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An Explanation of Staffing by Chief Swinhart

Fire Chief Community Update – 9/29/22

We hope everyone in the community is enjoying our transition in to autumn! Those of us in the fire service are thankful that we’ll soon be getting the moisture we need to lower our extreme fire danger from the summer. As I write this it’s still very dry out there so please remain vigilant!

During our last Board meeting, we had some questions come up about our staffing and how we determine where we deploy our personnel and resources. Very good questions and I wanted to use this community update to explain a little about our staffing resources and how we use them. Below is what we call a “heat” map of our medical responses on the KP. The darker the red the more calls we get in that area:

As can be seen our largest call volume on the KP for medical emergencies is in the Wauna area. The next “burst” of red we see is in Home, followed by more dark red areas in Longbranch and on the west side of the peninsula between Joemma and Herron Point. Having only a finite number of personnel resources, we (like all fire departments) aim to deploy them in the areas where they are most needed. Hence our stations that are currently staffed 24 hours a day are located in Wauna, Home, and Longbranch. On the days when we have “full” staffing, we deploy those additional personnel to the Wauna station because statistically that is where they are going to be needed. We do have plans to staff Station 45 at Wright Bliss with live-in volunteers next year, but currently the station has no response-ready fire engine or ambulance.

So, what do our daily staffing numbers look like? We presently have 11 personnel assigned to each shift, and there are three shifts. That’s a good number of personnel, but keep in mind we almost never have a day where all 11 would be working at the same time due to vacation, sick leave, injuries, etc. I will highlight our staffing for today, September 29, so you can see how we deploy our available personnel:

9/29/22 – A-Shift working

Wauna Station (Medic 44):

Kyle C.

Brandon H.

Home Station (Engine 47):

William S. (Battalion Chief)

Robert B.

Jeff G.

Ami S.

Longbranch (Medic 49):

Daniel H.

Edward S.

Employees Off:

1. Vacation usage

2. Long-term injury leave

3. Long-term injury leave

So, what you are seeing here is that A-Shift is working today, and even though they normally have a complement of 11 personnel on their shift, only 8 are working because one is off on vacation and two others are off due to injury. Today is actually a pretty good staffing day. There are times, particularly during the summer, where we may have as few as 5 personnel on duty. Much depends on the health of our firefighters, how many are using vacation, or how many vacant spots we currently have. At present time, due to long-term injuries and personnel in paramedic training, we essentially have 4 vacant positions.

I hope this helps to clarify the how and why of where we deploy our personnel. If you ever have other questions about how your KP Fire Department works, please do not hesitate to drop me an e-mail or stop by the station.

Have a great day!

Nick Swinhart

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