This is in ref to your reply on Duties of the First Due Engine:
The squad concept in Wichita started in the 1970's when the city began to cut staffing. The fire department was getting involved in EMS first response and was able to justify having a second piece for ems responses at every station. This has evolved into the current squads we use now. (1 ton chassis, w/ 300 gallon booster tank and pump, staffed with an officer and firefighter). Currently 17 of our 19 firehouses are equipped with these. The problems with these stem from how we utilize them. If a station chooses to use them correctly they do allow for essentially a five man engine, which is about the only pro I have for them. The problem is the department traditionally has used these squads for not only ems but also fire suppression and other runs which I personally believe should require at the least a fully staffed engine. The station captain (who usually rides the engine) has the option of going with the squad for any or all of its runs, but only very few choose to do so. This results in a 2 person pick-up truck being sent and operating by themselves at auto fires, inside gas odor investigations, automatic fire alarms on residences etc. In my opinion we operate them as a two man engine. I really wish our union believed the same. They just see the squads as an excuse for the captain to do less work. They are really a sore spot with me and I could go on and on but what it comes down to is I believe they are not safe, and they have bred laziness into our job.
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