Do more with less?

Would you take the football field with 8 players to take on 11. What if you had to take on 20 players with just 8? It seems like today’s leaders are asking us to do just that. Today’s economic downturns and budgetary issue are affecting every department nation wide. From rolling brown and black outs to the closing of fire stations, we all are being asked to do more with less. Here is the problem, the fires that we are fighting in today’s time grow 10 times faster, burn 10 times hotter, and the smoke that it produces is 10 times as toxic! So is short staff fire apparatus the “NEW NORMAL” ?

With the release of the National Institute of standards and technology (NIST) study on crew size while responding to single family dwelling structural fires our guns are loaded with ammunition to take to our city leaders, Right? How can the facts and figures that a 4 person crew is 30%f aster than a 2 man crew and 15% faster than a three man crew even allow for the staffing reduction? Would you take a 30 or even 15% chance risk with your family? But what is the trade off? Where does the monies come from? What happens when there just isn’t any monies left?
Lets use one more example from the services that we provide. The data from a American Heart Association website states that a sudden cardiac arrest is 95% chance of death in a out of hospital setting. This percent reduces to 30-40% chance if a trained responder and AED arrive within 5 minutes. What is a life worth to you? Is it time to find alternate funding and quit cutting fire stations?
These are just two examples of services that we provide. But we all know that, so what is the new normal? The new normal is less means more! Less staffing means more work for each one of us, less backup, and putting commanders into more situations. It comes to a point where a officer is going to make a decision that we don’t go in! I just hope this decision is coming from a fire growth and spread not a lack of manpower. We all better take the time to train a little harder and become more proficient at working harder longer. So lets break the huddle with our 8 players and get ready for the super bowl! Until the powers that be figure out what it takes to return our staffing or even worse another 9/11 happens, we better dig in and prepare for a more intense battle because now is the “NEW NORMAL”
Be Safe… thanks for visiting the jumpseat!
Thanks to Dr. Richard Gasaway for “The Whole New Ballgame” article in firehouse magazine. Look for his article in the March issue for more on this subject.
welcome to the jumpseat!