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NorthEndExpress

Eastchester FD: County mutual aid system is broken

24 posts in this topic

FULL ARTICLE: http://www.eastchesterreview.com/news/eastchester-fd-county-mutual-aid-system-is-broken/

 

Quote

EXCERPTS FROM EASTCHESTERREVIEW.COM:

 

The Eastchester Fire District says it should have been immediately called to assist in a fatal fire outside of its borders—less than a mile away from one of its stations—in nearby Scarsdale late last year.

 

Eastchester fire officials noted, and Seymour confirmed, that Scarsdale’s southernmost station, which was closest to the location of the fire, was closed on Dec. 4, as the station’s only engine was in the repair shop.

The Eastchester Fire District, however, maintains that it was not one of the departments promptly called to assist. Nonetheless, Richard Dempsey, the captain on duty at the time of the fire, responded on his own volition, sending two of the department’s trucks to the scene, according to Eastchester fire officials.

Seymour said that Eastchester is on the second tier of Scarsdale’s run card. Scarsdale gets a first wave of mutual aid when it sounds one alarm signaling a working fire, and a second wave of assistance—which includes Eastchester—when it raises a second alarm. He added that Scarsdale sounded two alarms for the Dec. 4 fire, but Eastchester was already on the scene. “Eastchester was there sooner than they would [have been] if we had transmitted a working fire second alarm,” he told the Review

Transcripts of the fire show that Eastchester was not called to the fire until 14 minutes after the fire was initially reported. By comparison, the call for the first wave of mutual aid was issued six minutes after the fire was reported. Seymour said that because Depmsey self-dispatched, Eastchester was one of the first departments on the scene.

 

FULL ARTICLE : http://www.eastchesterreview.com/news/eastchester-fd-county-mutual-aid-system-is-broken/


east.jpg

 

FULL ARTICLE:

http://www.eastchesterreview.com/news/eastchester-fd-county-mutual-aid-system-is-broken/

SageVigiles likes this

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This is news? The whole County fire protection system is broken. And it's not going to change until all of the elected chiefs and fire commissioners decide to give up their little sandboxs and do what's best for the citizens of the districts they protect.  

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Scarsdale doesn't have a spare engine?  And had to close a station because of such? Makes Eastchester not being called on the initial alarm even more of a head scratcher...the run card wouldn't be temporarily changed to accommodate such?

 

 

AFS1970 likes this

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Closest house but what was the staffing and training of that firehouse? If they only had two guys on the engine, what would be the point of arriving fast over a properly staffed unit arriving a couple of minutes later?

EmsFirePolice and vodoly like this

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1 hour ago, kinkchaser said:

If I am not mistaken the Consolidation Plan submitted several years ago consisting of around   10 willing Departments and District would have put as many as 26 men and on the scene in 6 minutes on three engines, two ladders , a heavy rescue and Incident Commander , the location of this fire was a perfect example.

The craziest part of the whole plan would have been the closest firehouse to the call responded, despite municipal boundaries could you imagine that ?????

 

Bingo.

 

Consolidation was a great idea, so great, it wasn't implemented. Why? Archaic NYS laws. Remember Westchester2000, that large loose leaf book that resulted from an expensive study. Made a pretty good door chock.

 

Isn't the SFD station in question closed due to structural problems ?

 

dwcfireman and vodoly like this

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5 hours ago, mfc2257 said:

 

Assuming that another rig with more staffing was on its way, a rig with two is still better than none.  Establishing continuous water supply, throwing ladders to a known point of entrapment, extended walk around and size-up to the remaining incoming units, among many other activities can be completed by a crew of two and if nothing else, they're geared up and immediately fill out the "two in two out" requirement when the next arriving apparatus marks up. 

While 2 is better than 0. This is not an acceptable response. Read the NIST studies that show a four member or more crew that takes minutes longer to arrive still performed significantly better than a fast arriving two man crew. 

dwcfireman, boca1day and Morningjoe like this

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I understand that mutual aid plans around the county (heck, around the state) are either broken or just strange, but there are some good plans out there.  The airport has an overkill plan for an Alert 1 (Light General Aviation Aircraft, generally carrying 4-6 souls): 3 engines, 1 ladder, 2 rescues, 3 ambulances, and 1 tanker, all from the overlapping districts surrounding the aiport.

 

I only point this out because there is a way to make mutual aid work.  It involves working with your neighboring departments and determining what you can do for each other in a myriad of incidents.  Department A has a heavy rescue, Department B has a boat, Department C has a tower ladder....you get the picture.  If you plan your "what if" moments appropriately, you won't get the "Monday Morning Quarterbacking" from everyone else, AND you get the job done!  The above airport response for light GA is because some serious sh#t can happen with what seemingly could be a simple crash but is actually something quite significant (think a single engine Cessna rolls off the end of the runway and hits a fuel truck filled with 9,000 gallons of JetA).  I am by no means saying that we should activate the cavalry on every call or directly upgrading every structure fire to a second alarm to get extra resources, rather just to say to plan appropriately.

