The desire of combination departments to just put numbers on the roster.....

So I had a long thought process today about volunteer and combination departments in the area. Alot of departments seem to be enamored with the idea that they must have a good ISO rating or they will never again see anymore tax dollars in the bank.

It's my opinion that the ISO rating is important, but the public safety and the firefighter safety is more important. Am I wrong? I have been witness to agencies in the region that will pad the books with as many firefighters as possible whether active or not (volunteer) so that is has a higher number of responders when it comes to ISO ratings. Not only that, but I have had to bear witness to departments that don't seem to have a solid minimum standard for entry level responders, and then they all will finish recruit school without all of the necessary learning. Is this a trend in the volunteer fire service? What happens when that under-trained individual gets killed while performing their duty, because the agency was more worried about having numbers rather than quality. Or worse yet, what happens if that under-trained person's negligence or ignorance gets someone else killed?

What happens when the district or agency have padded the numbers enough to say that they have a certain level of coverage, but they really only have a third of the coverage for the response area, and they have changed the run matrix with the dispatch center to dispatch unstaffed rigs instead of mutual aid assignments. Now use this factor, the two stations that are staffed are in the north pasrt of a response area of approximately 70 square miles, there is a fire dispatched in the south part of the response area. It has reported rescue, with several other occupants already outside and injured. As we all know, fire doubles in size each 60 seconds...The two engines in the north end take almost 10 minutes to arrive onscene. Someone dies. Is this the agencies fault for negligence, or is it the tax payers fault for not making the commissioners of the agency accountable? Just food for thought.......I would like to see what people think, by the way the two engines are staffed with minimum staffing.

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