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What does that mean to a citizen/taxpayer? Even city and county administrators need to understand why.
What a coordinated fire attack looks like broken down into specific job functions. This is meant for describing Minimum Manpower needed for a typical 2000 sq. ft. residential building fire. It is imperative that these basic firefighting functions be carried out simultaneously rather than sequentially. This is otherwise known as a coordinated fire attack. This will ensure a SAFE and EFFECTIVE firefighting operation.
As described below, these 8 minimum tasks need to happen simultaneously most of the time.
1. First Engine -1st handline for suppression – Initial attack and extinguishment of the “seat” of the fire. Rescue if needed. 3 Person Team
2. Second Engine - 2nd handline for suppression – Extinguishment of fire that has extended to other exposures and back up of initial attack line. Support Rescue operations as needed. 3 Person Team
3. Pump Operator - Coordinates and operates the fire engine’s pump to insure proper water pressure and supply is available for extinguishment. 1 Person First Engine driver
4. Ventilation Team– Systematic removal and replacement of heated air, smoke, and gases from a structure with cooler air. This facilitates entry by firefighters and improves life safety for rescue and other operations. 2 Person Team First Ladder Company
5. Search and Rescue – A rapid but thorough process that is carried out under extremely adverse conditions with the removal and initial treatment of victims. 2 Person Team First Ladder Company
6. Water Supply – Finding and establishing large diameter hoses for a continuous and uninterrupted source of water for suppression activities. 1 Person usually 2 due Engine driver
7. Rapid Intervention Team – Required team of at least three firefighters for the purpose of rescuing firefighters who become trapped or disable while operating in hazardous atmospheres. 3 Person Team usually 3rd Engine or 2nd Ladder company
8. Incident Commander – Overall tactician and strategist who ensures that life safety, incident mitigation, and property conservation is achieved. Coordinator of operations. 1 Person Battalion Chief
Total of 16 Fire Fighters (Combination of ffs, company officers, chief officer) For an effective and efficient fire attack. Just for the 8 tasks mentioned.
1 person equals a firefighter. Typically an urban/suburban fire service response to a working single family residential fire: would consist of:
Ultimately the above are 4 person staffed units. Real world most urban run with 3 person units with staff off for vacation, sick, etc. Some departments respond with 2 person units, therefore even more trucks are needed to respond to field a safe and effective firefighting force.
This is needed to obtain the resources described above to accomplish the tasks on the fire ground. (Note: city/county departments could substitute units with rescues, or other engines/ladders and specialty companies. (rescues/squads)
However this does not allow for the following necessary and needed positions to be staffed. Other required resources are needed for these tasks and functions;
9. Emergency Medical Crew - for treatment of victims or injured firefighters. 2 Person Team Medic/Ambulance Crew
10. Command Aid – for assistance with accountability and tracking of firefighters working on fire ground. 1 Person Battalion Aide or officer from Second Truck Company or 3rd Engine
11. Safety Officer – To act as extra set of eyes for the incident commander and to monitor constantly changing conditions to insure overall fire ground safety for fire fighters. Usually positioned to conduct a 360 continuous view of the incident. NFPA REQUIRED POSITION. This is ultimately the incident commanders responsibility however once span of control is maxed it is delegated to maintain its overall effectiveness. 1 Person 2nd Battalion Chief or staff Officer responding if available.
12. Additionally note if multiple victims or injuries are present that would call for additional Medical resources. Each EMS/Ambulance crew adding 2 Persons.
At its Thursday budget workshop, Brunswick County shifted its fire department funding method, moving funding entirely to fire fees with specific fee amounts requested by each department based on its budgetary needs.
Fire fees are collected from each property owner in the fire department’s district, and are based on the type of the property (single-family dwelling, undeveloped acreage or commercial) and the square footage of the building or the acreage of the undeveloped land.
In recent years, some departments were not able to meet their funding needs with the fire fees collected, and had requested extra funding. This funding was provided from countywide ad valorem revenue, or property tax revenue collected from all property owners in Brunswick County. Many municipal governments were also assessing property taxes to supplement their fire departments. The Brunswick County-specific legislation provides for establishing a fire fee rate setting committee for each department and making recommendations about the fire fee amount for each fire district. Each department, municipal government and community stakeholders were represented on the fire fee committees, and all committees’ requests were granted. Municipal governments’ fire fees will only be increased with the support of the municipal council.
“It is very gratifying that stakeholders worked through a collaborative process that has resulted in additional budget funding in fiscal year 2018-19 for fire departments and improved service levels for citizens,” said County Manager Ann Hardy.
Changing the fire fees, in an amount specific to that fire department’s needs and requests, helps move toward a more sustainable fire funding model that aligns each fire department’s budget with the fire fees of its base, without relying on variable or supplemental funds from other places.
No fire department’s fire fee amount was reduced, and many requested increases to better meet departmental needs. Other departments found that, with growth of additional homes or businesses in their district, their fire fee funding increased without increasing the fire fees themselves.