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Firefighting - Staffing: Are We Telling the Right Story?

Craig A. Haigh While attending a recent national conference, I had dinner with a group of chief officers from an east coast volunteer department. When asked about the number of personnel I have assigned to fire apparatus, I was immediately chastised about running only three-person companies (not five or six) and how this was dangerous and inefficient. I had been feeling pretty good about running with three people since so many departments in my area had been forced to reduce company staffing numbers, eliminate companies, shutter firehouses, or work with rolling brownouts. I have often made the statement that, “In today’s economy, if I go home at the end of the day and still have three pe...

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