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Fire Fighter Staffing and Deployment Study Released

A landmark fire service study on fire fighter safety and the deployment of resources has just been released. You can find our story about the report and the study here and here.


We held a meeting and press conference in Washington, D.C., to outline the salient points in this ground-breaking research.


U.S. Fire Administrator Kelvin Cochran and IAFC President Jeff Johnson joined me to witness the public release of the National Institute for Standards and Technology’s fire fighter safety and deployment study, funded by the Department of Homeland Security.


I would be remiss if I did not extend my appreciation to Lori Moore-Merrell, the IAFF’s Assistant to the General President for Technical Assistance and Information Resources. She did a phenomenal job to help pull this landmark report together, and I applaud her efforts.


One major conclusion in the study shows that four- and five-person crews complete the 22 essential fire fighting and rescue tasks in a residential setting 30% faster than two-person crews and 25% faster than three-person crews.


The study is the culmination of more than a year’s worth of work by NIST, the IAFF and others in the fire service and it is one phase of the larger Multiphase Study on Firefighter Safety and the Deployment of Resources.


The results from this rigorous scientific study on the most common and deadly fires in the country those in single-family residences provide quantitative data to fire chiefs and public officials responsible for determining safe staffing levels, station locations and appropriate funding for community and fire fighter safety. 


This study comes at a crucial time for the fire service. Public officials considering resource cuts cannot ignore the results of this unbiased study.

Comments (7) -

  • Scott Slocum L1826

    4/28/2010 3:32:22 PM |

    This is great news as the study further reinforces and quantifies firefighter staffing through the use of science and technical professionals.  This should keep our members safer in years to come when used hand in hand with NFPA 1710 to bargain for improved "safer" staffing.

  • Henry Stoyer L2563

    5/1/2010 7:53:15 PM |

    I could have told you that and I am neither a science and or technical professional. Now try to get that thru the commisioners thick skulls. Its all about the money, allways has been.

  • Paul Reyes L0043

    5/2/2010 12:38:39 AM |

    I am sorry but what a waste of money on a useless study. I just wonder how many man hours were spent over the course of a year on an un-necessary study. Fire Departments across the country do not care about speed or the safety of their members If they did we would not be as poorly undermanned as we are today. They think with their pockets and budgetary concerns. It only takes common sense to know that the job is done faster with more firefighters on each rig. Just ask those of us that went from 5 man engine crews to 2 actual working members. That is 3 inside working with a pump operator and officer for command. It is my opinion that in the 25 years that I have been firefighting we have become fluff political departments rather than fire fighting units. While your at it why don’t you also look at the injury rate of those working with fewer members in the Idlh. I am sure that without spending a dime I can tell you that there are fewer injuries with more firefighters on a rig doing the work inside. It just stand to reason the it takes less effort for 3 to move an object in a tenuous environment than 2. What I hear from the copout hierarchy is that I am just an at will employee. What that tells me is that they are more interested in their jobs than the people doing the work for them. Please bring back common sense honor and character if it is at all possible.    

    • James Johnson F0088

      5/3/2010 8:56:15 AM |

      I agree somewhat, the budgets and cuts drive the staffing and we all know the benefit of adequate staffing since we do the work.  Even the managers that suggest the cuts know the benefits of adequate staffing but they are working with a different objective in mind which is to cut costs.  That said I think the NIST study is another important tool that we have at our disposal when we are trying to justify staffing.  Often we have to explain safe staffing to those outside the profession and having this study lends credibility to our fight.

  • Bruce Burding L3883

    5/2/2010 8:59:02 AM |

    This has come at a time when changin trends are needed to insure the safety of our firefighters and the general public. It is sad however that this will also go unheeded in States like mine that have no collective bargaining or methods to bring the concern to our policy makeres. The trend will be to save money and tax payer hikes to prevent the fave increase to our staff.

  • Michael Provencio F0116

    5/2/2010 5:32:51 PM |

    The NIST is the Nation’s scientific research laboratory and they have finally conducted a study to prove what we have been screaming about for years. Good for them and good for us! This study further increases the validity and necessity of our Union. We have been telling leaders across the board from the local level to the federal level that 4 and 5 person engine crews are not a luxury, but a necessity. This scientific study backs up and reinforces our claims and will have a huge impact as we work to improve the dangerously dwindling staffing levels across the countries fire departments.

  • John Piretti L0827

    5/15/2010 8:21:38 PM |

    This study was well done and well timed, we are in the fight of our careers to keep personnel. I hope city hall dwellers are not so blind, that they can at least look at these scenarios,  hopefully with an open mind. In many states their are bills that are in process to attack many of our benefits but also our manning clauses, as here in Massachusetts, they can call it municipal relief, it is really just union busting.

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