East Pierce Firefighters IAFF 3520 - East Pierce Firefighters IAFF Local 3520
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East Pierce Firefighters IAFF Local 3520
Saturday, 17 May 2014
Staffing and Why It Matters To You
By Mike Westland, East Pierce Firefighters IAFF Local 3520
10:17 AM PST, May 17, 2014

Staffing and Why It Matters To You

Do you know what level of staffing your fire department provides and do you know why it is critically important?  Every day East Pierce Fire and Rescue has 23 people on duty to cover 6 stations, approximately 152 square miles, and to provide protection to over 87,000 citizens.  EPFR runs over 8,000 calls each year.  The National Fire Protection Association Standard 1710 states that we need 4 people per engine.  Currently, East Pierce Fire and Rescue has as a minimum of 2 person engine companies.  Clearly we are not meeting that standard.  Regionally most departments run with a 3 person minimum.  Our goal is to increase our staffing levels to a 3 person minimum so that we can provide better service to our citizens. 

What do all these numbers mean, in real life terms to you?  Under state law, if a fire engine showed up to your house while it was on fire, and you or a loved one was trapped inside, we could not come in and rescue you because we only have 2 personnel on site.  We would have to wait for an additional crew to arrive.  When you consider that fire doubles in size every 30 seconds, the time it takes us to get an effective force on scene is critical.  Being understaffed is risky for the citizens we are sworn to protect, and is risky for the firefighters that are tasked with putting fires out. 

There are other considerations besides structure fires as well.  When you look at the above numbers, you can see that we are spread very thin in order to provide coverage to our district.  Emergency medical calls do make up the majority of our calls.  It is common in our district to have multiple calls going on at the same time.  The fewer people we have on duty, means we need to send multiple units to get the right number of people to handle the call.  That means the likelihood of the closest unit being available to help you is decreased.  When you or a loved one is having a serious medical issue, time is critical.  Getting to the scene with the right number of people as quickly as possible is important.  Even a simple medical call takes 4 or 5 personnel at a minimum. 

Please watch the attached video; it further illustrates the need for adequate staffing.  As always, if you have any questions, please ask.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wuhMbdpH1sw

Sunday, 4 May 2014
Local Reporter earns her graduation from FIRE OPS 101
By Matthew Lowery, East Pierce Firefighters IAFF Local 3520
12:34 PM PST, May 04, 2014

FIRE OPS 101 is an event where firefighters take policy makers & media to a training facility and show them what it takes to do the work of firefighters. On May 1st, your East Pierce Firefighters invited local reporter Theresa De Lay from the Bonney Lake/Sumner Courier-Herald to the Volpentest HAMMER Fire Training Facility in Hanford, WA and put her to work as a firefighter for a day. Mrs De Lay did a wonderful job, and overcame some of her own personal fears as she completed the work of a firefighter. It was great working with her. Below are some pictures from the event.

The work of firefighters is time critical, highly technical, and labor intensive. The 6 event stations that were set up were designed to show the diverse, and multifaceted work that we as firefighters face. The 6 stations included vehicle extrication & patient treatment, cardiac arrest patient managment & transport, roof operations & vertical ventilation, building fire search & rescue, interior firefighting, and fires involving flammable liquids. Participants in the event ranged from elected city council members, mayor, state legislators, print reporters, and tv reporters.  As firefighters we want to have the people, training, tools and equipment to save lives. This event helps to show the people who are tasked with making decisions that affects public safety that the work is not just a line item in a budget. We are very thankful to all who attended. At the end of the event all participants received a graduation certificate and a fire helmet.  Congratulations to all!

 

 

 

 

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