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Fire and Rescue Study

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The state study never mentions Sandy Hill or the Feb. 5 fire which killed her.

But throughout the report, several ghosts of that Chancellor area house fire appear.

The Virginia Fire Services Board spent two months studying Spotsylvania County’s Fire and Rescue Departments. Its review was presented to the Board of Supervisors moments ago and contains few surprises.

That February fire only comes up in phrases like “in response to recent events,” and a discussion on not following the standard operating procedures. Many of those SOPs were not followed in that fatal fire.

But this study isn’t about that fire, said County Administrator Doug Barnes. It’s an overall look at Spotsylvania’s rescue system, which operates with 117 career personnel and 240 volunteers.

And at times, the study is very positive about that system, saying:

“Fire and emergency services are provided to the citizens of Spotsylvania County through a strong combination system.”

But that combination system does not work cohesively, the report found. Emergency services are provided in the county through four departments: Spotsylvania County Department of Fire, Rescue and Emergency Management; Spotsylvania Volunteer Fire Department; Spotsylvania Volunteer Rescue Squad; and Chancellor Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department.

Sometimes, the system goes in four different directions, the report said. The review team recommends that there be one chief in charge of all four departments. Fire and Rescue Chief Chris Eudailey is the single chief, according to county code. But Standard Operating Guidelines don’t give him authority over many issues in the departments.

The study also speaks to the culture of the fire and rescue departments, referring to a lack of morale, turf battles and personality conflicts. Collaboration and organization could help create a new and better culture, the report said.

According to the report, as of mid-November, Spotsylvania’s rescue workers have responded to 11,682 calls. Eudailey said that most of these calls are successfully handled, evidence of the strong system the report talks about.

The report makes several recommendations, including:

  • Designating the career fire chief’s position as the “final authority for all Fire and EMS issues throughout the County.”
  • Clearly defining the role of the Fire and EMS Commission.
  • Developing a countywide strategic plan for fire and rescue services.
  • Strengthening incident reporting to collect reliable data.
  • Keeping the public better informed about both the system and ways to prevent fires.
  • Creating a Fire and Life Safety Educator position.
  • Making sure rescue stations are staffed around-the-clock.
  • Continuing with the minimum training standards.
  • Training fire fighters in emergency medical services.
  • Reviewing and updating Standard Operating Procedures.
  • Making sure everyone knows and follows those procedures.
  • Improving volunteer recruitment efforts.

To see the study, click here.

Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/spotsygovt/2010/12/14/fire-and-rescue-study/

  • Interested Citizen

    Now the clock starts ticking on how long it will take the County to seriously consider and adopt any of these recommendations. The training standards are a big thing, but it is going to be interesting to see if in 2 years they are still around. There is a Battalion Chief on the Career Side that does not have half of what they need, what is Bailey going to do about that. He seems like a straight shooter, but he can’t make miracles happen. The standards need to be fair across the board for both sides. What about staffing, 20 minutes on Saturday for a CPR in the 4 mile fork area. Life Care Ambulance and Stafford units answering calls in Spotsylvania, who has heard of such. Stay tuned.

  • SteveThomas

    The report is actually pretty well-balanced. I’d be surprised if most of these recommendations weren’t followed up on.

  • bhaas

    Implementation times of these recommendations will vary, but it would be a HUGE mistake for the BOS and CA to ignore the situation that has led to this point. These things, as well as those from the past reviews, need serious attention.

    Gary Jackson was correct when he spoke about the BOS’s failures of the past. It was my sense that there still exists some of that past thinking amongst some of the BOS.

