Thread: Increasing Level of Staffing
04-16-2006, 12:56 PM #1
Increasing Level of Staffing
First off I would like to say hello, 4yrs on the job (Firefighter/Paramedic), with a 5 station dept in South Florida. Our department recently had a strategic planning meeting to get in put from the front line crews, and to let the front line crews hear what the higher ups(40hr) would like to see change in the department.
I volunteered to do some research on increasing the staffing on some of our units. Just to give you all an idea we have 5engines (2als-1 of which is cross staffing with a 100ft platform) 1 truck(cross-staff as mentioned), 5 rescues(the south florida type, up north they are called ambulances,the box.....)2brush trucks, 1light/air truck, 1DC vehicle, 1EMS superviser vehicle. We run 3 on every engine( along with the truck only when the crew from the cross staffed engine jump on it. 2 minimum on the resuces sometimes 3 with staffing level's are fat.
1----We as a department would like to see 3personnel on all rescues, and at least 3personnel on all supression units(this meaning staffing the truck full time).
Right know are supervision on calls would be the LT on the supression unit, with only a Lead Medic(which could be a 1yr medic just of probation and passed protcol testing with a 3mth proby). And if is a 3person rescue we could go shifts (24/48) without running a single call with that superviser(being that 80% of our call volume is medical.)
2--We would like to also see CPT on the supression units with LT on the rescues to place some supervisory on the units that the public see the most in there time of need.
What I was hoping for is for the wide range of knowledge,experience, and departments on here is to throw some input on how to sell this to City Councilperson, a City manager.
Thanks for all your time.
04-17-2006, 09:41 AM #2
- Join Date
- Oct 2002
- The North East
Me? I'd: Staff the supression units with as many ffers you can with a LT and bump the rescues back to 2 ff/EMSers and run an engine and a bus to each medical call. You'd get the LT on most (if otherwise tied up) have more hands at the scene and transport with 1 in the box unless more are needed, then a ff comes off the engine to transport. Also, I'd staff the truck co. asap and not allow them to put a firefighter in the box. That is to say, you only got one truck don't short change it! With five engines I'd rather be short where I had multiple resources. I know FL runs tons of EMS units with 3. I've never fully understood this. We run 2 in the bus and 75-80% the time they're all set without any assistance. I'd always rather put more guys on the supression units and then back up the ambo if needed (or make it automatic if you have too). My thoughts are staff you trucks with in these prioritization: Truck Co. and/or Rescue Co., Engines, ambo's.
I know Newport RI runs a similar kind of staffing. 3 on an eng, 3 on the truck, but the Lt of the Truck runs on the bus? and leaves 2 ffers on the truck? I couldn't believe this when I heard it from the guys on the floor. Getting promoted to LT means being banished to the bus? NO WAY!
04-17-2006, 05:06 PM #3
- Join Date
- Nov 2001
my 2 centsOriginally Posted by jgreenpbgfr
04-17-2006, 09:26 PM #4
Thanks cheffie, thats the kinda of info I was looking for, even though we have already been told by the chief that NFPA 1710(I believe thats the right one) is not solid enough by its self, something along the lines of NFPA is not a law, nor mandate.
04-18-2006, 10:29 AM #5
- Join Date
- Nov 2001
I disagree a bit with your chief. I will get back to this thread a bit later when I can pull out my research skills to back up my statement. However, NFPA standards can have the same weight as a law. Certainly in the case of 1500 and some of the nationally recognized standards that are accepted they can carry some weight. I'll see what I can do to help at least point you in the direction of some research but as I said try the USFA site as well.
be back later..
04-18-2006, 12:19 PM #6
- Join Date
- Jul 2002
I think you need to convince the VOTERS of the need. The electorate tends to listen to common sense arguments made by people they trust ( such as firefighters).
If you can make a convincing argument to the voters then the council members will want to palce themselves on the right side (your side) of the issue.
Here is where 1710 is helpful, convince the voters that the national standards while voluntary are meaningful and protect them as much as they protect you.
So ask for the national standards and maybe compromise to a lower number along with a plan for growth.
This is can be done but a huge undertaking. We were successful using these tactics. But it wont happen overnight
Make no mistake this is a huge undert
04-18-2006, 11:05 PM #7
- Join Date
- Nov 2001
I have a few thoughts and questions to throw your way jgreen.
You don't say how busy your department is. What level of public education do you provide? Does your department do inspections, fire prevention etc? If you want to justify adding more personnel to the department, that translates into dollars and cents to the city managers. Additional personnel also translate into more money needed for training, salaries, benefits etc. You need to be able to justify the expense beyond the fact that you will now have 3 personnel on each truck. If you want to submit a good documented research paper to increase funding for your fire department, (which is basically what you are asking for), then what you need to do is a community risk assessment (i.e. what kind of structures do you have, is your community growing at a fast rate, do you have any colleges in your area, senior communities etc. Also if you don't have any type of fire prevention programs, that could be incorporated into your research. Show the city manages that if they increase funding, you will have more personnel to target the high risk groups like the elderly, young children with public education programs (as you wonít always be on calls). NFPA has some great reports and so does the USFA website. All are documented reports.
What you need to show the managers is why they should give the FD more money as opposed to the PD or the DPW or any of the other municipal services that want their share of the pie. Also, what if any codes and standards has your municipality adopted?
Although NFPA codes and standards are not law, they can still be referenced in court cases if there are issues of liability (and you can bet the defense attorney will do his homework). Are you an OSHA state? You have taken on a big project. If you present a well documented research paper that is backed up with statistics to show how the benefits will outweigh the costs of funding additional personnel, you can win.
Good luck to you. I hope I helped.
04-18-2006, 11:45 PM #8
Cheffie is the MAN
First off thank sono44. Cheffie THANK YOU, your last reply is a HUGE help, great stuff. And now to answer those questions with the best of my ability. 1-We average anywhere from 5-8 calls a shift per station(out of 5) during the off season(when all the northerners go back home. Then 6-12 during the(busy season) when the northerners return around October-February. 2--As for pub ed, we have a pub ed specialist who arranges, and sometimes attends, B-day parties at the stations, smoke detector installation's, child seat installtions, participate in special parades (such as christmas,4july,easter), and some other stuff I am sure I forgot. 3--Inspections/Prevention our Life Safety Division typically handles these, and are setup by the citizens and with regards to the availibility of the schedule of our 4inspectors.
We have a extremly fast growing city with 27 new communities being built in the next 3yrs, with 3 new high rises(at least for us these are high rises) 2-14 story and 1-18 story(I believe) we are the largest city if not in the top2 in Palm Beach County. We have 1-community college, 3highschools, 2middle schools and numerous elementary schools private and public. We have off the top of my head 5-6 nursing homes. 1-1story, 1-3story, 1-6story, and other residential homes converted to nursing homes/special consideration homes. We have a large mix of commerical,industrial,and residential structures in the city, and still more to come with about half of the city still undeveloped. I believe florida is not a OSHA state(but not for certain). As for codes/standards I am not sure on that one, but I am on shift wednesday(tommorrow) and will try to find out.
Last edited by jgreenpbgfr; 04-18-2006 at 11:49 PM.
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