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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I wish we could respond with two in our tanker. The only problem is we only have two exterior compartments. One side has fittings because we are surrounded by all kinds of different threads. The other side has two scba's. We have no room to mount any tools. On either sideof the tank we have a 4000 gallon dump tank on either side.

A couple of ideas:

Ask volunteers to commit to pre-determined blocks furing a shift. Whether it be 4,6,8 hours, or the whole shift. The less time in the blocks you're proposing I think you'd get a better turnout. Then you can hopefully build to consistant 3 person shifts

If your squad has extrication gear. The 2 paid should take the Squad to all MVAs. If not, I'd put extrication gear on it if possible then the 2 paid staff still take the Squad only. Consider just a combination hydraulic tool and a small pump to save room. I personally would hate the idea of leaving an apparatus at a crash scene unattended.

I'd also say 2 on the Engine to hydranted areas and it's a coin toss on tender/tanker areas. I'd say 2 on the Engine. You're either going to save the house on the first tank of water or the house is toast. 

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