Columbia needs 95 new firefighters to meet industry standards

9 months 2 weeks 1 day ago Monday, February 27 2017 Feb 27, 2017 Monday, February 27, 2017 2:51:00 PM CST February 27, 2017 in News
By: Daniel Litwin, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - New nationwide standards for staffing fire departments suggest Columbia needs 95 more firefighters.

This number comes from revisions to the National Fire Protection Association guidelines, specifically guideline 1710, which addresses "effective and efficient organization and deployment" of firefighters.

"For everything a fire department does, there's a correlating NFPA standard," said Kurt Becker, District Field Service Representative for the International Association of Fire Fighters.

The NFPA's guideline for staffing firetrucks was revised in 2010, saying all professional fire departments should have no less than four firefighters on every truck in high-hazard areas.

For high-hazard areas, which includes practically all of downtown Columbia and the University of Missouri's campus, the city has been running trucks with three firefighters.

"For the last seven years, we've been operating at 75% of what the industry standard requires," Becker said.

In 2016, 1710 was changed again, raising the minimum to six firefighters per truck in high-hazard areas.

Changes to guidelines occur about every five years, and 1710 was adapted after studies were released with updated firefighting requirements for high-rises.

Brad Fraizer, Assistant Fire Chief of Columbia, said his department isn't seeing a lack of interested potential hires.

"We don't have a shortage of applicants, we're fortunate that we have a large number of people typically apply," Fraizer said.

The issue comes down to having a tight budget, and Fraizer said the department is fully staffed under their budgeted staffing model.

"We work with funds that were given, and we balance out resources with the need,"  Fraizer said.

To reach the new minimum set by the NFPA, Columbia's fire department would have to hire 62 new firefighters. Having 95 new personnel would help cover absences in the work force, such as illnesses and vacation.

"If you only have 62 guys on a shift and the minimum is 62, then you'll spend an outrageous amount on overtime, and you'll burn your guys out," Becker said.

Fraizer said there's no disagreement between the department and the labor group that more firefighters would be beneficial.

"It's certainly a goal that all departments strive for and we're no different. It's just a matter of available funds," said Fraizer.

"We're not pointing fingers at anybody, nobody has done anything negligent or wrong. We're looking forward to having some collaborative and constructive dialogue with the city," Becker said. "We believe the data and the science backs up the proposal we've made, and we're very willing to see what the city has to say.

Union and city officials plan to meet in April to discuss the staffing issues and budget allocations.

 

More News

Grid
List
SALINE COUNTY - Former Columbia Police officer Rob Sanders will head back to the courtroom in May 2018 as he... More >>
34 minutes ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 10:03:00 PM CST December 13, 2017 in News
AUDRAIN COUNTY - The man who was found on Audrain Road 913 Tuesday next to a crashed car died of... More >>
2 hours ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 8:32:00 PM CST December 13, 2017 in News
MOBERLY - Missouri law enforcement is impeded by a number of issues in cases involving child sexual abuse. Alleged... More >>
2 hours ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 8:20:00 PM CST December 13, 2017 in Target 8
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Chamber of Commerce hosted the ninth and final public hearing by the 21st Century Missouri Transportation... More >>
3 hours ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 7:12:00 PM CST December 13, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - The Federal Communications Commission vote to repeal net neutrality is fast approaching. The vote to remove regulations that... More >>
3 hours ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 7:12:00 PM CST December 13, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Justice Reinvestment Task Force approved all of the recommendations from the Council of State Governments Justice... More >>
3 hours ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 6:53:00 PM CST December 13, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - As Columbia Regional Airport plans to expand, it got a push from Mayor Brian Treece. Treece called... More >>
4 hours ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 6:37:00 PM CST December 13, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Missouri is among the worst states nationwide at preventing its young people from smoking and using tobacco, according... More >>
4 hours ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 6:15:00 PM CST December 13, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri American Water is making changes to the aging Jefferson City Treatment Plant with the goal of... More >>
5 hours ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 5:33:00 PM CST December 13, 2017 in News
Update: Police said the investigation into the Monday Old Hawthorne homicide revealed a home invasion and drug use. Investigators... More >>
5 hours ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 5:32:19 PM CST December 13, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Many people accused of crimes are languishing in county jails as the Missouri State Public Defender System... More >>
5 hours ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 5:06:00 PM CST December 13, 2017 in Target 8
The Geminid meteor shower begins Wednesday night and viewing conditions may be the best in several years! This annual... More >>
5 hours ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 4:47:00 PM CST December 13, 2017 in News
AUDRAIN COUNTY- A fire burned down a home and a truck on Wednesday while the owner was away in Moberly... More >>
5 hours ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 4:45:00 PM CST December 13, 2017 in News
POPLAR BLUFF (AP) — A city official in the southeast Missouri town of Poplar Bluff faces criminal charges for... More >>
6 hours ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 4:07:00 PM CST December 13, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Authorities have given the all clear after investigating a possible explosive device around the Hearnes Center shuttle bus... More >>
6 hours ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 3:53:00 PM CST December 13, 2017 in News
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — A federal grand jury has indicted a Missouri man with making threatening phone calls to... More >>
7 hours ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 3:11:24 PM CST December 13, 2017 in News
KLIEVER - Deputies discovered stolen property in the woods near Kliever, Missouri. Police said they were alerted to the... More >>
8 hours ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 1:39:00 PM CST December 13, 2017 in News
Jefferson City - While the Republican Congress in Washington is working on a plan to overhaul the country's tax system,... More >>
10 hours ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 12:18:00 PM CST December 13, 2017 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 42°
11pm 37°
12am 35°
1am 33°
2am 32°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

10:35p
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
11:37p
Late Night with Seth Meyers
12:37a
Last Call with Carson Daly
10:30p
Rules of Engagement
11:00p
Rules of Engagement
11:30p
The King of Queens

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
The Wall
8:00p
Golden Globe 75th Anniversary Special
7:00p
Riverdale
8:00p
Dynasty
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld