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  1. #1
    Forum Member Weruj1's Avatar
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    Exclamation TO much "extraordianry service" .......so ........LETS CUT IT !

    Report Says Milwaukee Could Cut Staffing



    Updated: 10-13-2005 05:08:00 PM
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    GREG J. BOROWSKI, Staff,
    Milwaukee Journal Sentinel



    A new report on Milwaukee Fire Department staffing from an outside consulting firm bolsters Mayor Tom Barrett's move in the 2006 budget to reduce the number of firefighters on many rigs from five to four.

    Indeed, the report says the proposed reduction could be applied to even more trucks, creating additional savings while still meeting national standards for response times. One reason: The city's network of 37 firehouses means many trucks and firefighters are often close by.

    "It's really one of the densest overlaps of coverage we've seen," Travis Miller of Texas-based Matrix Consulting Group told aldermen Wednesday. "Your ability to deliver units, and more importantly your ability to deliver personnel, is really extraordinary.

    "It is an extraordinary investment and really an extraordinary level of service you are providing."

    He appeared before the Common Council's Finance and Personnel Committee, which is also considering Barrett's 2006 budget proposal.

    Fire Chief William Wentlandt and a union official challenged the findings, signaling that they will push to get aldermen to restore the 36 positions targeted for elimination. The positions are vacant, with staffing needs met through overtime.

    They argued the changes would put the lives of city residents - and firefighters - at risk, particularly because in most cases the first unit on the scene will have fewer firefighters on it.

    "We're at the point where we're being decimated in our ability to do and perform service," said Bobbie Webber, a top fire union official, later adding, "This is not a scare tactic."

    Wentlandt said he was not comfortable with the proposed cuts from Barrett and added that the report "under-serves our community and under-serves our Fire Department."

    Coincidentally, on Wednesday morning the department held its annual ceremony honoring firefighters killed in the line of duty at the city's Fallen Firefighter Memorial at 755 N. Lovell Drive.

    Aldermen initiated study

    The report's recommendations could put aldermen in a tricky situation. Some on the council want to restore the firefighter positions. But aldermen - not Barrett - were the ones to initiate the study, which cost $50,000.

    Ald. Michael Murphy moved to insert the money into this year's budget for the study at the same time the council put off Barrett's proposal to expand the staffing reductions that began under former Mayor John O. Norquist.

    The report also calls for eliminating two deputy chief positions and combining responsibilities at a projected savings of about $225,000. That was not proposed by Barrett in his 2006 budget but could be picked up by aldermen seeking further ways to save money.

    The staffing cuts, which the budget office refers to as "staffing standardization," are being fought strongly by the city's firefighters union. At a public hearing Monday night, nearly 200 firefighters turned out to ask aldermen to restore the positions.

    Barrett's proposal would reduce the staffing on eight ladder companies and four engine companies from five to four, at a savings of about $1.8 million.

    In all, 36 positions are involved, since firehouses are staffed on a one-day-on, two-day-off basis. That is, 12 positions are involved for each of three 24-hour shifts.

    Murphy said the cut would be hard to restore, since aldermen have only about $700,000 of wiggle room before exceeding a state cap on spending. Doing so would mean the city would lose $10 million in state aid in 2007.

    "Clearly, there would have to be cuts (made by the council) in other departments," he said.

    City well-covered

    The report says the staffing on virtually all trucks could be reduced to four, in part because the city has such an extensive network of firehouses. That would save about $3.2 million.

    In past years, the city began to cut the staffing on fire engines from five to four.

    In all, according to the budget office, there are 37 fire engines - one at each firehouse. In addition, there are 16 ladder trucks, for a total of 53 units that can respond to calls.

    According to the report, even at the reduced staffing level, the city would be able to get 24 firefighters on the scene - its protocol for fully involved structure fires - within eight minutes of a call in 88% of the cases.

    National standards call for having 15 firefighters on the scene within 8 minutes in at least 90% of the cases.

    The city exceeds that standard, and would continue to do so, according to city budget officials.

    Wentlandt questioned the way the report was put together, including the assumptions it used for travel time from firehouses to locations throughout the city.

    Other cities surveyed

    The report surveyed about a dozen other cities and said that of those, only two - Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. - staffed ladder trucks with five people.

    In his comments, Wentlandt said a 2002 national report found that many more than half the cities with a population of more than 500,000 people had five firefighters on each truck.

    The report, though, indicated that for cities with between 500,000 and 999,000 people, about 17% had five or more people on each ladder truck. Only 3% had five or more on engine trucks.
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  2. #2
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    They must have forgotten to look 90 miles down the road. 5 on the engine, 5 on the truck here. Cutting manpower is not a good idea!

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    Forum Member SpartanGuy's Avatar
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    We asked for another paid position before the change in our municipal council. One councilman, who is no longer with us (heh, heh) INSISTED on bringing in some sort of specialist on municipal funding and staffing issues. He had no fire service background. His argument to us, a combination department with four paid firefighters at the time was, 'go back to volunteers. Town XYZ did it.'

    And that was his justification.


    To put it shortly, I don't put much stock in supposed experts who've never stretched a handline or fired up the Hurst tool.
    "Captain 1 to control, retone this as a structure and notify the fire chief...."

    Safety is no accident.

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    Forum Member Dave1983's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChicagoFF
    They must have forgotten to look 90 miles down the road. 5 on the engine, 5 on the truck here.
    Were so used to 3 or 4 on a rig I dont know what we would do with 5 & 5. Maybe trip over each other.

    I like that report, it says they have great service...so cut it. Boneheads.
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  5. #5
    EuroFirefighter.com PaulGRIMWOOD's Avatar
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    Civilian deaths from fires are steadily dropping .... Firefighter death rates are steadily rising .... wonder which of these stats the (worldwide) cuts will affect most!

  6. #6
    Cpt. Common Sents nbfcfireman's Avatar
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    I understand that need to cut budgets. BUt if your town is known for great fire service and responce times and overlapping districts. then spend the money and keep it great. no one want to live in an area that has 'ok' fire protection. so it costs the city a few million out of a multi million dollar budget. That means what, taxes are now $10 higher. Screw the consulting firm, do what is right and the best for the citizens and the employees!!

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    Forum Member DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    "It's really one of the densest overlaps of coverage we've seen," Travis Miller of Texas-based Matrix Consulting Group told aldermen
    Well, Mr. Miller and company do not live in Milwaukee. Cuts in the MFD's staffing would not affect him whatsoever.

    Fire Chief William Wentlandt and a union official challenged the findings, signaling that they will push to get aldermen to restore the 36 positions targeted for elimination. The positions are vacant, with staffing needs met through overtime.
    And I wonder how long it will take for the Mayor and aldermen to start whining to the Chief that his overtime costs are outrageous and need to be cut?

    Posted by Paul Grimwood
    Civilian deaths from fires are steadily dropping .... Firefighter death rates are steadily rising .... wonder which of these stats the (worldwide) cuts will affect most!
    A very astute point of view, sir!
    Last edited by CaptainGonzo; 10-21-2005 at 06:59 AM. Reason: spelling error.. I hate that!
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
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    Forum Member backsteprescue123's Avatar
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    Are you kidding me!?!?!? Do you go to school somewhere to get that stupid? You're doing too good of a job so we'll take some of your manpower away so you can just be average. I don't understand where they are coming from.
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    MembersZone Subscriber InAndUp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrojanHorse
    Did they take into account hte ISO rating for the city? Did they look at NFPA standards and the OSHA regulations? How many fire fighters are currently on staff? How many administrative postioins are there? What is the annual budget? What percentage of a cut does this represent? All questions that really be answered before anyone can comment on this.

    But one good thing they did is recommend cutting 2 chiefs positions. But perhaps a better measure would be to flatten the hierarchy altogether, that is, eliminate one level of management.

    However, Without knowing a great deal about the department, like most of us, it is hard to really comment on this. What about combing stations so you have 2 or 3 trucks in a station instead of 1? Or maybe use the IC system and put 5 to 7 in a station. After all, that is what one persons span of control should be.
    I am now dumber after reading this post.

  10. #10
    the 4-1-4 Jasper 45's Avatar
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    The Matrix group came in, as a hired gun for the city. They had one purpose only, to provide recommendations for cuts.
    The main contention for their finding is that with the "overlap", 2nd and third due companies are onscene mere minutes after the first due.
    The proposed cuts are about as ridiculous as they seem, but, they have proven that they can cut anytime they wish to and, without any reason.
    The general feeling of our local is that our fifth man is gone from the engines for good, but our trucks should be left alone.
    After all, a city with a soaring crime and murder rate is generally one in which it's tax base is eroding. I guess they want to send our fire death rates through the roof as well.

    The department run's 37 engine houses; 37 engine companies, 16 ladder companies and 12 paramedic units which are divided into 6 battalions. The department responded to just under 94,000 alarms last year with 2900 structure fires. Total authorized strength, prior to our first round of cuts last year was 1100 sworn personnel.
    Just an FYI, Mayor Barrett was highly endorsed by Local-215; gratitude comes in mysterious ways, I guess.