 

**Yes, I know the airport does not give mutual aid back to the county, but that is a discussion for another day.**

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18 minutes ago, Bnechis said:

It maybe the reality, but that's the whole point of this thread. We have more apparatus in Westchester than FDNY, but more than half never goes out the door and the rigs that do are almost always understaffed. Maybe instead of maintaining 100's of unnecessary equipment, we need to worry about staffing.

We have similar issues in my area.  I agree, more is definitely better.  Just pointing out that many of us on the career side don't have the option to wait a couple minutes for more personnel to arrive before responding.  Some of us are fighting just to maintain the understaffing that we already deal with.

 

18 minutes ago, Bnechis said:

the point of the testing was to show that they did much worst. In fact the chances of survival for a victim was much better with a four man crew that arrived latter than two 2 man crews that arrived sooner.

I've read up on some of that research, but I don't recall reading about any scenarios where they studied two 2 man crews.  Would you happen to have a link or something off hand for that part?  I'd be interested in reading that.

 

I don't dispute the findings of that research, but I also have a good bit of experience with responding to fires understaffed and know what we're often able to accomplish while the cavalry assembles.  So while not ideal, a crew of 2 (experienced, competent FFs) is not pointless like insinuated above.

nfd2004, vodoly and dwcfireman like this

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4 hours ago, Bnechis said:

While 2 is better than 0. This is not an acceptable response. Read the NIST studies that show a four member or more crew that takes minutes longer to arrive still performed significantly better than a fast arriving two man crew. 

Yes Barry it is not an acceptable response.  I've read the studies. I've pissed more people off over the years by challenging their worldview and fiefdom than I can shake a stick at.

 

My point is that the closest piece of manned apparatus that is capable of proving some form of legitimate assistance should be dispatched regardless of crappy lines drawn in the sand. The people who need help don't see, care or understand mutual aid agreements or district lines nor do most know whether or not a volley or career rig is coming. I'd bet that 75% or more households in Portchester have no clue that the career staff was killed off.

 

if the closest Scarsdale station was closed then the run card should have changed to reflect it and even if it meant that a two man rig from Eastchester was coming because it was the next reasonable piece then that is how it should be.

 

In the rest of the country where dispatchers actually have discretion over response based on staffing you actually hear apparatus mark up with how many interior firefighters they have.  If not sufficient the dispatcher will alert the next due while allowing the understaffed rig to continue because it provides some form of incremental benefit. 

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I get that the run cards are a mess. I have seen better and worse. Mutual aid is far too dependant on local rule and especially in this case there should ahve been a provision due to the clsoed station. However when I read this:

 

On 2/21/2017 at 9:26 AM, NorthEndExpress said:

Richard Dempsey, the captain on duty at the time of the fire, responded on his own volition, sending two of the department’s trucks to the scene, according to Eastchester fire officials.

 

I have to wonder why there are not more people concerned with the freelancing. We can call it self dispatching or responding of ones own volition but none the less it is freelancing. In many other threads there would be calls for this Captain's head on a stick.

 

In this case it seems that he did the wrong thing for the right reason and it worked out. However self dispatching goes against everything we have worked for with accountability over the years.

 

 

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While I get that self dispatching should be frowned upon with the information provided with the assigned Scarsdale engine unavailable Eastchester did the right thing self dispatching to save a life.  Had the fire been in another section of Scarsdale then no.  I am sure the Capt. in Eastchester knew that and should be commended for his action.

fdalumnus, nfd2004 and lemonice like this

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I had a similar situation once, although I was in the jump seat and not an officer. We were coming back from a run in another district. Just as we were about to cross back into ours someone saw a column of smoke in the distance. It looked like it was in the district we were in and their first due engine was still committed. From the back we pointed it out to our Captain, who said we were not going to respond.

 

When we got back to the station he told us that the fire we saw was in the next town, he was aware of it and they had sufficiant units on scene. While we were all a bit bummed out that we missed a job, I understand the captain and his restraint. We could have called in that we were checking for the location of a fire and as it was not that far over the line we could have made it there and then possibly been put to work. Now one difference with the Scarsdale incident is that we were not even on that town's run cards.

 

1 hour ago, FireMedic049 said:

4) The media is notorious for misreporting, misrepresenting or misquoting things.  As such, their statement of what happened may not fully represent what actually happened.

Point well taken.

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so if crossing borders is ok for an incident, yonkers and mt Vernon should be able to go a few blocks into the Bronx  and fdny should be able to go a few blocks north because they were in the area,  and why stop at fires  take in all their ems calls also  might be a cardiac arrest  and save a life. Good communications is what is needed  If I am first due  and I have apparatus from another district already on scene my game plan has to be modified very quickly.  

Bnechis, AFS1970 and Newburgher like this

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I came across this article in the New York Times archive a while back. It gives an interesting history of mutual aid in Westchester in its early days, and about the dispatch center that became 60-Control. Some things never seem to change...

May 24, 1953

_______________________________

PLAN FOR FIRE AID NOW 25 YEARS OLD

Westchester System Has 750 Paid and 9,000 Volunteer Firemen for Emergencies

Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES

MAMARONECK, N. Y., May 23

No longer do Westchester County firemen of one district sit stolidly by while a house burns fifty feet away- in an adjoining district.

In 1921, a man died in an apartment house fire because Scarsdale and Yonkers fire officials, after a jurisdictional dispute, responded belatedly to a boundary-line blaze. A year later came the organization of the Westchester Fire Chiefs Emergency Plan, under which the 750 paid firemen and 9,000 volunteers of sixty-one districts are organized for mutual aid in the event of an emergency-a conflagration, flood, hurricane, train wreck, building collapse, explosion or war.

The plan celebrated its silver anniversary this week with a dinner and installation of officers at Lawrence Inn on Boston Post Road here. Chief Edward J. MacDonald of White Plains succeeded Chief Joseph Carroll of Montrose as president. Roi B. Woolley of Larchmont, is coordinator of the plan which has served as a model for similar cooperatives throughout the United States.

Also Aids Routing Calls

Although a major purpose of the plan is to give aid in major disasters, it has become equally important in assuring that no fire district- rural or urban- is without adequate protection while dealing with routine calls for assistance. A summons from any one of Westchester's six cities, twenty-one villages or eighteen towns is recorded in the plan's control center at White Plains Fire Headquarters and, within minutes. the manpower and equipment of all other units can be dispatched or held ready on a stand-by basis.

If, for instance, a building should collapse in' Mount Vernon, the control center dispatcher at White Plains could determine immediately from' his "major disaster operations manual" where to obtain additional men and firefighting equipment, ambulances, bulldozers, floodlights, gas masks, doctors and nurses--or emergency housing. In wartime, if roads were blocked. he could arrange by previous agreement for the transportation of heavy equipment on flatcars of the New York Central or New Haven Railroads.

Cooperation Is Illustrated

In the event of fire at a children's boarding school in rural Hawthorne, file cards at the control center would indicate that additional fire engines should first be dispatched from Valhalla, secondly from Thornwood and thirdly from Pleasantville. Special rescue equipment would be obtained from Ossining, an electric generator from Thornwood and masks or an acetylene torch from White Plains.

Under a reciprocal agreement, Westchester and New York City are prepared to send as many as forty-five engine companies to the other's territory if needed.

Available in Westchester are 177 engine companies, fifty-one hook and ladder companies, seventeen rescue companies, eight fire patrols, four high-pressure fog units, nine fire department ambulances, ten hose companies and two foam companies. The county's equipment includes adapters so that hose lines from any district can be 'connected-with either "National Standard" or '''Metropolitan" threads.

To protect Westchester's 625,000 residents and property with an assessed valuation of $2,000,000,000 in an area of 448 square miles, the control center is manned twenty-four hours a day by paid firemen of White Plains and by members of volunteer companies throughout the county.

ARI1220 and x635 like this

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8 hours ago, robert benz said:

so if crossing borders is ok for an incident, yonkers and mt Vernon should be able to go a few blocks into the Bronx  and fdny should be able to go a few blocks north because they were in the area,  and why stop at fires  take in all their ems calls also  might be a cardiac arrest  and save a life. Good communications is what is needed  If I am first due  and I have apparatus from another district already on scene my game plan has to be modified very quickly.  

There are places in which calls are dispatched to the closest units regardless of response district boundaries, but in a lot of areas in which that happens, the departments have all signed off on doing so and are all dispatched by the same dispatch agency and may even be sharing a common dispatch channel.

 

As for this particular incident, there seems to be insufficient information presented on here to determine if what happened was or wasn't "ok".

AFS1970 likes this

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17 hours ago, AFS1970 said:

I had a similar situation once, although I was in the jump seat and not an officer. We were coming back from a run in another district. Just as we were about to cross back into ours someone saw a column of smoke in the distance. It looked like it was in the district we were in and their first due engine was still committed. From the back we pointed it out to our Captain, who said we were not going to respond.

 

When we got back to the station he told us that the fire we saw was in the next town, he was aware of it and they had sufficiant units on scene. While we were all a bit bummed out that we missed a job, I understand the captain and his restraint. We could have called in that we were checking for the location of a fire and as it was not that far over the line we could have made it there and then possibly been put to work. Now one difference with the Scarsdale incident is that we were not even on that town's run cards.

 

In that situation, the decision to not respond was clearly the correct one as your Captain was aware that the incident was already being handled and adding yourself to the party could certainly be considered freelancing. 

 

In this case, I'd be curious to know some more details to help determine if this was freelancing or just a good faith effort to perform their duties and the incident just happened to be across the borderline.

vodoly likes this

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I know this will rustle the feathers of many, but think about it in terms of police. YES, Police. If a police officer is returning from training in another jurisdiction and comes across an accident, a robbery, or swerving drunk-driver, they will call it in to the either their dispatch or the jurisdiction the call is in and then render appropriate action until the arrival of the appropriate jurisdiction. The same thing would happen if they were near their own town line and saw something happen in the next jurisdiction. The questions are what did you know, when did you know it and what did you do about it? If the answer comes back to being reasonable, then I'm all for acting.

 

As a few have pointed out, the Scarsdale incident isn't very clear as to what happened. Eastchester could have very well been out on their own smoke investigation and come across the fire.  If so, report it to the jurisdiction having authority by common radio frequency or your own dispatch and then render aid in a reasonable manner until the "home team" shows up.

 

As for any incident near a town line, I would expect that if the FDNY were out on a smoke investigation near the Yonkers city line and they came to the Westchester border and saw smoke coming out of a building and some mother out front frantically running around that they would respond and do what they could do to assist until Yonkers showed up. If I were the FDNY Battalion Chief I would initiate operations, possibly make a rescue, and when Yonkers showed up I would go to the first arriving officer and say, "FDNY is on location, we have 2 engines and 1 ladder working. We rescued a child from floor 2. We have 1 line stretched in operation on the 1st floor. This is your city and your incident - you are in-charge, what can we do to help you?" If the Yonkers officer said continue operations and we'll stretch a back-up line I'd appreciate it. Once our troops arrive we'll try to kick you free ASAP" then I'd stay and do what was REASONABLE and respect the Yonkers officer's decision. If (I don't think Yonkers would do this) he said, "This is our fire and get out of our city" then I'd say, "Fine, pack-it up boys and let's hit the road. Good-luck!" 

 

This is not rocket-science. It's about what and when you became aware of something and then what did you do about it and was the action REASONABLE to do. Working together is a wonderful thing!!

Edited by LayTheLine
AFS1970 and FireMedic049 like this

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2 minutes ago, LayTheLine said:

I know this will rustle the feathers of many, but think about it in terms of police. YES, Police. If a police officer is returning from training in another jurisdiction and comes across an accident, a robbery, or swerving drunk-driver, they will call it in to the either their dispatch or the jurisdiction the call is in and then render appropriate action until the arrival of the appropriate jurisdiction. The same thing would happen if they were near their own town line and saw something happen in the next jurisdiction. The questions are what did you know, when did you know it and what did you do about it? If the answer comes back to being reasonable, then I'm all for acting.

 

As a few have pointed out, the Scarsdale incident isn't very clear as to what happened. Eastchester could have very well been out on their own smoke investigation and come across the fire.  If so, report it to the jurisdiction having authority by common radio frequency or your own dispatch and then render aid in a reasonable manner until the "home team" shows up.

 

As for any incident near a town line, I would expect that if the FDNY were out on a smoke investigation near the Yonkers city line and they came to the Westchester border and saw smoke coming out of a building and some mother out front frantically running around that they would respond and do what they could do to assist until Yonkers showed up. If I were the FDNY Battalion Chief I would initiate operations, possibly make a rescue, and when Yonkers showed up I would go to the first arriving officer and say, "FDNY is on location, we have 2 engines and 1 ladder working. We rescued a child from floor 2. We have 1 line stretched in operation on the 1st floor. This is your city and your incident - you are in-charge, what can we do to help you?" If the Yonkers officer said continue operations and we'll stretch a back-up line I'd appreciate it. Once our troops arrive we'll try to kick you free ASAP" then I'd stay and do what was REASONABLE and respect the Yonkers officer's decision. If (I don't think Yonkers would do this) he said, "This is our fire and get out of our city" then I'd say, "Fine, pack-it up boys and let's hit the road. Good-luck!" 

 

This is not rocket-science. It's about what and when you became aware of something and then what did you do about it and was action REASONABLE to do. Working together is a wonderful thing!!

you are absolutely correct'  what was I thinking.  I know nothing of rocket science 

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