Columbia needs more firefighters
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - The Columbia Fire Department "does not
maintain sufficient personnel" and "fails to meet performance
objectives described in current industry standards," according to
a risk analysis conducted by the International Association of Fire
Columbia Chief Bradley Anderson said he hopes money from the
U.S. Department of Homeland Security will help remedy the problem.
Eight of the department's fire stations have only one paid
firefighter on duty at all times - an engineer who drives the
Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations
require that at least four firefighters be on a scene before they
can start fighting fires.
That's not a problem in the city, but in the county, a fire call
means rounding up firefighters from other stations. That costs
The department wants nearly $1.4 million to hire 29 engineers so
it can staff at least two firefighters at its county stations that
rely heavily on volunteers.
The department hopes to get that money from the Department of
Homeland Security's Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency
"It's stressful at times knowing that you're going to get on
that truck and run a call and not know if anyone else is going to
show up," said James Ballentine, an engineer at the Capital View
station who says he's lucky if gets one volunteer per call.
"I'm my own engineer, my own captain and my own firefighter if
need be," he said.
Anderson requested the additional money from the Richland County
Council, but was denied. The county gave permission for the
department to apply for the grant, but the County Council still has
to approve the grant, said Michael Byrd, emergency services
director for Richland County.
"We have to evaluate them to make sure they fit into the
county's financial situation," he said. "If the grant runs out,
where is the funding going to come from to pick up whatever
commitment we've made?"
While the county has added 80 paid fire positions since 1990,
but the county's population has grown by almost 49,000 people.
"That's more stuff that we have to protect," Anderson said.
"We're just basically trying to catch up with the development."
In addition to the 29 county firefighters, the department is
requesting 14 positions for some of its county rescue units, 15 to
staff a ladder company in the St. Andrews area and 15 battalion
chief aides. That brings the total grant request to about $6.8
million over four years. The amount of the grant reduces each year
and the county makes up the difference until the fifth year, when
the county would pay the full amount.
Information from: The State, http://www.thestate.com
(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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07-29-2005, 03:50 AM #1
Columbia SC needs more firefightersProudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
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07-29-2005, 10:55 AM #2
And they applicants out the A%%.Jacktee
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