1. #1
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    Default How to staff the stations..........

    hey everyone. ive been on the forums several times asking for advice on things concerning my department. now dont get me wrong, we do have fine leadership, but i like to come on firehouse and get others opinions on things and bring these suggestions to the other members on issues. so thanks to those who have given me good info. but i have another question........

    my department is 100% volunteer. we recieve absolutely $0 for our services. however, because of the amount of calls we recieve, and because the majority of our drivers work during the day, we have a real problem with getting someone to the station during the day at working hours to get our engine to respond to incidents. some days we may not get a single call, and some days we may get 3 or 4 back to back. and as i said before, most of our drivers are at work during the weekdays at work hours. we are currently an ISO 8. we want, of course, to lower this and the only thing stoping us from going to a 7 is a 24/7 staffed station, or basically someone who can always be there to respond. we would like to find a way to get support from the community to maybe pay like $5 a month to pay people to staff our stations. we thought about sending out letters asking for support. the county population is about 50,000, and our protection district protects about 10,000 people. we of course respond mutual aid to other districts. we would like to at least get two people who can get the engines to the call, but we would REALLY like about 4 or 5 people to staff our station so we can have 2 drivers and 2 or 3 people to start suppression. and we will still keep our volunteers to respond also.

    so basically i am asking how can we get the money we need to pay people to staff our station at least during working hours, if not 24/7. thanks everyone. stay safe

  2. #2
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    Thumbs up Well............

    We staff the station all the time, but money isn't involved. We do whatever it takes (within reason) to get people to hang out at the station. Things like supplies and a place INSIDE to wash your car, a coffee pot in the kitchen with coffee and trimmings provided, several TVs, several Computers, A male bunkroom with space for 12 and a Female Bunkroom with space for 6, Comfotable Lounge area with a Widescreen TV, and so on. Despite being a Volunteer FD, we do not depend on anyone coming from home on calls, we run with the crews that are in house. Operating this way gets us on the street in about 45 Seconds. Works good for us.
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  3. #3
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    OK, I'm confused

    Are you looking for advice on how to get your volunteers to staff the stations or for actually hiring FT firefighters? Your post is not real clear as what you are trying to acheive.

    Gonna be a tough job to get volunteers to staff the stations, without making it a requirement, like it is in Harve's neck of the woods. Depending on your response time to the station, is it really that much of an issue?

    You might get a few folks, primarily the younger members to do it for a few bucks an hour, but gonna be very tough to get the older members who have famalies, second jobs and the like to hang out. One thing to look at .. if you are going to pay them, by your state law, does that change thier status from volunteers to employees? Will that affect what insurance you need to carry? Does that change your status in the eyes of your state OSHA regs? Are you ready to deal with payroll and witholdings and all of the other paperwork that will go along with that? Who is going to be responsible for supervising the folks at the station and documenting/confirming the hours they put in?

    Not trying to rain on your parade, but this is the kind of stuff you have to think about once money becomes envolved.

    Harve makes good points in that you may be able to get folks to hang out the station simply by making it more comfortable. A nice TV, nice chairs, computer or two, a kitchen that has enough appliances to actually cook a meal, et. will almost always attract folks. Maybe a point system for station time or tasks that need to be done at the station with some type of non-monetary award as an incentive. Maybe company functions each night of the week so a few folks are there.

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    It is highly unlikely that staffing a station with one driver will have any affect on your ISO rating. ISO wants full company responses, so unless you have lots of guys waiting to be driven to the scene by certified driver, your real issue with ISO is getting a full company to the scene fast enough. With that in mind HWOODS's solution is probably the most realistic. or a combination. Don't feel alone, most volunteer, paid call and combination depts seem to be having trouble getting enough people out the door fast these days.

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    One thing you can do is incorporate a living area in the station. We have done that with the 3 busiest stations in our district. Each living quarter can house 3-4 firefighters. The best way for it to work is recruit some younger firefighters (college students or people that just graduated and are ready to get out of their parents house). Then you can either give them free rent, or like us, charge $75 a month which includes the utilities. You can take that rent and put it back into the station to attract more people. We are working on getting a pool table for our station to get more people here. But in turn for the cheap rent, we have to put in atleast 4 hours of work (detailing trucks, station maintaince, or public relations) and atleast 60 hours of in-service time at the station (count your hours sleeping here and it adds up quick). ISO will also look at live-ins and the quicker response times to help you out. You are basically running a full-time department without all the hassle and pay for a full-time crew.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KevinFFVFD View Post
    we are currently an ISO 8. we want, of course, to lower this and the only thing stoping us from going to a 7 is a 24/7 staffed station, or basically someone who can always be there to respond.
    You do know that there are other ways to raise your ISO rating, right? By far the easiest of which, IMO, is working on your water supply. You might want to max out your other possibilities before trying to staff stations.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KevinFFVFD View Post
    we are currently an ISO 8. we want, of course, to lower this and the only thing stoping us from going to a 7 is a 24/7 staffed station, or basically someone who can always be there to respond.
    There are thousands of departments out there that have lowered their ISO
    WITHOUT having any paid personnel. Who told you that having paid personnel would be the magic bullet?

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    Kevin,better start studying your ISO requirements.We're a Class 4/9 town,0 FT personnel.And once we demonstrate the required fireflow outside the hydranted district with AMA,the 9 will go bye bye.Water,response,and communications are HUGE parts/points of the ISO system.Start studying and see what you CAN do instead of DREAMING what you'd like to do.Little tweaks in "soft" areas can pay big dividends.When the inspector comes in they will look at everything including response to AFAs which are considered as "structural"responses.We got spanked for that and revised our policies.There are literally hundreds of small changes you can do for short/no money that will really improve the total points.So get acquainted with the formula and see where improvements can be made.I'm guessing paid staff will NOT be one of those areas. T.C.

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