Click here to view the pages from 2009 regarding the 20% reduction of Ormond Beach Fire Dept emergency response vehicles and prior staffing issues.

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STAFFING AT THE FOREFRONT OF FIRE DEPARTMENT ISSUES

posted 9/1/11

HOLLY HILL FIRE DEPARTMENT HAS RESUMED MINIMUM STAFFING OF THREE PERSONNEL

Holly Hill has returned staffing of their engine to four personnel at full staffing and no less than three. Thank you Holly Hill leadership for making the decision to provide adequate service to your constituents.

If only we could say the same for VCFS...

VCFS CONTINUES TO JEOPORDIZE THE SAFETY OF ITS CITIZENS AND PERSONNEL BY ROUTINELY STAFFING ENGINES WITH ONLY TWO FIREFIGHTERS

posted 10/17/10

VCFS & HOLLY HILL FIRE DEPARTMENT STAFFING FIRE ENGINES WITH ONLY TWO PERSONNEL

VCFS (Volusia County Fire Services) has implemented reduced staffing in some areas. Depending on staffing availability, many stations, including 11, 13, 14, and 18, may only staff two firefighters. This could mean that an Ormond by the Sea resident (protected by Station 14) who pays more than $400 per year to the county specifically for fire services (this is more than many people pay for their entire tax bill to their respective municipalities) is getting one third less for their money than they were prior to this change. While the county states it will insure there is always a paramedic on duty, there may not always be an officer. This means that you could potentially have only two firefighters (which is not enough to permit safe entry into a burning structure) who may only have a few years experience protecting you, your loved ones, and your property from fire. Residents of the Ormond by the Sea area of the county should not be happy about this, as they are funding a large portion of the county fire budget.

Holly Hill FD station 96 is also (depending on staffing availability) dropping staffing to two firefighters on their engines. This, as is the case with VCFS, increases their reliance on other agencies to supplement their services and reduces their ability to sustain adequate service delivery to their citizens.

What does this mean to residents of Ormond Beach?

In December 2008 Ormond Beach Fire Department removed Ladder 93 from service. This resulted in a 20% reduction in response vehicles covering Ormond Ormond Beach. (click here to go to the original posts regarding this reduction and its impact to the service delivery for Ormond.) This set the stage for increased response times and reliance on outside agencies to supplement the EMS/Fire services provided by Ormond Beach Fire Department. Now the very agencies that we are relying on more than ever have reduced the level of service they provide as well. This causes a ripple effect in service delivery.

Consider the following scenario: The city of Ormond Beach has a structure fire within the city limits bordering Ormond by the Sea. The normal compliment for a first alarm is dispatched. This would include 3 Engines 1 Aerial and 1 Battalion Commander. Due to the proximity of the incident one of the responding units is an engine from an outside agency staffed with only two personnel. This means the first alarm assignment would no longer meet the minimum recommendation of 14 personnel on a structure fire as set forth by NFPA 1710 (Standard for the Organization and Deployment of Fire Suppression Operations, Emergency Medical Operations, and Special Operations to the Public by Career Fire Departments). To meet this requirement another unit would have to be added to the response. This could create a significant delay in obtaining adequate personnel on scene to efficiently and effectively mitigate the incident. This creates unnecessary risk to both firefighters and citizens.

The stations listed that may be staffing only two personnel on an engine all border Ormond Beach. This means that if any of the bordering County stations, or the Holly Hill station, are included in the response (a highly probable proposition) and are staffed with only two personnel, the nationally recognized standard for number of personnel on scene would not be met. This would then require additional apparatus be added to the alarm to provide adequate manpower. This in turn leaves less units available to cover other calls in their jurisdictions thus causing increased response times to any other emergency calls that come in.

Another negative impact of this reduction in staffing is that it creates disparity with regard to the automatic aid that is provided between jurisdictions. If one of these understaffed fire units is needed to cover an EMS call in Ormond Beach while one of Ormond's units is on another call, the citizens of Ormond would be getting less than they paid for when they paid their taxes for this service. The impact of one less person on scene to administer CPR and provide care for someone in cardiac arrest can be detrimental to the chance of survival of the patient. There would also be a delay in the arrival of emergency personnel to the medical emergency as the outside unit would be responding from farther away.

