Thursday, September 18, 2008

live reporting - Fire Department

Chief McCarraher provides an overview of their budgeting process
Paul Sharp, Deputy

uses regression analysis to determine response effectiveness
when the stats show their decline in responses, they can either add resources or stop handling certain situations; for example, they do not respond to pump flooded basements, they do not handle cat in the tree calls...

when they talk about adding resources, they talk about adding a company
currently a 4 platoon system, budget for 5 people; sick time, vacation, training, all required to keep 4 active and on duty

forecasting to add a company in 2011
rather than taking a big hit, looking for incremental growth
allows for training through the fire academy as a group, rather than one at a time

Dr Eisenburg model shows graphically how to have a successful response within 8 minutes
civilian fire deaths triple when fire flash point is reached in a room
we are right at 81.1%
our exposure is in the north of Franklin
as those parts of Franklin develop, that will create response time issues as the travel is longer from the station
the nature of the population area will help to drive the call volume

2005-2006 we were at 59%
now with additional folks over the last few years, the response time as improved

anticipation of a 4% increase in calls

the call is the event whether it is one call or 15 calls for the same event, it is one event
the event can be responded to with one vehicle or multiple, but it is still a single event

the increase comes from multiple factors, I wish I could tell you it is a pure calculation
I did take the historical numbers and did a regression analysis over time to come up with 4%

when the economy is going from good to bad, or bad to good, there is an increase in call volume
when the economy is steady at either the top or the bottom, there is a steady volume
should be able to write a book about this some day

the model is statistically valid, when it will happen is the question

it is easy when you use big numbers
20% of our base is industrial/commercial and the highway, residential is driven by population
the nature of the industry will drive volume, warehouse is less than heavy manufacturing

there will be increases until we hit the build out scenario, once we hit the build out max, there should be a lessening of demand, although as the community declines, that poses additional problems that can drive call volume

what does the ambulance money pay for or not pay for?
the amount collected via third party billing when the ambulance transfers patients
the money simply covers the capital requirements for the ambulance equipment
the rates are determined by Medicare/Medicaid

goal is to bill out within 30 days of the response
you may not see a bill as the insurance company may cover it

we cross train our paramedics and fireman
we need 15 folks to fight a single family residence, 10 to fight the actual fire and five called back into the station to provide coverage

Medicare used to reimburse at 80% of the fare billing fee
now the rate is $643 per ambulance no matter what the patient requirements are

what happened when we tried to regionalize dispatch
you can only regionalize in MA with the communities are less than 2500 people

what have you done to reduce cost, or improve productivity
we have 12 people on duty, we don't replace until we go down to 10
we are right staffed, it allows us to hold off calling folks back

45% of our call volume happens with 2 calls within 15 minutes of each other
we are staffed to handle two calls, to handle three calls would add another million dollars in staffing

there is really no flashy sexy solution, we have been at this since Prop 2 1/2 came in
over the twenty years, we have done it all, without a major technical advance (and that is not realistic)

it will take a few years beflow 90% to build a trend line for the demand

fire dept are so entrenched in tradition, communities identify with their fire dept, to say we would go to a Charles River Fire department for example, combining with Medway and someone else near

regionalization is a 30 year buzz word, in Eastern MA, very few successful efforts especially when getting to the employees

Animal control works well with Bellingham, no issues, quick response

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