Staffed Fire Department vs Call Department

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Staffed Fire Department vs Call Department

Post by Z on Tue Dec 30, 2008 1:16 pm

I was listening to the scanner last night. There was a chimney fire on the East Andover Rd. The first Rumford truck went right out. Then the Mexico truck went. The next truck to go out was a Rumford truck. No less than five minutes later. The next truck after that was Rumfords tank 5. That took no less than 10 minutes to get on the road. Now, let's think about time. An engine carries a little water. That is because it relies on a water supply, such as a tanker. Maybe several tankers dumping water into a portable dump tank. For those who don't really know what a portable dump tank is, it is basically an industrial strength wading pool. Ok, we now have an engine with a little water, which it can empty in less than one minute. Now if that was the case, how long would they have to wait for water. Looks like 10 minutes at least. How far can a fire progress in ten minutes? Well, there are alot of factors involved, but worst case scenario, a fire can progress from a contained chimney fire to a fully involved structure fire in ten minutes.

This is not a "don't have a call force" post. this is a "staffed fire department augmented witha call force" post. Call forces are valuable assets. The staffed fire department can respond immediately. The call force can respond (if they are in the area) and start rotating through the attack, rather than being the initial attack ten minutes or more after a staffed department could have been there.

So, go ahead and cut the Fire Department Rumford. But don't complain when they don't respond as quickly as you would like them to. People have to work at jobs that pay. Alot of those jobs are outside the River Valley. Initial attack on a fire is critical. Why delay it?

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Re: Staffed Fire Department vs Call Department

Post by KevinNSaisi on Tue Dec 30, 2008 2:52 pm

The cuts made this past year were done blindly. There was little trust in the validity of information being presented to justify the budget. Some had the agenda of cutting the budget regardless of impact, but without trusted information to counter the effort, the whims of the few were followed.

This year Gary Wentzell is developing the budget. he is looking carefully at each line item and sub-account to make sure that there is accountability for the expenditures, and the money is being used wisely. By being transparent, and disclosing how every dollar is spent, it makes it more difficult for those who want to cut blindly to justify the cuts.

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Re: Staffed Fire Department vs Call Department

Post by marktripp on Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:12 pm

There have been a few cases locally where the call VS career has really shown. It just harder and harder to get people to get involved when there is so much training that is required plus convincing their bosses to allow them to leave if there is a fire is a thing of the past, for most people.

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Re: Staffed Fire Department vs Call Department

Post by KevinNSaisi on Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:16 pm

Mark,
What are the standards for applicants? In the past 20 years I applied no less than five times without reply. Unfortunately, my schedule now leaves little time for such activities, but you could have had me for 15-20 years if someone had only replied.
Kevin

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Re: Staffed Fire Department vs Call Department

Post by marktripp on Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:19 pm

Kevin,

I have no hand in the pot when it comes to your situation, what I am stating is once you have been accepted the state mandates alone are a lot of training, unless of course the AHJ is willing to stick his or her neck out on the line and do a little fudging.

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Re: Staffed Fire Department vs Call Department

Post by KevinNSaisi on Tue Dec 30, 2008 6:38 pm

Okay Mark, let's leave me out of it... What are the requirements to be on the call force, and what the heck is a AHJ???

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Re: Staffed Fire Department vs Call Department

Post by marktripp on Tue Dec 30, 2008 7:46 pm

Kevin,

If you are talking Rumford specific one would need to come to the station and get an application. In that application there is a background check. Once that comes back then you would be notified to come in at your leisure and take a short test. Once that is done the generally have a little oral board interview then you need to go and get the necessary medical clearances. Once that is done you would then have to start pecking away at the Maine Bureau of Labor Standards minimums along with whatever training fits the category you would like to be in. (interior, exterior,ect.)

The AHJ is Authority Having Jurisdiction, in this case would be Wentzell. Now this may have all changed since new leadership, but if it has I am not aware of it.

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Re: Staffed Fire Department vs Call Department

Post by KevinNSaisi on Tue Dec 30, 2008 7:47 pm

Mark,
You have outlined the procedure, I am asking for the qualifications.
Kevin

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Re: Staffed Fire Department vs Call Department

Post by marktripp on Tue Dec 30, 2008 7:55 pm

To get started, a heart beat!

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Re: Staffed Fire Department vs Call Department

Post by KevinNSaisi on Tue Dec 30, 2008 8:01 pm

Mark,
I am asking a serious question, please attempt to be the professional you purport to be. You have stated that there is a background check, a test, an oral board, and medical clearances. What are the standards that determine whether or not a person passes each of these hurdles?

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Re: Staffed Fire Department vs Call Department

Post by marktripp on Tue Dec 30, 2008 8:06 pm

Kevin,

I am being serious! Anyone who wants can come take a application. Iím not sure the exact guidelines for each step so I wonít comment on them.

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Re: Staffed Fire Department vs Call Department

Post by KevinNSaisi on Tue Dec 30, 2008 8:09 pm

Thank You, I will ask Mr. Wentzell.

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Re: Staffed Fire Department vs Call Department

Post by FireDawg314 on Sat Jan 03, 2009 11:50 pm

Kevin,

Departments can set the standards for application as they see fit. Often times the larger, more urban a department is the higher the standards are because they have a larger population to pull from. Oftentimes rural departments will take any help they can get.
The background check often looks for things such as motor vehicle convictions, drug usage, misdimeanor convictions (often judged on type and timeframe), felony convictions, etc.
The medical evaluation is often used to judge whether the individual is 'fit' and not a health risk to the department based on the job they will be performing. Some occupational health offices will use the Canadian Physical Assessment test for this. Some volunteer/paid-on-call departments will even do a job-related physical abilities test (hose drag, ladder raise, stair climb, etc) although this is rare in Maine.
If a written test is used its primary function is to determine an applicants ability at reading comprehension, direction following, or things of that sort. Again, all of the "standards" for these are department specific.

I dont have all the information in front of me but essentially once an individual is accepted on to a department there is a list of things that must be completed prior to performing any duties and then a list of trainings that must/should be completed before certain actions are performed on incidents.

To start with, upon hire an individual must go through training on Bloodborne pathogens, Sexual harrasment, Haz-Com, Haz-Mat Awareness, specific department and town policies, as well as the proper use and maintenance of any protective equipment issued.

In addition to this in order to perform the duties of a structural firefighter, the individual must be trained in a wide variety of topics as well as comply with respiratory protection standards in order to use self-contained breathing apparatus. This includes mandatory medical evaluations periodically based on age. As Mark did state, it is up to the AHJ(Chief) to certify that the individual meets the standards. This means that they do not have to have gone through a formal training program such as FireFighter I/II but that they are competant in certain areas of knowledge and job performance. Some of those topics include Fire Behavior, Building Construction, Hoseline Operations, Ladder Operations, Self-Rescue, Drags and Carrys.

Again that is just some of it, but you can see that for a volunteer there is a lot to train on outside of your regular work week. Hope that sufficiently answered your question

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Re: Staffed Fire Department vs Call Department

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