CFD Response Changes 2017

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werinshades

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As of tomorrow, Jan. 15, 2017 CFD will be adopting a "no lights, no siren policy" for the following responses:

“Accident Investigations (without injuries)”, “Citizen Assist”, “Person Locked Out”, “Person
Locked In”, “Reset Fire Alarm”, “High Risk Warrant”, “Well-Being Check (CFD Member -
non-critically injured member)”, and “Well-Being Check (Citizen)”,

The term "Invalid Assist" will be replaced with "Citizen Assist". If a company is assigned to one of these non-emergency incidents and another emergency occurs within close proximity, the company will be reassigned.


The "Change of Quarters Policy" will remain the same:

Administrative Change: No lights, no sirens
Emergency Change: Lights and sirens are to be used.
 

ten13

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New York City established a similar change in response policy a few years ago, with "no noise" for some runs like gas leaks. But the "noise" restriction is for the 2nd Due units.

There was a time when fire units were expected to use their audible devices responding to, and returning from, alarms, primarily because of the lack of radios at the time. The sooner a company got back to quarters, the sooner they were actually in service for the next run. But, obviously, those days are long gone.

What FD administrators fail to look at is that the Dispatchers know almost immediately the seriousness of an alarm (and, despite being in the 21st Century, the fact that there are radios). There are probably a dozen or more run types which they could restrict the response of units, as well as the number of units, in which the "restriction" could be overridden by the dispatchers based on what they know at the time.

But politics rules everything: the less running companies do, the more the FD Administrators fear the closing of firehouses. Better to put five or six responding units on the street, with or without lights and sirens, and build up the runs, then reduce obviously unnecessary running and have to defend keeping a company and firehouse open.
 

werinshades

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New York City established a similar change in response policy a few years ago, with "no noise" for some runs like gas leaks. But the "noise" restriction is for the 2nd Due units.

There was a time when fire units were expected to use their audible devices responding to, and returning from, alarms, primarily because of the lack of radios at the time. The sooner a company got back to quarters, the sooner they were actually in service for the next run. But, obviously, those days are long gone.

What FD administrators fail to look at is that the Dispatchers know almost immediately the seriousness of an alarm (and, despite being in the 21st Century, the fact that there are radios). There are probably a dozen or more run types which they could restrict the response of units, as well as the number of units, in which the "restriction" could be overridden by the dispatchers based on what they know at the time.

But politics rules everything: the less running companies do, the more the FD Administrators fear the closing of firehouses. Better to put five or six responding units on the street, with or without lights and sirens, and build up the runs, then reduce obviously unnecessary running and have to defend keeping a company and firehouse open.
This is more of a Safety issue than politics. The companies can be redirected to a more serious incident if something came up. Long time coming...glad it's finally happening.
 

ten13

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"This is more of a Safety issue than politics."

You're right, but if your going to have a handful of units meandering down the street like a bunch of sanitation trucks, why have them go at all?

As I say, if it's something of some gravity, the Dispatcher will know almost immediately before the companies are sent.

In NYC's case, a "gas leak," even though they are in the media quite a bit are, more often than not, trivial in nature. The idea of sending two engine companies, two ladder companies, a battalion chief, to shut off the switch to the range top left on by the occupant, really makes no sense....but for the ability to jizz up the run numbers.

The idea of sending all those units to a gas leak goes back to the days BEFORE ELECTRICITY, and BEFORE RADIOS, when every light in a multiple dwelling was a gas light: in hallways, apartments, basements, etc. In those days a "gas leak" was a serious situation, as the amount of gas being released was phenomenally a lot more that today's stoves.

When a Dispatcher gets a call...ONE call...from an occupant of a building saying she "smells gas" in her apartment, but only in the kitchen, is it really necessary to send the Cavalry to shut her stove off? On the other hand, if someone walks into a building and smells gas wherever he is within the building, and people not feeling well, then everyone goes.

