Does staffing at minimal levels jeopardize response times?

At a time when fire departments and other first-responding agencies across the country are facing budget shortfalls and staffing cuts, the Dayton (Ohio) Fire Department is no different.

As part of a series looking at how the City of Dayton allocates funds, Dayton Daily News reporter Lucas Sullivan explores how keeping fire staffing at minimal levels is affecting the department and the city.

According to the story:

“The city’s fire department operates 12 stations on a $32.6 million budget — $2 million lighter than last year — with 362 officers serving a population of about 166,000, according to the city’s data. More than $18.7 million — $1 million less than 2009 — of the budget goes to personnel costs. Another $8 million is spent on pension and insurance costs.

“At the same time, the department’s average response time has increased 14 seconds to 5:25 minutes, despite calls for service being down by about 2,000 in 2009 (32,168) compared to 2008 (34,474), according to the department’s statistics.”

The story also provides a snapshot of the Dayton Fire Department by the numbers, including:

  • 12: Number of fire stations in the city
  • 215: Number of ranked firefighters in department
  • $58,107: Salary of a firefighter at top of pay scale
  • $200,000: Annual cost of fuel for fire vehicles
  • $475,000: Cost to replace a fire engine
  • $1.67 million: Cost to staff each of the city’s 10 fire engines per year

    City of Dayton

How does your department stack up against these numbers? Is your department facing the same budget and staffing challenges as the Dayton FD? Post a comment and let us know how you’re affected.

Have your department's response times increased due to reduced staffing levels?

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(Editor’s note: Lion has been a part of the Dayton community since its founding in 1898.)