  • MD

    Only time will tell the full story. The BOS and County Admin. cannot turn a blind eye to these issues. Whats alarming is that there was really no mention of staffing and immediate actions the County needs to take to ensure that emergency incident/calls are answered in a timely fashion and the stations are staffed around the clock. This point was well proven this past weekend where units from Lousia, Stafford, Caroline, Fredericksburg and Lifecare Medical Transports had to respond to calls in Spotsylvania County because of poor volunteer staffing. The recommended changes ARE a great starting point. The County Fire Chief SHOULD have ultimate authority over all fire and rescue departments within the County. If Doug Barnes does not think the current Fire Chief is capable of handling the system then he needs to find a replacement, which might be a positive move for the fire and EMS system. The fire and EMS commission recommendations are spot on. As proven in the past the commission has done absolutly nothing to better the delivery of services to the public. For the sake of the citizens and people visiting this great County WE all need these changes…

  • LarryG

    balanced and non-judgmental while still identifying the issues – many of which we have known for some time:

    ” It was noted that through
    our site visits that career personnel routinely arrive to an empty station in the morning.”

    how long has this been going on – and what actions have been taken to correct it?

    I am bamfoozled – how can ANYONE who is part of the existing Fire and Rescue groups in the county fail to take immediate action on this?

    Does this imply that volunteers that show up at 6pm to relieve the career then subsequently leave the station?

    Who do they report to that they are leaving the station – empty – and what does that person do – when they know the station is empty?

    Finally, if Mr. Eudaily gives an order – is it obeyed? If he gives an order and it is not obeyed, is the person who does not obey the order relieved from duty?

    If you want to “give” Mr. Eudaily “authority” – you do this. You tell everyone that is under his authority that if they receive an order from him and refuse to follow it – that they are out of a job – period – no matter whether they are career or volunteer.

    We have some yahoos here it sounds like to me and if I have to pay higher taxes to get rid of the yahoos – where do I sign up?

  • SteveThomas

    The issue, at least partially, is volunteer recruiting. It would be great if the county put some more oomph into it, but ultimately you need enough vols to cover the times.

  • bhaas

    The ISSUE is that the Vol agencies have done as they darn please for a very long time and the folks in charge of the County have done nothing, until recently (hopefully), to fix the problem.

  • bhaas

    BTW, I join Larry regarding higher taxes for this problem. These problems are bloody serious and the BOS and CA need to get as bloody serious and solve the problems once and for all.

  • LarryG

    It don’t matter how many vols you recruit Steve – if the institutional culture is that they can walk off the job when they please.

    You need to fix that problem FIRST .. before you recruit any more folks and “train” them also that it’s okay to leave a duty station.

    In fact, I would posit – that when you recruit – you make clear to your new recruits that walking away from your duty station will get you kicked out.

    Rule #1 – ” When you show up at a duty station – you stay there unless you have a serious problem, check in to the supervisor, and a he/she gets a replacement is put in place.

    If we can’t do this with the Vols, then we need to do it with career replacements.

    Either do the job as specified/required or leave.

    this attitude that the volunteers get to define what they do is bass ackwards.

    You define the job and you recruit those who will agree to do that job or they leave.

    period.

    we, in theory, “save money” by having volunteers staff the stations.

    We’re not saving money when the station is empty at 3am and a call comes in and has to be responded to on a casualty basis.

    This is all the more important when the same fire study folks said that our comms center is in wretched shape.

    The very first thing that we should do is to tell every single person in the EMS service that when Mr. Eudaily issues an order, it WILL be followed or you WILL be relieved of duty and replaced.

    And again.. if we have to hire additional people to make this happen – sign me up.

  • MD

    In all reality the volunteers don’t save the county and citizens that much money at all. If you add up up what the county spends on the volunteer system: each volunteer department budget, volunteer perdium program, firefighting gear for 300 volunteers, equipment, LOSAP program, training, insurance and utility bills for live-ins…..You could hire another 35 career firefighter/ medics and have 24/7/365 coverage in every station and staff 2-3 specialty units like a Ladder truck or heavy rescue squad. Under the direction of one fire chief with full authority and quite a bit of problems would dissappear. I also agree and would be willing to pay for the additional cost if any associated with a fully paid department.

  • SteveThomas

    I’m not getting into this arguement again. We’re not going to an all-paid department, and nor should we. But simply berating the vols won’t cut it either. Who would volunteer to join a department that had the union and random bloggers calling them names and generally running them down?

    There are two sides to this, and thankfully the state report recognized it. For the union, they have to stop pushing to unionize the whole thing. For the volunteers, we have to continue to professionalize while keeping the benefits of a volunteer department.

  • http://UmqaoU GIVEMEABREAK2M

    MD, you seem to havea lot of inside information. How is it that you have access to this information? Are you a “career” person within the county’s fire and rescue system? I just need to be able to determine if your comments are worthy of the public’s consideration.

  • http://MAVRICKinc7@msn.com Martin (Marty) Work

    Any more so than your own? When does GIVEMEABREAK become worthy of note. Or, does his reputation preceed his postured position he has all the answers. Why can’t he take his anonymous moniker and put it aside, if for no other reason but to lay a foundation for his own credibility?

  • LarryG

    I don’t really care about the “union” at all. When you fly – your pilot is a union member. get over it. What I DO care about is EMPTY Station Houses and a seemingly lack of accountability for them.

    I urge people to go read the report:

    ” Staffing
    Though significant progress have been accomplished towards the County’s goal of achieving
    24/7 coverage at all Fire/EMS Stations, staffing challenges still exist. It was noted that through
    our site visits that career personnel routinely arrive to an empty station in the morning. The
    current staffing is still negatively affected by past problems, which has built barriers between
    volunteer and career members. Existing silos must be removed before major improvements can
    be realized. The basic benchmark for staffing must be that which provides the quickest, most
    economical and most reliable service to the citizens of the County.
    Recommendations:
     The County should restructure its staffing assignments to address critical gaps in service”

    Now it sounds like Steve is more concerned with the potential use of “union” folks than the empty stations.

    That takes him out of this discussion in my view. He’s letting his ideology get int he way of the issue.

    I also find it rich in irony that unions – often castigated as unaccountable are, in this case, certainly demonstrable more accountable for one simple reason. They can be fired and apparently no one is willing to “fire” the non-union guys if they are unaccountable.

    So apparently, we cannot hire people to do the work that is not being done because they will be “union”?

    In this case – I’d take a union guy that stays at his duty station overnight than a non-union guy that won’t.

  • http://UmqaoU GIVEMEABREAK2M

    Mr. Work it is my understanding that you “no longer live” in Spotsylvania County. So my suggestion to you is to let Spotsylvania residents address Spotsylvania issues. I am sure that you will have plenty to do when it comes to addressing the issues where you “now live.”

  • DavidY

    To LarryG:
    I’m not certain where the idea that volunteers “can simply walk off the job when they want to” came from. If that’s an extrapolation from the text of the study’s report, I would ask you to consider the possibility you’ve misinterpreted its meaning. I can’t speak for the other agencies, but I can say that in the 7 years I’ve been volunteering with SVRS, I’ve not seen or heard of a single instance where we staffed a station and then abandoned that post before the end of the shift. Not one.

    There have been occasions when stations went unstaffed for a shift due to personnel availability and scheduling. There are also stations that are not normally staffed by the volunteers at this point, such as Station 3. In addition, it’s not uncommon for the volunteer providers to be out of the station on a call when the career providers arrive. Any of these scenarios would result in the career staff “arriving to an empty station”, as the report states, however it does not break down which scenario was the case. While it might be easy to jump to the conclusion that the volunteer staff just left, I reiterate – I’ve never seen a single instance of that in the 7 years I’ve been volunteering here.

  • bhaas

    @GIVEMEABREAK2M….I do live in Spotsylvania County. I do pay taxes here. I do not use a pseudonym when I post. I second Mr. Works comments.

    I do not know where Mr. Work lives, but wherever it is does not disqualify him from commentary here. Who put you in charge of this blog?

  • LarryG

    @DavidY -

    I’m not going to get into parsing words and the little games that get played along those lines , so let me ask you directly.

