Fire department staffing a hot topic


Its no secret Fire Chief Adam Thiel needs more firefighters and medics on his force to meet national standards, but the money has been absent for some time. Fewer bodies mean more overtime, which will put the fire department over budget, Thiel told the city council.
But its not as bad as he once thought. Thiel and city staff originally said the AFD could be in the red up to $1 million, but the expedited training of 30 new recruits puts the department about $145,000 in the hole just to maintain minimum staffing levels of three firefighters per truck and two medics per ambulance.
We really cant go below that number and maintain an effective force, Thiel said.
The AFD needs more bodies to improve response time and the safety of firefighters, as well as the public. According to Thiel, 85 percent of all overtime goes to maintaining minimum staffing levels.