I would like to ask a question about apparatus response.  My department staffs our station with 2 firefighter/EMT's 24/7.  We protect 25 square miles with approximately 2500 structures.  About 10% of our jurisdiction is commercial. We have 120 hydrants with the majority in the newer residential developments.  At this time we respond both personnel in the squad for EMS calls of course.  Some debate has come up regarding how to respond to fires and MVA's.  We currently respond 1 in the squad and 1 in the engine for MVA's and fore fires, the response is 1 in the engine and 1 in the tanker/tender.  We do have automatic aid coming for fires with an engine and a tanker/tender.  Our engine carries 1000 gallons of water and the tanker/tender carries 3500 gallons and has a 1500 gpm pump on it. 

We have thought about responding both personnel in the first response for whatever the call is for, but we feel that it is better to show up with 4500 gallons of water rather than 1000.  I know there is a lot to do on a fire scene that can be done while waiting for the automatic aid tanker/tender to show up.  The only down side to that is they cover there station only part of the day with two personnel as well.

As for MVA's, the concern is what if there is extrication needed and the engine is sitting at the station.  Again, I know we can call mutual aid, but isn't everybody dealing with less staffing due to budget cuts and more responses? 

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What does one guy in the engine do when he gets to the scene first and has to wait?

 What about the Volunteers? How long does it take them to roll another piece?

   Does your department transport? What do you carry on the squad? What do you use as a squad?

  Why only 2 FFs?  Could you place the ems equipment on the Engine and just run it on all calls?

 What Departments provide you with mutual aid?

We have the initial arriving member perform the 360, deploy what hoseline is appropriate, and call for whatever other resources are needed. The second arriving unit is usually right behind the first or no more than one minute behind. Depending on where the incident is, the automatic aid companies are between 7 and 15 minutes away.
It takes our volunteers approximately 15 minutes to respond the next out engine. During the weekdays, it could take a lot longer or even not at all.
We do transport with our squad/ambulance. It has all of our ALS equipment. 2 firefighters is all we can afford with our current budget.
We are surrounded on two sides by full-time departments and the other two by volunteers. But we have seen there budgets get cut and responses increase.

You guys have the equipment, but are in need of manpower. It is what it is. Do your best to diplomatically make citizens aware of the risk to their lives and property while keeping yourselves safe. Don't take any chances by violating rules like 2 in/2 out, etc. I know it breaks your heart to pass on a possible offensive attack or a technical rescue when it could be done with more personnel, but don't let yourself feel guilty --- the staffing is out of your hands. Sounds like you're doing all you can.

Best of luck and stay safe.

We do transport with our squad/ambulance. It has all of our ALS equipment. 2 firefighters is all we can afford with our current budget

We currently respond 1 in the squad and 1 in the engine for MVA's and fore fires, the response is 1 in the engine and 1 in the tanker/tender

First question, when you say your squad/ambulance has all your ALS equipment, are you an ALS provider and are the 2 full timers paramedic or at least EMT-Intermediate?

Second question, if you are a transport service, and if you are taking the squad and an engine for MVAs, then who is driving the squad to the hospital or are you leaving the engine at the scene if you have to?

I agree with Norm, you guys are in a cruddy situation and the best thing that can be done is to make citizens aware of the risks they and yourselves are being placed in. Those citizens should not expect a full response and quick results when the staffing does not allow for it. You are also relying upon outside depts that could potentially be out and unable to assist you guys at any time.


However, that doesn't answer your original question and I understand you want to make the best out of the situation you are handed. IMO, I would say that a medical or MVA call should be a one rig response with both full timers on the squad/ambulance. To me, it doesn't make sense to roll a guy in the squad and a guy in the pump for something where the potential is there to get going ASAP, thus leaving a rig vacant at the scene.

When it comes to a fire call, I don't see a reason not to roll an engine and the tender right away. With two people, you aren't going to be doing much at all and your efforts are limited to being in the yard......sans an opportunity to rescue a survivable victim (IE you see the person) otherwise it is about limiting fire spread.

We are a volunteer department according to the state. We try to schedule at least one paramedic per shift. We are fortunate that half of our staff are paramedics. There are instances that the engine has sat on scene while the squad transported. I was questioning this because we had an accident close to our boundaries and were asked what are 2 people going to do with 2 apparatus.
We use volunteers to cover the shifts. No one on file is full-time. The State of Ohio only recognizes full-time and volunteer.
Any confirmed fire they are automatically dispatched.

Kyle, Where do I find these state mandates and staffing requirements.

Kyle,  Ok I can understand staffing requirements set be the county.I could not find any membership number mandates in the OFPC laws and policies. NFPA puts out standards not mandates or requirements. My point here is before we state Laws and Regulations in our great state of NY or any others lets make sure we can post them or tell someone right were they can be found. Not trying to be a prick. This is the same thing I would say to one of my own guys.

If your on duty guys are there due to EMS responsibilities then for MVA's I would say completely staff your ambulance and mutual aid the rescue response. For fire response I would have both guys respond on the tanker. 1500 gpm gives you a real good initial setup with sufficient water to cover the time for mutual aid to respond. In case of a large fire you are still sitting on a 3500 gallon nurse tanker to run operations from. 

Neither are great suggestions but faced with the constraints you have might be decent options. By having both guys on the tanker you have an extra set of eyes during the response, someone to handle communications, hit the hydrant (where available). Tanker responses seem to be the most dangerous in terms of accidents and this at least allows the tanker operator to focus on the actual driving. 

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