    Are those stations EXPECTED to be empty in the mornings?

    The Study – in the context of STAFFING – indicated that this is not normal and not expected and NOT GOOD.

    I did DEDUCE from that – that people who were expected to be there were not there and the study explicitly said that the career staff at the end of their day shifts.

    so you tell me.

    Did the report get it wrong? Are the stations EXPECTED to be “routinely” empty in the mornings?

    I don’t think citizens would find that acceptable especially after we have paid for a bunch of stations and revenue recovery fees.

    I’m aware that coverage is provided from other stations when the primary is already out on call or is un-staffed.

    But the report strongly implied a linkage between empty stations and gaps in staffing – not anticipated… as if there was an expectation that those stations be staffed overnight.

    so I ask you directly – is it the case that people leave the stations at night when they were supposed to be staffing them?

    why would the report make a point about this if that was not the case?

    The report could have said – “Some stations are routinely not staffed at night because of a lack of resources”.

    that’s not what they said.

    they implied that arriving at empty stations was not an expected condition.

    so – set me straight – tell me the truth and cure my ignorance.

  • DavidY

    LarryG:
    I can’t speak to the staffing issues, nor can I speak to what a given career provider “expects” to find when they arrive in the morning. Each agency maintains its own schedule, and there is no coordination between them.

    I also can’t speak to the language of the report except to say that if there were indications that volunteers were staffing and then abandoning their posts, it seems logical to me the report would have said that as well.

    So, to answer you directly – in my 7 years with SVRS I have not seen nor heard of a single instance of volunteers leaving their posts when they were supposed to be staffing a unit.

  • LarryG

    I’ll take your word for it and acknowledge that I may have read more out of the report than it said but when the report says ” critical gaps in service” in the same paragraph where it says “career personnel routinely arrive to an empty station in the morning” – it does not sound to me like this is an expected situation for a unified system.

    I am also concerned when you say that the agencies do not coordinate.

    there MUST BE …some level of coordination just in terms of dispatch knowing what stations are not staffed and which are – and what unit to dispatch as a replacement.

    Who keeps track of the current staffing at any point in time and knows which units are available for dispatching?

  • LarryG

    @DavidY – have you read the report? What is your opinion of it?

  • MD

    @LarryG,

    There is absolutely no coordination between agencies when it comes to just about anything much less staffing and there is no staffing requirements set forth by the County. When I say staffing requirements I mean the County should make priorities in what stations MUST be staffed 24/7, and what level of care (ALS or BLS) those stations must provide. There are staffing statistics logged by the dispatchers every evening and turned over to the County. I believe the statistics will be discussed in detail at the next fire and EMS commission and from what I hear they are terrible….something like a 20% decline in volunteer staffing from the previous quarter…

    The most critical gap in coverage lies within the EMS units. Usually about half the EMS stations are staffed and hardly any are staffed at the ALS level. Daytime paid coverage yields 10 ALS ambulances. I hope that the County Administration will take some sort of action in the next few weeks to fill this critical gap in coverage.

  • http://MAVRICKinc7@msn.com Martin (Marty) Work

    @GIVEMEABREAK: I was unaware that speaking to what serves in the best interest of Spotsylvania County had a residency clause. Why does my 17 years in Spotsylvania County make me any less credible than yourself. After all, YOU are the one hiding in the dark, not me. And for the record, what is it that you claim to know about me, and how does that play in your politics? Is there something about my presentations to the BOS each month, 3 minutes at a time, for 5 years that you were not able to comprehend, or was your silence the only thing we could account for at the end of the day?

    The issue being addressed here is at best poor brinksmanship of a vital service that laid around for 10 years under the direction of business as usual. Whether you get it or not, those days are over, and we can either hold YOU accountable or you can stand in the same bucket of concrete, hoping F&R/EMT will call the ball and no one else has to die because of flawed leadership. Either make your way to the podium with your contribution on how best to “fill in the critical gaps” or just butt out of the businees that belongs to the citizens of Spotsylvania County.

