Why is proper Fire Department staffing so important? There are agencies in the United States such as Underwriter’s Laboratories and NIST that conduct scientific studies in many different areas of employment, one of them is firefighter safety and occupant survival. Over the course of the past few years, their scientifically controlled studies, in conjunction with fire departments across the U.S. have determined the occupant survival rates based upon the amount of people that show up to a fire in the first arriving Engine company. This data was compared with response times and a chart was formulated to show whether or not the occupant, based upon their age, would survive a structure fire. Here’s the chart:
So what does this chart mean? Well, let’s first discuss what makes a crew. There are multiple positions inside a fire engine. The Driver/Operator is NOT part of an initial crew – this person has other tasks, like establishing a water supply and operating the pump on the engine to provide the engine “crew” with water in the hoses. So, a 2-person crew on the above chart signifies 3 people arriving on the Engine. You can see by the chart that the difference between an early arrival and late arrival is 2 minutes. The grey area is toxic dose exposure for elderly/young ages, and the tan area is toxic dose exposure for everyone else.
In Carpentersville, our ambulances run approximately 80% of all calls. During this time, the engine at station 2 and station 3 have 2 people – in other words, they are not on this chart. At Station 1, when the ambulance is out, the engine has 0 people – so, also not on this chart. In other words for 80% of our call volume, EVERYONE in a fire receives a toxic dose exposure – period. The other 20% of the time, based on response times, in old town – you are in the 2-person late category, so everyone gets a toxic dose of exposure. On the East and West Side, during that 20% of the time, those residents would be in the 3-person late category meaning only the elderly and young would receive a toxic dose of exposure.
It is the responsibility of the Director of Public Safety and Deputy Fire Chief to ensure that the Trustees know this. So, I must assume that this national study done in conjunction with fire departments has been given to and explained to the trustees. Given that scientific evidence suggests, based on our current daily staffing, that pretty much everyone in the town is at risk, why are our Trustees so adverse to admitting that truth? What are they hiding? WHY DON’T THEY CARE ABOUT YOUR SAFETY?
That’s why it’s time for disclosure, time for truth, time for a change.