East Fork Fire volunteer program draws interest
August 16, 2017
More than two-dozen people have shown an interest in a new volunteer firefighter program rolled out by the East Fork Fire District.
"The district latest attempts at volunteer recruitment have yielded 26 interested individuals in the new volunteer opportunities," District Chief Tod Carlini said.
Carlini said those new volunteers will be serving in logistical roles instead of operating the district's volunteer fire stations.
"While the district has fire stations in all of its communities such as Johnson Lane, Fish Springs, Genoa, Sheridan, Topaz Lake, and Ruhenstroth, those stations are not staffed and volunteer participation in most is in critical decline," he said. "The new program being pushed out at the present time hopes to see the recruitment of new volunteer personnel, but in roles which serve the logistical needs of the organization as a priority."
With annual call volume increasing at a rate of 3-4 percent per year and modifications to the volunteer program, Carlini said there is a need for additional career personnel.
Currently, more than 500 hours of training is needed for an individual to become a certified Firefighter I and EMT Basic in Nevada.
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"The bottom line still remains that additional staff level personnel are going to be needed sooner than later," Carlini said. "Balancing the financial reality of providing a competitive and retentive wage, adding additional personnel, working to retain current employees, and providing for capital equipment purchases is a huge challenge, as there is only so much funding available."
The East Fork Fire Protection District Board of Directors adopted the 2017 Standard of Cover on Tuesday, Carlini said.
"The document describes the service area, the risks that must be protected and reduced within the jurisdiction, the capabilities, and the performance objectives and measures," he said. "This information will allow the district to identify risks in the jurisdiction, analyze and establish levels of response service to respond to those risks, and most importantly, evaluate the performance through benchmarked response times and staffing objectives."
Carlini said East Fork hopes to provide advanced life support within 8 minutes 90 percent of the time throughout the district and a rescue ambulance within 12 minutes 90 percent of the time.
"Equally important to the preceding is recognizing that the safety of our personnel must be a priority, Carlini said. "A priority, which can't be ignored, and one which should not be compromised for the sake of meeting response time objectives. As the financial status of the district hopefully improves, staffing must be a strong consideration."
East Fork's fire engines are all staffed with at least one paramedic and with the necessary advanced life support equipment, he said.
The district staffs three rescue ambulances. Counting the four engine companies and three ambulances, the district is able to staff seven advanced life support units.
Carlini said the key to the district's response time standards is the work of the Emergency 911 Center. "The dispatch center is one of two fully accredited dispatch centers in both fire and emergency medical services and used call screening to determine the appropriate level of response before dispatching fire and rescue units," he said.
The Standards of Coverage will serve as a recommended body of ideas for the administration to consider and to guide future budget development and procedural considerations and implementation. The district will pursue a long list of recommendations to consider of three phases, spanning 36 months.