Staffing front line engines with only two personnel is unacceptable. NFPA 1710 (NFPA 1710 FACT SHEET click here for additional information on this standard) states the minimum staffing on a Fire Engine as four personnel. The idea of staffing an Engine with only two personnel is something that has not been considered acceptable as a standard in the last 30 years.

VCFS has spent most of the last ten years building its staffing to three personnel on an engine (still below the national standard of four, but the same number of personnel on most units in the local jurisdictions). It is a travesty for these units to now be allowed to run with only two personnel. Holly Hill was staffing three to four personnel on its engine. The reduction to two personnel is a blow to the service delivery of these departments.

The resultant reduction of services will not be recognized by you, the citizens, until you need emergency services (911). Wouldn't you expect to be informed of something as important as a decrease in the level of emergency services being provided to you and paid for with your tax dollars? No one thinks about emergency services until they need care themselves, and no one ever thinks they are going to need that care (it won't happen to me), yet every day many people do. When they do, they expect immediate response and the best care available. If this is what you expect then you have to ensure that your fire departments level of service is maintained. If you ignore your emergency services they will go away. Do not allow diminished services to delay the care you need or diminish the level of service you receive in your time of emergency.

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What can I do to insure an adequate level of emergency service is maintained in Ormond Beach?

I am not sure I understand how my fire department works.

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What can I do to insure an adequate level of emergency service is maintained in Ormond Beach?

You as a citizen are the voice of the city. The Commissioners are elected by you to serve your interests.
You can contact your Commissioners by e-mail or telephone. Links are provided below. The best way to ensure your voice is heard is to attend a Commission Meeting. Any citizen of Ormond can speak for up to three minutes during the "Audience Remarks" session at the beginning of the meetings. All you have to do is arrive early enough to fill out a card (located on a table at the entrance to the chambers) and present it the City Clerk (she sits to the far left of the room) before the start of the meeting. The meetings are held the first and third Tuesday of every month at 7 p.m. in the Commission Chambers at City Hall, 22 S. Beach Street. You do not have to elaborate on any specific items, all you have to do is state that you will not accept substandard emergency services . The Commission needs to hear it from you, or they will continue down the path of diminishing services, and you will pay the price.

Click here for additional information on speaking at a commission meeting

Click here to contact your Commissioner and Mayor

Click here to find the Commissioner for your zone

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I am not sure I understand how my fire department works.

In order to truly understand the impact of this reduction you must understand how Ormond Beach FIRE/EMS services work.

Ormond Beach has four fire stations. One in each of four response zones called districts (91, 92, 93, and 94). Each station has one front line response unit and other units that are task specific (brush trucks for wildland firefighting, a tanker for water supply in non-hydranted areas, a marine unit for water rescue, a squad for large incidents that require extended scene times and/or additional equipment, and two back-up engines). Additionally there were two first response units at station 93 (Rescue-Engine 93 and Ladder 93). All of Ormond's first response units (fire trucks) are ALS (Advanced Life Support) licensed, staffed, and equipped, meaning they are equipped and licensed to provide the same level of medical care that an ambulance service, or any other EMS service provider can give. They are currently staffed with a minimum of three personnel. Each unit has at least one Paramedic, and all personnel are trained as EMT's.

When you dial 911 your call goes to a dispatch center. They in turn dispatch the appropriate FIRE/EMS/POLICE response vehicles.

If your emergency is medical in nature the dispatchers will send an Ormond Beach fire truck and an ambulance. Volusia County has a private transport agency (EVAC ambulance service) that operates independently of any fire department. Like Ormond fire units, they provide both ALS (Advanced Life Support) and BLS (Basic Life Support) services. They are currently the only agency in Volusia County that transports patients to hospitals. When a medically related emergency call comes in, the first due fire truck and an ambulance are dispatched. The majority of the time our fire trucks arrive before the ambulance. This is a result of the stations being placed to facilitate fast response times. The private ambulance service stages its ambulances in various locations across the county. It is unusual for there to be more than two ambulances staged in Ormond at one time. Sometimes there may only be one in service due to others being obligated to prior calls. When the fire department arrives we provide the same level of care that the ambulance service provides until they arrive and care is transferred to them for transport to the hospital.

