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Friday, January 14, 2011
Staffing and Expectations
It would seem that today's leaders in the fire service would have a better grasp on staffing than in years past. Today the fire service is blessed with irrefutable scientific evidence, provided by NIST (National Institute of Science and Technology) that adequate staffing and timely response by fire companies make a significant difference in the outcome of structure fires. NIST has just finished a study on EMS staffing and provider level on patient outcome. Their report is expected to be released later this "year, initial findings show that again that staffing matters. Staffing and company distribution are key factors in a successful fire suppression plan. Unfortunately many "leaders" in the fire service either unknowingly or willfully mislead the public into thinking that the Fire Department is providing adequate service with inadequate staffing and/or "browned out" fairs companies. Citizens have a right to know that when a company is closed or staffing is inadequate then efficiency can fall as much as 22%. This translates into longer times before the fire is extinguished and victims are found and removed. The current state of the economy has effected nearly all of America and we are having to make some hard choices. The expetations of the citizenry must be matched with the funding levels provided to the fire department. Fire Chiefs should make it clear that inadequately staffed fire companies or companies that are out of service to save money will cost citizens more property loss and poswsibly there lives.