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Our local used to remain neutral in political elections; our President took a stance to become issue advocates in the elections. It paid off we achieved one of the best staffing agreements in New England. It is clear that the elected officials want to have firefighters on their side. Even if your candidate doesn’t make it, others will take notice and want you on their side. The local took full page adds in the city papers protesting company blackouts of engine companies around the city. I will post the newspaper add later. We handed out flyers around the city and participated in Fire Operations 101 on a state level. For more info check out On the Road with Bobby Halton with Frank Ricci. On the education side check out the film “Smoke Showing” on staffing. 1) What strategies have worked for you? (2) If you have any staffing study abstracts, please post.

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As a union, we need to do a better job educating our elected officials. Fire Ops 101 has been long over due. Politicians come and go. The education process is ongoing and cannot stop!! management needs to take a firm stand in regards to staffing as well. We may have our differences on certain issues, but safe staffing should be a common interest from both sides.

Historically, the fire service has been horrible at marketing our business. We (Labor & Management)need to do a better job of marketing response times and how they directly effect the public. IT IS ALL ABOUT RESPONSE TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Union members as a whole need to get involved!!!
Our chief did manage to increase our staffing from 3 to 4 on our engine companies. He did this by making our MICU 1 and 1(1 medic and 1 EMT) the 2nd medic was placed on the engine. All our career people are cross trained (fire and EMS). Unfortunately the rest of our apparatus (truck and rescue squad) still run with 3. It is a step in the right direction, but the special services need the increased staffing. Most stations rely on the volunteers to increase the staffing, but if no volunteers are in the station there is no increased staffing. This is just one of the issues with a combination system.
Wow safe stafing. My fire department has struggled over the years, money, elected officals, city adminstrators. We currently have three on the Truck and three on the Engine for a total of six per 24 hours. The safety issue arises when someone uses a sick day or vac. the Truck is reduced to two firefighers. Some times a driver and firefighter no officer. It is very hard to be effective with two, especilly on a Truck.

So what have we done. Well each year the over time budget increses and we use the money at the end of the year to provide fully staffed truck September through December. We ask each year for two more firefighters and to promote two lieutenants. We have one lieutenant that works the 24/48 while the other three shifts work the modified Berkley (4days off). The lieutenant works everyones first shift day after 4 days off. This provides seven person staffing and an officer for the truck or six person staffing if someone is missing This has worked well, hopfully we can add two more so the lt can return to the Berkely. Each shift has a Captain, five Firefighters.

Stay Safe Rick Mosher

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