  • DavidY

    LarryG:
    To answer your question about tracking, the 911 dispatchers take reports from the various stations at the beginning of each shift, and enter into the CAD system which units are staffed and, in the case of EMS, what level the units are staffed at, ALS or BLS. This provides them a list of available units, in order of precedence when a run ticket is issued in the CAD system.

    Yes, I’ve read the fire study report. I found no surprises in the content or the recommendations. Personally, I disagree with the concept of a single figurehead over Fire and EMS. While they’re now co-located, and frequently work together, Fire and EMS have very different missions and skill sets, and both those missions necessitate strong leadership that supports their needs and understands their issues. Not every firefighter makes a good EMT, or wants to be, for that matter; and vice versa. That’s just a personal opinion.

    There are some long-standing barriers between agencies that get in the way of coordinated response at times. I don’t claim to understand all the politics involved, but perceptions fester into fact, which grows into policy over time. I believe the vast majority of us have no difficulty working together, and would welcome a closer working relationship. How we move forward to make that a reality will be decided by echelons way, way, WAY above me, but the bottom line is that the mission doesn’t change.

  • LarryG

    thanks, DavidY. The report mentioned cross-training fire personnel to be EMTs. I thought that was not an uncommon practice in some places. In some places, you have a director of public safety and under him/her, you have the various agencies each with a head but at some point if the county/city is going to take responsibility for the service on a county-wide basis – as they should with staffing and operational readiness – as the report said -you have to get rid of the stovepipes and as long as you got two heads that each want to do business their way and no one above them ordering otherwise, we’re going to continue to have problems that most who depend on the service – will find unacceptable.

    We’ve gone many years with these stovepipes and we have longstanding problems – that are not resolved, and it’s clear that without a top leader with sufficient authority that we’ll not get better. If we were going to get better without a top guy, we would have already and clearly that has not happened.

    The problem with volunteering – in general – in many fields is that the volunteers tend to want to define the level of work they want to deliver.

    You can see this with food banks and other charitable groups that help people. Clearly they could do a better, more cost-effective job if they had a unified and coordinated operation but they seldom actually do that because they want to keep their original identity and local traditions.

    Instead – the people who need help with food or shelter have to go to dozens of different agencies to get help sometimes – they get “referred” as opposed to served by the first one they contact (who then coordinates with other agencies to deliver the service).

    So this is not an issue unique to Vol Fire and EMS – but rather many volunteer groups in general.

    We tolerate it in services where lives are not directly at stake but – unfortunately or fortunately depending on one’s point of view – government has to get involved when volunteerism involves people’s lives and the volunteers can not seem to effectively address the issues that must be addressed.

  • bhaas

    I think Mr. Y is probably one of those that thinks all of the issues in F&EMS that have surfaced since last February are NON-ISSUES.

    As a tax payer and citizen, I find that attitude to be quite unfortunate.

  • DavidY

    bhaas:
    Think what you wish. I’m a tax payer and a citizen too. I will not be drawn into one of your petty little battles. My purpose on this thread was to clear up a misconception. Good day.

  • LarryG

    I thank DavidY for his explanations and would hope that he sticks around to further contribute his thoughts -which I found illuminating even if I don’t agree 100%.

    but thank you.

  • Interested Citizen

    Spotsylvania County can’t continue to operate as they think they are in a vacuum and all to themselves. These same identical issues or problems have occurred and still are occuring in most every other jurisdiction that is similiar in size and population in the Commonwealth of Virginia and as far as that, all across the Nation. You must have a unity of command or one person in charge of all Fire and EMS services. All agencies that deliver these services are given authority, responsibility and hold your seat; they will be held accountable. This is where we have had the biggest problem, no accountability on the volunteer side. We need to dismiss those with personal agendas in all of this and remember that the reason we have a Fire and EMS system is to provide a service to the citizens, to help them when they are in need of help. Right now, the current system of doing business of Fire and EMS in Spotsylvania County is not working. Changes need to be made and they need to be made immediately. I am not advocating 24 – 7 career, but I am advocating that the volunteers need to reevaluate how many stations they can cover 24 – 7 with the trained and qualified personnel they have, and the remaining stations need to be staffed by trained and qualified career people. Sounds like a big deal, but again, the blueprint is all ready out there.

