CANFIELD 24-hour staffing set for stations

The average response time in the district doubles when firefighters respond from home.
CANFIELD -- The board of the Cardinal Joint Fire District is putting the final touches on a plan to staff Canfield's two fire stations all the time.
The plan calls for two firefighters to staff Station 1 on Lisbon Street 24 hours per day, seven days a week, beginning Nov. 1.
Station 2 on Messerly Road would be similarly staffed, beginning next year.
Station 1 has been staffed from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.; and Station 2 has been staffed from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. During the early-morning hours, firefighters respond to emergencies from their homes.
The board discussed the 24-hour plan Thursday night but has yet to determine the cost.
The district includes the city of Canfield and Canfield Township.
To meet the new staffing requirements, the district board is expected to hire six firefighters with paramedic training, each of whom will work two 24-hour shifts per week.
Firefighters have been signing up for five-hour shifts and have been allowed to work up to 53 hours per week.
The board hopes to hire three firefighters to start working 24-hour shifts at Station 1 beginning Nov. 1.
No date has been set for 24-hour shifts to start at Station 2.
Calls on the rise
Chief Robert Tieche said firefighters have found themselves responding to an increased number of calls during the past few years.
In 1990, they responded to 480 calls. By 2000, the number was up to about 1,260, and so far this year, they have responded to about 1,400 calls.
"It's just a little bit of everything," Tieche said, noting some are for traffic crashes or medical emergencies.
Firefighters with paramedic training are needed because firefighters often respond to medical calls before ambulance crews, Tieche said.
The district has 34 firefighters. Response time averages about 3 minutes and 53 seconds between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m, but that average doubles in the early morning, when firefighters are responding from home.
"We see the need to have the people available in the station from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.," Tieche said.

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