Archive for Thursday, November 20, 2008

Shifts make firefighters more experienced

November 20, 2008

After seeing Eudora EMS crews have success with members working in shifts, the Eudora Fire department decided to give it a try.

The practice has lead to some crew members gaining more experience than they typically would, as well as learning what happens when they’re on the first truck out of the station.

Typically, crew members who arrived first at the station and or those with the most seniority were going out on the first run. As a result, crew members who didn’t live close to the station or those who were new recruits were getting left behind.

“We have so many new people who have joined up and are enthusiastic to learn but don’t have enough experience,” Fire Chief Randy Ates said. “By putting them on shifts, we can pair them up with experienced firefighters and EMTs, and that way they are guaranteed that they won’t be pushed aside and will get some on the job training.”

The fire department, with the exception of Fire Chief Randy Ates, is made up of volunteers. Ates said most firefighters also have EMT certification. Five to seven crew members staff each shift.

Since most calls are small — such as putting sand on small gas spills at Kwik Shop — people don’t leave family dinners or sports events because they know it’s not their shift. This likely will save the city money because they pay each volunteer by the call.

“What you have is a bunch of devoted people who try to stay in town as much as they can, and this provides a better idea of when a certain core group of people are going to be here,” Lt. Damon Bradley said. “So, if you have to go into Lawrence for something, you’ll have that peace of mind knowing that there’s going to be a group of people on that first truck.”

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