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Many departments across the US do not have the necessary staffing to safely work a fire. It is a luxury to have a truck company thee to start ventilation. It seems that the mentality is that a fire will go out without a truck. Why is this acceptable?

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It's not acceptable for safety or common sense.

In the vollie world, unsafe staffing and response is acceptable due to:
-intimidation from mutual aid departments. "Had to bail your a**es out again".
-short staffed department not investigating why they lose members or aren't getting new ones.

Carrer departments may run short due to:
-again, pride.
-not asking for help from other full-time or vollie departments. "We can take care of oru own fires".
-not being aggressive enough as a group/whole to make sure government understands the staffing needs and provides for it.

Others that can be listed, but these are the main ones to me.
I think because the general public does not realize that putting out a fire usually requires more than putting water on it. the fail to realize search and rescue, securing an adequate water supply, ventilation takes man power. They feel their staffing is adequate at 1 &1 or 1 & 2. If a fatality does happen, staffing is rarely mentioned because the person speaks up gets hammered down. In the metro Boston area most towns do not hesitate to go to higher alarms to get mutual aid for man power. We all like to have competition, but when it gets serious like you said "tired of bailing you out" its time to take them aside and have a talk. They should be grateful you invited them to their job and let them work. With fires being down, who cares where or what town it is, its time to put your skills to you to keep from getting rusty.
It kills me that people are willing to roll the dice with public safety!!!!!!! We do not tell the Police how many Patrolman they do or don't need. We do not dictate how many teachers there should be per school system. It appears that our profession takes the brunt of poor staffing. WHY US?????????
We are the grunts of public safety. I think it goes back to people not know exactly what we do. Our Ems is a seperate entity. We are dispached along with them to priority calls. We usually get there first due to their call volume and we have more apparatus available. Cpr, defib, first aid, extrication ect gets over looked. They dont realize we save lives that doesnt involve fires. Im not knocking any specific agency, but when some thing goes wrong be it meth lab or some other kind of multi agency activity we get the dangerous work from hazmat to decon. Police numbers will never go down. Crime is still up hire more cops. It makes people feel good when they hire more cops. It does not matter when the cut our funding until a family gets killed becuase companies get closed and we get laid off. Im not cop bashing at all but that is what the govt does. We are #2
I don't think it is necessary to have a truck to perform truck duties.

What is important is that the jobs get done. That comes down to staffing and no matter how you slice it, it takes a lot of manpower to accomplish even the most basic functions at a "routine" fire.

Now add trapped victim, frozen hydrant, limited access or anything else and the problem gets worse. Exponentially.

In most cases horizontal ventilation can be achieved by even the lowest manpower response very quickly. Is it perfect? No. It doesn't take a 6 person truck to vent ahead of the hoseline. In our imperfect world, this has often been done by the pump operator of the first due piece, once the line is stretched and charged. Again, not the ideal situation, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do.

Like so many things, the basics skills are falling by the wayside and the "lack of a truck" is often a loss of the focus on the training and understanding of the truck functions.

We often don't get to dictate our staffing. We can advocate for it. We can educate to increase it, but ultiamtely Sirus Q Public determines how many people we have based on how much tax he is willing to pay. Beyond that it falls to the Chiefs to figure out how to stretch those get the most bang for the buck. But a 1 firefighter company will not put out the fire. The "waving the flag" mentality has to stop. Put the right number of bodies on one truck and then rely on Mutual Aid if that is all you can staff.

Regardless of your manpower, the job is the same. The same tasks need to get accomplished, in the same order. Albeit it is more difficult with less staff.
It seems to me that small departments are their own worse enemy. As firefighter we have that get it done no matter what mentality, and we do get it done. In a negotiation meeting the city personnel director told me "the fires are going out and nobody is getting hurt, so your manpower is just fine". They actually use us against ourselves. That pump operator should not have to leave his pump! What a profession! Going to have to change the name of this group to staffing........
We are our own worst enemies at times, but what is the alternative?

The pump operator example is the exception, not the rule. I was using it more as an example of how "easy" it can be to accomplish some ventilation without having a truck company on scene.

We man 2 stations with 6 (sometimes 7). We have an engine in each house and the truck is at headquarters. If the truck responds on the box, it will respond with one firefighter. At that point the thought is to just get it there and in position, the driver will end up as part of the engine crew.

Our response is dictated by so many variables. If the ambulances are out, then our staffing could be as low as 2 in HQ. Every fire gets a department recall, but the off duty response is dictated by time of day. We have a good Mutual Aid Agreement and also get a Line Box Engine on any reported fire.
Hey Brother,
I am with you on the minimal manpower we show up with 10. Our drivers tend to be the utility players doing a little bit of everything trying to help the interior guys anyway possible. Our drivers would do the same thing as you stated for example. Too many tasks need to be performed simultaneously!!
We respond with a staffed 3 1&3 Engines & 2 1&3 Ladders to a structure. Getting a ladder to the structure with 1 person and then putting them with the engine crew again is a bad idea. There is no point to bring the truck. Use your 28 footer. Water is a nescesity, but so is ventilation and search and rescue. We all have to improvise at times but if that pump decides to throttle itself down because it feels like it, no operator watching the dials, he's venting someone is going to get hurt. Ive seen pumps, especially the new electronic throttles decide to go into "idle" and stop pumping. Our out lying towns run 1 & 2, but then drain the towns full fire resources if its a structure fire. Then mutual aid is called in to cover or sent to the fire. Running short is a dangerous gamle.

Often we have to "make it work".

The thought process with the one man truck has always been positioning. Get it in place and let the off duty response handle the set up and operation.

In most cases now, the Officer will either put all the HQ personnel on one piece, either the engine or the truck, depending on which district the call is in and what companies are responding. We are working away from the one man piece, but can' t avoid entirely.

I agree with your feelings about the pump operator, and as I said, when it occurs it is the exception.
I understand due to the man power and the need for water. We had a fire in mutual aide town where the house was about 200 yards of the main road. The chief went right up the alarms though. To us getting some one to the roof is exremely important. Im guilty of grabing a rake now an then and doing some outside ventilation to get some work but only to vent for visibilty. I wont start breaking random windows having no idea where the fire is. Its just sad that a loss of life has to occur before someone realizes we need more staffing.
Great point about Mutual aid. When you can't get the bodies on the road, then you need to rely on Mutual Aid to make up the difference.

It is sad when you consider what it will take to make a change, but then look at Gloucester, where even a fatality couldn't make the voters cough up a buck.

Is Tapper still in your house? I knew him in a previous life.


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