  • bhaas

    Thank you, Interested Citizen. Well said.

  • LarryG

    I concur – and would add on the 24/7 issue that we may not have the resources nor the imperative of that level of service but we are entitled to a DEFINED level of service so that we KNOW the normal coverage and there is a commitment from the county and the volunteers to provide that defined level of service – as opposed to deciding what level of service will be provided – one day at a time and one station at a time.

    that what I meant when I said that it’s common for volunteers in many organizations to decide what level of service they will provide and it’s tempting to have that attitude if you are the one providing the staffing but when it comes to EMS – that mindset is demonstrably wrong and anyone who continues to think along those lines needs to find something else to volunteer for because most of the citizens in Spotsy are not buying it especially after they agreed in referenda to a crap load of new stations and millions of dollars of taxes to build them – and revenue recovery to pay for service received.

  • Ben Flippo

    Is it just me or does anyone else think Mr. Eudailey should be asked to move on. Why didn’t he handle this overhaul as the chief? Why did Doug Barnes come in and deal with this entire debacle?

    If he lacks the authority to keep the system together, then let him go and bring in someone who will do exactly what this report says–and keep in mind the report in 2000 said the same exact thing.

    Mr. Eudailey is just going with the flow it seems to me. Demote him or send him out somewhere else. Bring in a true leader with experience of working with combined systems.

    Secondly, David’s statement that in his 7 years he has never seen an empty station for volunteer hours completely contradicts the study and then he tries to downplay it (forget Steve T. the guy tosses out BS every day and he shouldn’t be anywhere near government)

    I don’t care if career walk into one station and it is empty. I pay taxes here and I want all stations staffed 24-7. The career staff every station during the days.

    Why is the county saying I deserve less service at night? It is comletely ridiculous and its a lawsuit waiting to happen because THE COUNTY HAS BEEN MADE AWARE OF THIS TWICE IN 10 YEARS. You have another fatality and the county is going to get sued for millions and millions, and I don’t see how they could win this unless they settle out of court.

    Having one chief can be done pretty easily–it just takes some guts.

    Having stations covered 24-7 will require career working same times as volunteers to help staff. The hours should not be split because that adds to the friction.

    Career and volunteers should staff nights and a career officer should be in charge of every station at night, not some loony punk volunteer.

    Yes, I know, many good volunteers out there. But they’ve all abused the system. All. Chancellor has a huge game room and other toys bought with taxpayer money. There are gyms at most stations that go unused. They goof around and have water fights on shift.

    A volunteer shouldn’t be used as a main catalyst for the system. Volunteers help the system as a back up source of protection.

    I am not saying we need 24-7 career, but I am saying we need career at all stations during volunteer hours.

    Are you a team? Then work as a team because this stuff is petty and it cost a life. And yes, these types of problems happen at all combination systems across the country, and it is a big reason why combination systems are rare nowadays because they took advantage of it.

    Finally, Chancellor Kevin Dillard needs to be investigated immediately. He has a ton of employees who also volunteer for his stations. The county trains these people and then he hires them. It’s a huge conflict that he is even on the commission because his business is directly involved with medical transports. Someone needs to FOIA a detailed budget line by line from those stations he is the “administrative chief” for and let’s see what he has been up to. Plus, he drives a volunteer car every where and never has to pay for gas. That alone is a HUGE benefit for anyone who has a desk job. Dillard is the one who said on Feb. 5 that the Sandy Hill fire went great, everyone did what they were supposed to do and everyone should be proud.