  11. #11
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    Default A sell out to the Human race

    Anyone know if this report is online somehwere...I can't find it through a search.

    This is typical nonsense from desk jockey coward civilians who entire purpose on this plannet is to endanger you, the brothers, and the civilians by their condecending reports and "fact" finding reports.

    Anyone notice that their argument that "cities XYZ don't staff 5" basicly lacks any sound reasoning...other than cities XYZ might be utlizing an understaffed and unprepared Fire Department. And that the argument could eventually be used to say...well this city uses only 3 FFs...etc.

    Just the same...perhaps MFD is leading the way and the other cities should be looking at it as we only staff 4..perhaps we should staff up to 5 to match the Milwaukee standard...why is it they only see the glass as half empty and not half full?

    I also wonder if this sissy-mary Mr. Travis Miller would advocate cutting the local Fire Dept that protects his wife and children in Texas while he is away undercutting the safety and quality of performance of other cities FDs. This guy as far as I'm concerned has no redeming qualities as a human...he is selling out his own speicies for the almightly dollar...that has to be at least 1 of the 7 deadly sins that I can think of.

    I would love to drag this coward in a suit crying for mommy and ****ing his pants down a hallway or into a cellar job. I think it would behove someone to actually invite these clowns to a live burn...and I don't mean some controled environment burn building with propane....I mean a real honest to god all-hands job where the smoke is black as oil and the heat is just below the point where your flesh would burn (hell I'd take some burns just to see this guy gets some as well).

    Before you accuse me of being reckless or careless in endagering this guys life (I find little worth in his) by taking him to a real fire where he (and the brothers for that matter) could be severly injured or killed. Think of this...by promulgating his careless logic through this report he is endagering the lives of the Brothers in the MFD and all residents and visitors to Milwaukee. So I think it is very appropraite that he get a clear picture of what is at stake. A propane burn building just wont do it. Get some experienced inner city firemen to take him right to the edge where he cries like the b*tch that he really is, ****es his panties and show him what real men do for a living and what it takes to get the job done...then he might just understand the error of his ways...then again he will probably won't...but at least he will know what a coward he really is.

    FTM-PTB

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    Quote Originally Posted by TrojanHorse
    Did they take into account hte ISO rating for the city? Did they look at NFPA standards and the OSHA regulations? How many fire fighters are currently on staff? How many administrative postioins are there? What is the annual budget? What percentage of a cut does this represent? All questions that really be answered before anyone can comment on this.
    There are no questions that need to be answered in my mind for me to say cutting manning is never a good idea. Really, which man do you think doesn't do an important job? Are you gonna cut one of the roof men? only send one to the roof? Are you gonna cut one of the guys going in the front? No? Then are you going to cut the rear man and not force the rear or start a search there? Who would you cut? Maybe MKE divides their truck crews differently, but you get the point.


    However, Without knowing a great deal about the department, like most of us, it is hard to really comment on this. What about combing stations so you have 2 or 3 trucks in a station instead of 1? Or maybe use the IC system and put 5 to 7 in a station. After all, that is what one persons span of control should be.
    2 or 3 truck houses? Or 5 - 7? What do you tell the people who's response times have now just doubled or tripled about where their truck went? "Sorry, the truck is now three miles away, just tell johnny to hold his breath"? Like others have said, they have a great department that should be held up as an example to other cities - not cut!

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    I agree Chicago...I'm not sure I understand the purpose or reasoning behind putting more than an Engine and a Ladder in one house.(we only have one house with two engines...however it is for very specific reasons of being on the edge of the city and on a peninsula,limited access.)

    This is another example of why assinging positions and tools for companies is critical to fighting for increased staffing and maintaining current levels. Those who don't define fire ground roles will find it hard to argue for any staffing level whether it be 3,4,5 or 6.

    FTM-PTB

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trojan
    The reasoning to put multiple pieces of equipment in a single house is to cut overhead expenses. It's pretty simple. Cut the overhead and then you have more money for the real stuff.
    Yes we all understand that, however we are located in firehouses every few miles due to response time issues. As opposed to Police Precints where the manpower is based out of but doesn't necessarily respond we must have our resourses spread out evenly in our cities. By placing more than one Engine or Ladder in a firehouse you are duplicating that service for that area and leaving another area with less service when a single Engine could be placed down the road improving overall service instead of localizing and focusing adequate reponse times around the main firehouse.

    I think that was a concept in the Early to Mid 70s called the "Task Force concept" and I don't know of any city that still clings to it when building new firehouses today.

    What you are basicly are arguing for is a concept that is prevelant in Central and South American countries as well as many foriegn countries(and colonies of France and England) in the Far East where the entire fire department is located in one or two firehouses....Firehouses with 8-12 appratus doors and an army of men in one spot. Needless to say no civilian in any developed city in this country would stand for response times around the 10-15 min range. I'm not sure we are looking to follow the lead of countries like Mexico anytime soon.

    The real cost these clowns are looking at is obviously manpower not the relatively minor expenditure of firehouses...that are already paid for, care and maintenance and utilites and appratus. All are very small savings in compairsion to staffing and would actually affect the response times that the civilians notice. (They still notice how long a fire Engine takes to arrive...regardless if there is 4 or 5 men on it.)

    FTM-PTB

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    Quote Originally Posted by TrojanHorse
    Did they take into account hte ISO rating for the city? Did they look at NFPA standards and the OSHA regulations? How many fire fighters are currently on staff? How many administrative postioins are there? What is the annual budget? What percentage of a cut does this represent? All questions that really be answered before anyone can comment on this.

    But one good thing they did is recommend cutting 2 chiefs positions. But perhaps a better measure would be to flatten the hierarchy altogether, that is, eliminate one level of management.

    However, Without knowing a great deal about the department, like most of us, it is hard to really comment on this. What about combing stations so you have 2 or 3 trucks in a station instead of 1? Or maybe use the IC system and put 5 to 7 in a station. After all, that is what one persons span of control should be.
    Your total lack of knowledge about ICS and how a fire department operates is absolutley astounding... yet you feel compelled to give advice to others on how to run their departments.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
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    We have houses spread out over the city to cut response time.As we all know,fire can double it size every minute that it burns.
    Every minute spent in a rig crossing the city is a minute that loses more of a house.
    It may save money for this or next year's budgets to close a station or two or park a truck and re staff it with an on duty or on-call company like Paducah does with a ladder out of Station 1,but a few years down the road when the reason for that idea is forgotten,do you think that the people burned out or worse will appreciate the city's financial savvy?


    Quote Originally Posted by TrojanHorse
    The reasoning to put multiple pieces of equipment in a single house is to cut overhead expenses. It's pretty simple. Cut the overhead and then you have more money for the real stuff.

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    Quote by FFRED: What you are basicly are arguing for is a concept that is prevelant in Central and South American countries as well as many foriegn countries(and colonies of France and England) in the Far East where the entire fire department is located in one or two firehouses....Firehouses with 8-12 appratus doors and an army of men in one spot. Needless to say no civilian in any developed city in this country would stand for response times around the 10-15 min range.

    London is a city in which most of the stations have two or more apparatus bays, and which at one time would have housed two pieces of pumping apparatus plus a certain number of those stations would house the specials, TL. ET, HLL FT, etc, etc, One of the reasons that the average London station was a two appliance station was that the Fire Brigade districts were split into risk categories, namely 'A' 'B' 'C' and 'D' in most large cities the heavily populated industrial and commercial areas were designated as 'A' Risk areas, the home office stipulated that 'A' risk areas would attract a normal attendance of three pumpling appliances, at least one of which would be a pump escape, two of those pumps had to arrive within three minutes and the third in eight minutes (my memory is getting rusty, so I may not have the times exact) Therefore it made sense to house a Pump Escape and Pump at a station, thereby ensuring that for all normal occassions you would have at least 10 firemen on the initial call in an 'A' risk area. (4 on the PE, 3 on each P). Alas now the Brigades now do not have that ability, pumps have been taken off from many stations, which would not be so bad if the crews from those pumps were still available to attend fires, but unfortunately thats not the case, Its the routine calls that need the pumps, not the real big jobs, where the pump is basically an expensive taxi to get the crews to the scene.

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    Exclamation Try this

    Kansas City is about in the center of the U.S. Why not build a giant fire station and put all the fire equipment and personnel from across the nation in the one station?

    Heck, we would only need one fire chief.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TrojanHorse
    That is because they have to account for benefits and overhead.
    Really? Who'd have imagined?

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    Trojan,

    I stated "developed city".

    You've made it very clear you live in the middle of nowhere upstate NY and it is sparsly populated. It is neither a city nor I imagine "developed" to any degree. I don't know of any major city in this country protected by vollies with 15 min response times. Do you know of any? The article and thread is discussing cities and staffing studies, specificly Milwaukee.

    So actually your post isn't responsive to the topic on this thread...if it were in the volly forums, maybe...but your example here is irrelevant.

    Funny a volly explaining to us about the costs of manpower in a career department...and I thought all those numbers at the bottom of my check for my pension and health benefits represented play money.

    FTM-PTB

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