Rescue Service Growing In Importance
Survey Measures Requirements Of Communities Striving to Meet Needs
ALL ACROSS the country there is a growing awareness that trained rescue squads can and do perform a very essential public service. The great increase in the number of communities operating fire rescue vehicles is testimony of this important trend.
Because requirements vary greatly from community to community, there are few standards in the field. A small town without hospital service may stress ambulance services as its main function. Another situated 30 miles from the nearest lake doesn’t have the same water-rescue requirements of a resort town. One community through experience may find accident and disaster their primary problems while another concentrates its effort as a fire fighting auxiliary.
This variation of service requirements reduces the possibility of standardization in equipment and also influences apparatus body style. Available squad members and budget limitations will influence the size of the unit. In spite of all these variables, a great amount of information can be gained from the experience of others. It was with this in mind that the Gerstenslager Company undertook the following survey of rescue squads and fire departments. The results exceeded expectations. Of the 3,000 questionnaires mailed, 581 or nearly 20 per cent were filled out and returned. From the answers and written-in suggestions it was obvious that much thought and deliberation was given to the replies.
43 states reply
Replies to the questionnaire came from 43 of the 50 states for a good geographical representation. Pennsylvania led the list in greatest interest and was followed closely by California, Ohio, New York and Texas. Of the 581 replies, 406 or 69.8 per cent of responding departments now operate fire rescue vehicles. At the time of the survey 175 or 30.2 per cent did not have fire rescue equipment. Of these, however, information from the questionnaire indicates that many are currently planning this important service.
In addition to being geographically representative of the whole country, the survey covers communities ranging in size from some of the nation’s smallest in the 1000—5000 population range to the largest, over 500,000, including New York City.
Tabulations were made from respondents and are summarized by per cent of all reporting in the order of occurrence. The summaries that follow are for six categories of population ranging from 1,000—5,000 up to 100,000-500,000.
Other equipment not included in questionnaire but suggested by respondents covered many items among which splints, oxygen tanks, doctor lists and mouth-to-mouth airways lead the way.
Items that lead the list of other equipment not included in the questionnaire but suggested by respondents were: life preservers, self-contained masks, underwater lights and a raft.
Suggested equipment in this category included aluminized suits, foam equipment, tow chains, signal lights and others.
Portable power hydraulic rescue kits, salvage covers and salvage equipment lead the list of suggested equipment in this category.
Suggested in this category was a variety of equipment including brooms, mops and electric heaters.
Summary of Equipment Preference Cities Over 500,000 and Larger
Cities over 500,000 were tabulated separately for two reasons: (1) There are only seven reporting cities in this group, and (2) the services provided by these units are more highly specialized. All seven municipalities now operate rescue units, so the following results can be interpreted as equipment requirements based nearly 100 per cent on experience. This listing includes all write-in not included in original questionnaire.