    That’s called a FAILED cover up. Big time

  • bhaas

    RE: Mr. Eudailey and his position. His control, or lack thereof, derives from “other” places. When he was made “Chief” by the BOS/CA the authority of his position was “watered down” as a concession to the Vol orgs and the Fire Commission.

    As for Mr. Eudailey’s credentials to be a “real” Chief over both career and volunteers; that is beyond my knowledge of the man’s qualifications. However, if he is judged not qualified for the position he should not be put in the job.

  • opiniontoshare

    Regarding the claim that the county would only have to hire 35 more career employees to have 24/7 coverage: There are currently a minimum of 5 career employees working in each of 10 stations during the weekdays. That’s 50 people. Yet you can provide the same service on nights and weekends with only 35 more people? Nonsense. Besides, it’s the number of on-duty hours that largely determines the cost to the county. Currently career coverage is for only 66 2/3 hours of a 168 hour week. So you’re really talking about paying 2.5 times what the county is currently paying in salaries for the firefighters and medics working in the stations to have 24/7 career coverage.

    As for the claim that a single fire chief would be held accoutable – in theory, yes, but only if the BOS and the county administrator choose to hold the chief accountable. That doesn’t always happen.

  • X-careerff/m

    opiniontoshare, your math is incorrect. I worked a career 24 hour shift job and my baseline salary was well inline with what the Spotsylvania career positions baseline pay is. It would only be 2.5 times as much if the career staff stays at the same number to work the extra hours, it’s called overtime. Yes, there are departments, ie NoVa, that make a higher baseline, but that coincides with the cost of living in NoVa and being a competitive salary for the region.

    If you took the amount of money that is given to the volunteer system along with the increased revenue generated by ALS staffing, not much if any additional money would be necessary to have 24-7 career staffing. I’m not saying that run the volunteers off and take “their” money, but I do honestly believe that if that money all had to be accounted for and be as scrupulous with that money as the career staff, the tax dollars would go alittle further than they do now.

  • opiniontoshare

    I would refer you to the county administrator, who has said that while it is possible to put some career personnel on duty at night and on weekends, the county cannot afford to replace all the volunteers with paid staff.

  • opiniontoshare

    X-careerff/m – Let’s assume there are 50 people working at any given time between 4:40 AM and 6 PM weekdays and there are no overlapping shifts, that’s 3333 1/3 man hours per week. If 50 people are also on duty nights and weekends, that’s a total of 8400 man hours a week (24 x 7 x 50). That’s 2 1/2 times the weekday man hours. I’m assuming that most of these people (other than possibly supervisors) are paid an hourly rate. If that’s true, a lot more man hours worked equals a lot more total salary being paid out by the county.

    You seem to be addressing an individual firefighter’s salary rate; I’m talking about the total cost to the county of paying firefighters and medics to cover additional hours.

  • Interested Citizen

    Now that Christmas is behind us. I wonder if the County will really get down to business and clean up their act on Fire and Rescue?

    I am also wondering if there will be any type of legal matters in the future concerning the Feb 5 fire?

  • X-careerff/m

    opiniontoshare, whether you’re talking about 1 or 100, the County’s career staff does earn close to competitive wage in an hourly sense. Because of the structure of the pay system, they are viewed as hourly employees based on a 40 hour work week.

    Other career systems with 24 hour employees are based on a different pay system with more hours on lesser hourly pay with allowances for overtime based on a monthly vs weekly hours worked. Just look up the information in the state and federal guidelines under the Dept of Labor.

    FF’s as well as police and other employees working extended shifts meet exemption requirements, putting them in a situation where they would earn salaries not far from what they are earning now considered on a yearly salary basis instead of an hourly/weekly basis.

    In plain english, a Spotsy FF making 40k/yr working a 40 hr work week could end up working 24 hr shifts for the same 40k a yr. They won’t keep their hourly wage as they meet different standards under federal wage and hour law.

    So, it may cost more to hire the additional staffing required for 24/7 career staffing, but it’s nothing on the magnitude you speak of.

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