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You are Viewing an Archived IssuePosted: 04/02/14
Fire chief lays out staffing, equipment needs
by CHRIS GRAYBudget changes may need to occur to update the Bruce-Romeo Fire Department in the coming years.
Observer Staff Writer
Following a presentation highlighting the need for new staffing and equipment, the Board of Trustees approved of the fire, Advanced Life Support and service contract budgets with a 5-0 vote on March 19.
Chief Ken Staelgraeve provided a preview of staffing, equipment and vehicular issues he said he would like to address in the next few years.
"These things may or may not be able to be solved with these current budgets," he said. "There are other solutions that are going to need to be pursued and things that we'll have to carry over into future budget years."
The Advanced Life Support budget is $1.2 million, while the fire budget is $799,368. The service contract, which expires in 2015, was $487,500.
For staffing, Staelgraeve said he would like to have five full-time personnel on each shift as opposed to four-man crews. He said when a firefighter takes a vacation it creates a minimal staffing situation, meaning only one staff member in one vehicle can respond to an emergency.
"One fire person, one paramedic person in a fire station is not only unsafe from a response perspective but it provides a disservice to those that we respond to," he said.
When examining equipment, he said he wants to start a schedule for replacing gear worn to fire scenes. He said he would replace 10 sets at $2,000 apiece in the next budget cycle.
"Current standards require that gear be replaced every 10 years -- most of our gear is 15 years old or older," he said.
This holds true to the department's hoses, which Staelgraeve said are some of the same hoses he used as a part-time firefighter in 1983. He said handheld radio equipment needs replacing as well.
He said the department doesn't have any water and ice rescue equipment, so he plans to recommend equipment to purchase in the near future.
He said it is important to plan out apparatus replacements in the next 20 years. He said in the near future the department will need to replace an ambulance that has more than 160,000 miles and a grass fire vehicle.
Staelgraeve said he would look into multiple options for each item and bring back the costs associated with them to the board.