If your emergency is fire related, the appropriate assignment of fire trucks respond depending on whether it is a structure fire, vehicle fire, brush fire, etc... For a residential structure fire, first alarm response previously included Ladder 93 and three of our four engines, leaving one of our engines available for coverage of the city. Under the Quint concept we now are dispatching all four of our front line engines, relying on outside agencies to cover our city, or having the outside agencies respond on the first alarm. Depending on the location of the fire we rely on outside agencies for response if their unit is closer than one of ours and is available. This reliance on outside agencies has been increased with the change to the Quint concept, primarily because we have one less unit available for response (a 20% reduction in responding units).

If your emergency is a motor vehicle accident, a single unit or multiple units may respond depending on the location, severity, number and type of vehicles involved. Sometimes even single vehicle accidents require more than one fire apparatus. Motor vehicle accidents can require specialized equipment. Motor vehicle accidents often require coordinated efforts of multiple resources for mitigation of the incident. On large motor vehicle incidents Ladder 93 had been utilized to provide specialty equipment and extra manpower. Now an additional first response unit from another district in the city has to be added, thus reducing the coverage to the city for the duration of the motor vehicle incident.

Your fire department has become the catch-all safety organization for most emergency situations, front line defense and homeland security. We are tasked with responding to hazardous materials incidents, medical emergencies, motor vehicle accidents, bomb threats, assaults, fires, aircraft emergencies, train wrecks, water rescue, rope rescue, confined space rescue, fuel spills, gas leaks, painting and flow testing of hydrants, conducting inspections, and providing public education and safety awareness. Oh yeah, we still have to clean the toilets, mop the floors, take out the trash, vacuum, wash the dishes, do paperwork, complete monthly training, wash the trucks, clean the bay floors, check out the equipment, decontaminate our medical equipment, maintain our supply inventories, wash our uniforms, shine our boots, and smile when people say we are over paid and under utilized.

Obviously there are a lot more incident types, and specifics that were not covered here. Hopefully enough information has been given for you to make an informed decision regarding the level of services you would like to receive as a citizen of Ormond Beach.

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If you have any questions or comments please click the following link to send us an email. info@iaff3499.com

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posted 9/1/11

STAFFING REMAINS AN ISSUE IN ORMOND BEACH

We are currently operating with 42 personnel. Station 94, which is required to be staffed with four personnel to meet the requirements of the ISO, routinely operates with only three personnel. The 2010-2011 budget includes the three additional positions that would enable Station 94 to have the required staffing of four personnel at all times. Ormond Beach leaders need only hire the additional three personnel that have been in the budget since October of last year to meet this requirement and put this issue to rest. This would also aid in reduction of overtime budgeting.

 

posted 10/17/10

ORMOND CITY LEADERS REDUCE FIRE DEPARTMENT STAFFING

Ormond Beach Fire Department is currently operating with seven less line personnel (firefighters) than was budgeted for prior to the adoption of the 2010-2011 budget. One firefighter position was vacated in June of 2009. In November and December 2009 three officer, and two driver/engineer positions were vacated. In April of 2010 one Driver/Engineer position was vacated. This reduced our line personnel from 48 to 41, a reduction of seven personnel.

The recently adopted budget for the City of Ormond Beach 2010-2011 does not include three of the seven vacated positions. So it seems our prior fears associated with the removal of Ladder 93 from service (implemented December 2008, click here for prior information regarding that change) were not unfounded. The intent now is to only replace one of the four positions that were included in the budget. The City continues to save money on salaries that are budgeted for but not filled. The filling of only one position keeps Ormond Beach Fire Services at its absolute lowest safe staffing level operations. It is, in essence, the least the City can do to protect you, its citizens.

For more information on how reductions in staffing impact Fire/EMS services please read the information on the left side of this page and the information that was posted in 2009.  click here

If you have any questions or comments please click the following link to send us an email. info@iaff3499.com

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Click here to go to the City of Ormond Beach website

Click here to go to the Volusia County website

Click here to go to the IAFF 3499 website