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40-Hour to 54-Hour Firefighter Proposal

Portage Fire Department. 40-Hour to 54-Hour Firefighter Proposal. Ideas for Improved Efficiency & Effectiveness. Goal.

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40-Hour to 54-Hour Firefighter Proposal

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  1. Portage Fire Department 40-Hour to 54-Hour Firefighter Proposal Ideas for Improved Efficiency & Effectiveness

  2. Goal Increase 24-hour operational firefighter staffing by one per shift utilizing current Fire Department staff by moving two current 40-hour firefighters to the 24-hour position and permanently retaining the current “temporary” firefighter

  3. Objectives • Reduce department overtime for “Minimum Manning” • Retain current “temporary firefighter” and make position permanent • Increase 24-hour shift strength by one on each shift (A, B, and C) • Maintain “Minimum Manning” of 7 per shift, per day (same as today) with maximum of 2 firefighters scheduled off per day for vacation, 54-hour day, etc.

  4. Background – Today’s Situation The City of Portage, like many cities has been facing an increasing population which has increased demands for quality service Source: U.S Census, Portage Valuation History & Portage, City on the Grow Fire Protection Evaluation, 1987

  5. Background – Today’s Situation, cont’d The Portage Fire Department’s calls for service have increased significantly (272%) in the past 30 years Source: Firehouse Database

  6. Background – Today’s Situation, cont’d • In 1989, the city hired two 40-hour firefighters assigned to an 8am-4pm, Monday thru Friday schedule • These positions were designed to supplement limited daytime response from paid on-call firefighters combined with the increasing demands for service • The City of Portage continues to supplement career staffing for the fire department with a paid on-call system. The department has authorization to fill 36 paid on-call positions. Today, the department has 17, with 10 having less than 2 years experience • From 1998 to 2005, the Portage Fire Department recruited and trained 85 paid on-call firefighters. Of those 85, only 16 (19%) remain with the department

  7. On-Call Retention: 1998 - 2005 7 Since 1998, PFD has Hired 85 On Call 16 Remain 2 1 4 1 1 0 0 Note: 1 paid on-call was hired prior to 1998 and is still on staff Source: Firehouse Database

  8. On-Call Experience Level Average On-Call Experience = 2.5 Years Note: 1 On-Call has 13 years experience, hired pre-1998 Source: Firehouse Database

  9. Background – Today’s Situation Even the most dedicated and dependable on-call firefighters are available only part of the time and struggle to juggle family, work and fire department commitments. This is not a local problem. It is reflective of the nationwide trend where there has been a 10 to 12.5% decline over the past two decades. Source: Firehouse Database, U.S.A Today, 11/9/05 & NVFC, 2000

  10. On-Call Response to Incidents - 2004 Based upon OCFF response criteria Source: Firehouse Database

  11. On-Call Response to Incidents - 2005 Based upon OCFF response criteria Source: Firehouse Database

  12. Pros Provides additional coverage from 8am – 4pm, Monday – Friday Ability to work with all three shifts (A, B and C) Evenings & Weekends off Pros & Cons of the 40-Hour Firefighter Position Cons • Leaves 2/3 of the shift without additional coverage as well as weekends • Lack of unity with 54-hour firefighters due to not being assigned to specific shift • No ‘Unity of Command’ – 54-hour firefighters report to one captain & one BC while 40-hour firefighters report to a minimum of three captains & three BCs • Lack of mentorship for newer firefighters – FTO (Field Training Officer) Concept • Desire to work 24-Hour with the same people (common-place for fire service) • Overtime paid at higher rate of pay Source: Portage 40 Hour Firefighter (Current & Former Employee) Survey

  13. The 40-Hour Firefighter Starting Salary – $36,525 Hourly Rate - $17.56 Overtime Rate - $26.34 Hours Worked – 8am – 4pm Days Worked – Mon thru Friday Annual Hours Worked – 2080 Hours per Week - 40 Holiday Bonus – 11.5 Days Off Uniform Bonus - $775 Food Allowance - $750 What Is The Better Value Per Tax Dollar? The 54-Hour Firefighter • Starting Salary – $36,525 • Hourly Rate - $13.01 • Overtime Rate - $19.51 • Hours Worked – 8am – 8am • Days Worked – Rotational • Annual Hours Worked – 2808 • Hours per Week – 54 average • Holiday Bonus – 110 hours of base pay • Uniform Bonus - $775 • Food Allowance - $750 54-Hour Firefighters provide the city with 728additional hours of protection each year, at the SAME salary as a 40-Hour Firefighter

  14. 2005 Calls Based on Time of Day 40-Hour Firefighters work Monday through Friday, 8am to 4pm position. 55% of the calls for service were after 40-hour firefighters were off 3071 Total Calls 40-Hr Firefighter On Duty No 40-Hr Firefighter Coverage!!! Source: Firehouse Database

  15. 2005 Calls That Require Manpower 40-Hour Firefighters work Monday through Friday, 8am to 4pm position. 55% of the calls for service were when 40-hour firefighters were not scheduled to work.. Cannot predict when the ‘manpower intensive’ calls will come in Source: Firehouse Database

  16. How 24-Hour Staffing Is Used Today Fire Station 1 Fire Station 2 Fire Station 3 Battalion Chief Captain Captain Captain Firefighter Firefighter Firefighter Proposed Position Proposed position would include the retention of current “temporary” firefighter Full Staffing = 9 Total Staff 2004 & 2005 Average = 7.8

  17. Number of Days with 9, 8 and 7 Staff On Duty 47% 47% 33% 27% 26% 20% Source: Portage Fire Department Payroll Sheets

  18. International City Management Association (ICMA) Reports: Various controlled and statistically based experiments by some cities & universities reveal that if about 16 trained firefighters are not operating at the scene of a working fire within the critical time period of 5 minutes, dollar loss and injuries significantly increase as fire grows. Firefighting tactics were conducted for comparative purposes, fire suppression companies were judged for their task performance and rated for their effectiveness. A two firefighter engine is, at minimum, 50% understaffed & increases the work effort of the two firefighters by a factor of three Source: ICMA Report & NIOSH, 1999

  19. Fire Department Overtime in Hours – 2004 & 2005 Source: Portage Fire Department Payroll Sheets

  20. What Creates The Overtime? • The average Portage career firefighter is 49 years old. • Research shows that the older the firefighters get, the greater risk to injury they have. Also, the recovery time is greater than when they were younger. This has been true in Portage • When manning falls below 9 (8am until 4pm) or below 7 after 4pm, it creates the need for overtime • Because the majority of firefighters work on a 24-hour basis, overtime adds up quickly. Also, every weekend (when 40-hour firefighters are off), 8 to 16 hours of overtime are filled whenever staffing is below 9 Source: U.S Fire Administration & FEMA

  21. Estimated Hours/Cost for Overtime by Position – 2004 $50,037 $32,064 $15,381 $17,049 4213 hours Source: Portage Fire Department Payroll Records

  22. Estimated Hours/Cost for Overtime by Position – 2005 $50,157 $21,559 $24,042 $13,275 4074 hours Source: Portage Fire Department Payroll Records

  23. What If 40-Hour Firefighters Were Working 24-Hour Shifts? Reviewing overtime data for 2004 and 2005, the question was posed, “what amount of overtime could have been saved if 40-Hour firefighters were on 24-hour shifts?” A Reduction of 81% & 90% Source: Portage Fire Department Payroll Records

  24. Moving 40-Hour Firefighters to 24-Hour Shift With OT Savings, move “Temp” Firefighter to “Permanent” 24-Hour Shift / position Add 40-Hour Firefighter to 24-Hour Shift Add 40-Hour Firefighter to 24-Hour Shift C A B By adding a firefighter to each shift and maintaining “Minimum Manning” of 7 before OT is utilized, the savings in overtime will more than pay for the salary & benefits to retain the temporary position.. 2 people could be scheduled off on vacation or 54 hour day and still allow for one person to be off sick before OT is needed.

  25. Benefits of Having 40-Hour Firefighters On Shift • More firefighters on duty for a 24-hour period, not just during the hours of 8am to 4pm (Monday – Friday), providing increased protection for the citizens of Portage • Opportunity to have 3 firefighters on duty at Station 3 instead of just 2. This station is the first-due company for Pfizer , the new Stryker plant as well as initial aid (under the new agreement) to the City of Kalamazoo • Improved effectiveness by having another firefighter stepping off of the engine during the ‘critical time period’ when an emergency has occurred • Increased efficiency - 728 extra hours of protection with no increased cost. 2808 hours of coverage instead of 2080 hours. 35% more coverage for the same salary! • Increase average coverage per shift, enhancing safety of firefighters • Reduction in overtime by keeping “minimum manning” at 7

  26. Recommendation The Portage Fire Department with the support of the Portage Professional Firefighters Union, Local 1467 recommends the following: • Move current “40-Hour” firefighters to “54-Hour” shift • Retain the “temporary” firefighter position permanently • Assign the three current “40-Hour” positions to a shift (A, B and C shift) creating an equal amount of staffing on each • Maintain a “Minimum Manning” level of 7 (on duty) before overtime is utilized

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