Career Staffing Levels in Combination FDs

Technical BulletinLast updated Wednesday, March 1, 2000
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This research project explored how combination departments integrate their career and Paid-On-Call personnel to provide services to the community and how department admnistrators determine what is an appropriate amount of career personnel to meet the service expectations of the community. The problem that was addressed was how career-staffing levels should be determined in the Geneva Fire Department. The purpose was to learn what, if any, criteria are used by combination fire departments in Illinois to determine acceptable career staffing levels. Historical research was used in the literature review to determine how staffing has been viewed by the fire service in the recent past and how that might be applied to combination departments today. Descriptive research was used to create a survey instrument that was mailed to all identified combination fire departments in Illinois.The research questions posed were: 1. To what degree, if any, are POC and career firefighters integrated into the operations of a combination department in Illinois? 2. To what extent, if any, does the presence of POC firefighters reduce the need for career firefighters in combination departments in Illinois? 3. What criteria, if any, are used by combination fire departments in Illinois to determine staffing levels? Work began with a literature review of staffing studies in the recent past, and how staffing has been determined in departments in the past. Complete surveys were compiled for analysis of the answers. Administrators of combination departments use the population of their communities as the primary method of deciding if new postions are needed. There is a high level of integration of POC firefighters, but that does not strongly affect the decision on how many career positions are needed.Based on the research and the analysis of the survey the Geneva Fire Department should maintain its POC membership but use the size of the community to determine staff levels.

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