Here's another tidbit: several years ago, there was a jump in EMS response times in NYC. Not much; just a little. The FDNY surmised that maybe training the firemen as full EMTs would be a way to off-set that increase in response times. One of the bosses in NYC's EMS spoke up and said, give us the money it would cost to train the firemen, and we'll put xx-more number of ambulances on the street, without any need for the FD's response AT ALL!

Total panic set in, and EMS's idea was dismissed, solely on the behind-the-scenes fear that the FD Engine companies' response numbers would decrease substantially.

Better to have them respond unnecessarily than have them sit in quarters with a budget-cutting blade over their heads.
 

werinshades

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"This is more of a Safety issue than politics."

You're right, but if your going to have a handful of units meandering down the street like a bunch of sanitation trucks, why have them go at all?

As I say, if it's something of some gravity, the Dispatcher will know almost immediately before the companies are sent.

In NYC's case, a "gas leak," even though they are in the media quite a bit are, more often than not, trivial in nature. The idea of sending two engine companies, two ladder companies, a battalion chief, to shut off the switch to the range top left on by the occupant, really makes no sense....but for the ability to jizz up the run numbers.

The idea of sending all those units to a gas leak goes back to the days BEFORE ELECTRICITY, and BEFORE RADIOS, when every light in a multiple dwelling was a gas light: in hallways, apartments, basements, etc. In those days a "gas leak" was a serious situation, as the amount of gas being released was phenomenally a lot more that today's stoves.

When a Dispatcher gets a call...ONE call...from an occupant of a building saying she "smells gas" in her apartment, but only in the kitchen, is it really necessary to send the Cavalry to shut her stove off? On the other hand, if someone walks into a building and smells gas wherever he is within the building, and people not feeling well, then everyone goes.

Here's another tidbit: several years ago, there was a jump in EMS response times in NYC. Not much; just a little. The FDNY surmised that maybe training the firemen as full EMTs would be a way to off-set that increase in response times. One of the bosses in NYC's EMS spoke up and said, give us the money it would cost to train the firemen, and we'll put xx-more number of ambulances on the street, without any need for the FD's response AT ALL!

Total panic set in, and EMS's idea was dismissed, solely on the behind-the-scenes fear that the FD Engine companies' response numbers would decrease substantially.

Better to have them respond unnecessarily than have them sit in quarters with a budget-cutting blade over their heads.
I'm not downplaying the role dispatchers have in determining emergencies vs non-emergencies. Unfortunately in Chicago, the lawyers have taken over and our call-takers and dispatchers send the "policy-driven response" out as they are told to do. Days are gone when I started in this field when callers were told "no, you're not getting an ambulance, just give them a ride".

The thought process is more of a "what-if" this turns out to be more serious than the caller says it is. A few years ago, we eliminated the BLS program and made all 75 of CFD ambulances ALS. While that sounds good in theory, we have transferred "non-emergent" runs to the ALS ambulances and we can't be "rerouted " to a more serious run once we make patient contact. The Well-Being Check runs frequently require transportation to hospitals, but they will still send a fire company "no lights, no sirens" just in case.

I've been on too many accidents involving our fire companies responding to what was later found out to be a "non-emergent" event. This turns into a liability for the city, possibly injuring or killing members and civilians and I'm happy to see a policy move in the right direction. While it may look cool to see fire engines screaming down the street or up a block, it really isn't always necessary. People don't pay attention, the cars are enclosed like cocoons, radios blasting, cell phones and navigation systems add to the drivers being distracted. Add to the frequency of driving under the influence, and like I said...bravo! Maybe you misunderstood the post, but the CFD was responding to these runs previously with lights and sirens.
 

ten13

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I'm not playing down or refuting your post at all. Just musing about the topic in general.

But if you want to see pedestrians being ambivalent about lights and sirens, watch the very first part of this video (the rest of it is B. S.)....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vgr-Wc5Xook

Talk about "threading a needle"....!

(BTW...the Rescue is going across 42nd Street)
 
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