Square Miles
2 About 1 person per square mile, about 700 total
3 Rolling Sage Prairy, some stands of pine, buts up against national forest/BLM land. Huge wildfire potential
4 Large Natural gas pipleines and curde oil lines, extensive oil field. Puts us in critical infrastucture.
5 Eastern Montana
Current Manpower is 28, one full company. There has been talk of opening up a second company based withing the city limits to allow for expansion up to about 32-36. There is some rule limiting the number at 28 because of voly retirement and insrance reasons or some BS.
2005 apparatus strenght
1000/1000 Class A pumper (Well worn out, plumbing all shot)
4400 Water Tender (Not GVW Legal)
1200 Water Tender (Not GVW Legal)
800 Gallon CAFS Wildland Heavy (Recently reworked, good unit)
2 Type 5 Wildland Engines (500 Gallon tank on F550)
6 Type 6 Wlldland Engines of various quality (200-400 gallon, some not GVW Legal)
1 Type 3 Wildland Engine (500/500) backup for Class A/CAFS unit, POS
I helped ths district board work up a plan to replace some of these units over the next 5 years.
Grant apps are/will be going out for a new rural pumper/tanker to replace the Class A.
The Water tender is to be replaced this year with a legal 3000 gallon tender.
In 2 years the 1200 gallon tender will hopefully be replaced with a 2000 gallon tender.
The 6 type 6 brush trucks well be replaced over time with the standard design Type 5 units.
Projected 2010 strenght
2500/1500 Rural Pumper Tanker (Foam Dragon)
3000/1000 Water Tender
2000/1000 Water Tender
800/ 250 CAFS Wildland Heavy
500/ 125 8xType 5 Wildland Engines
500/ 500 Type 3 Engine Reserve Unit (This may not stay around that long)
We also plan to place 2 quick fill depots to the north and south of the district so that there are 3 places to rapidly fill for water shuttle.
We are looking to improve the apparatus overall for safety and for general maintenace/upkeep. Keeping some of the old stuff running is no longer cost effective. We are also trying to keep up with the rapid oil industry expansion and the crazy wildland fire seasons we have been having.
We run all structure, wildland, and industrial fires for the district. The District next door handles the rescue/extrication. There is a county wide ambulance service seperate from us.
Needless to say we dont have a lot of structure fires...we would run out of structure realy fast if we did! We have about 5-10 residential/shop/barn fires a year.
The wildfire season can be a crazy thing in MT. We can have between 25-75 lightning caused fires a season. Some of these can get realy realy huge and last for up to a month. Needless to say that if we dont catch it in the intial attack stage (about the first 48 hours) then its going to evolve into an extended attack fire with DNRC/BLM/USFS stepping in.
We have a good number of vehicle fires mostly from the Agriculture and Oil industries, around 10 a year of various types. These range from old farm machinery going up from mechanical failure to big tanker trucks loaded will all sorts of hot burning goodies/hazmat goodies.
We do get called out on all MVAs to assist the other district. All of our guys are trained to some extent for rescue buts its not a primmary mission for us. About 10 calls a year in home district.
Similar thing with the EMS. We get called out on ocasion to assist the ambulance in lifting big'uns and in other neccessary situations, about 5 times a year.
Manpower is going to be the most difficult issue right now. We simply dont have a whole lot of people around here. We think we can scrape up another 10 or so volies, but we are at the same time going to be having some guys retire.
Thanks to some changes in the way the oil production taxes are levied we can possibly manage the apparatus updating with the exception of the Pumper Tanker which we are saving pennies for and applying for grants for. We have operates on happy thoughts and begging before, but the next few years should play out much differently the before as long as the price of oil stays high which is likely.
We are not forseeing a major residential or population development trend right now, only minor growth, but that can change if the economic environment brought on by the oil industry keeps momentum going.
Compaired to many places in MT we are growing very slowly.
I hope to see if we are in the right strenght range in comparison to similar districts or even non similar districts.