Fire dept. improves response time with 8-man shift

First Selectman Rudy Marconi said “the eight-man shift has worked out very well” and that the department has seen a “definite reduction” in mutual aid needed


By FireRescue1 Staff

RIDGEFIELD, Conn. — A fire department said they have reduced response times and decreased the amount of mutual aid needed by implementing an eight-man shift policy.

The Ridgefield Press reported that the Ridgefield Fire Department has been pleased with the results of the eight-man shift since it was implemented 18 months ago.

“The eight-man shift has worked out very well,” First Selectman Rudy Marconi said. “We’re able to respond to calls more quickly and we’ve seen a definite reduction in the amount of mutual aid. What that means is we have fewer instances when we have to call other communities for assistance with an ambulance.”

The new policy now requires the fire department to have eight firefighters and EMS providers on duty at all times, with each of their four fire trucks and ambulances manned by two responders.

Chief Jerry Myers said the policy “has been a total success,” and added that the department has not had any issues with it so far.

Marconi said that the new policy has increased overtime, but that it was expected.

“It was better than actually hiring people,” he said. “The cost was substantially more if we were to go out and hire new people to meet the eight-man minimum. Most critically, here, we’re actually improving the level of service we’re delivering to the people of Ridgefield.”

Myers said the larger number of responders per shift means incidents that require more than one emergency vehicle are easily accommodated.

“A lot of ambulance calls you need more than two guys,” he said. “A heart attack, or a bad fall, two guys aren’t going to be enough. So if the call meets a certain criteria, we send one engine with the ambulance so they have the necessary help. We get better coverage.”

Myers added that the responders working the daily shift appreciate the new policy.

“When you come to work you know you’re going to be assigned to a specific piece of equipment and have that assignment throughout your shift, the full 24 hours, rather than in the past having to be on engine one, and then jumping into the ambulance to do an EMS call, rushing back to the firehouse to go on an alarm call,” he said.

Marconi agreed, and said the increase in staff has made for a “much smoother operation.”

“It certainly allows for a much smoother operation that I think has improved morale among the men and women in our department,” Marconi said, “as well as increasing the efficiency of the service and the level of service to the people of Ridgefield.”

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