04/19/08 50 W - + 13 - 16 New Knightdale Fire Station

FireNews Headlines alerts of an Eastern Wake News article about the town's recent approval of a new fire station. The $1.6 million facility will be staffed with three firefighters, be built with eco-friendly features, a metal roof, and four dorm rooms, and be located off Hodge Road.

The town’s web site adds additional details: “The Construction contract for Public Safety Station #2 on Mingo Bluff Blvd. has been awarded to GRS Construction. Work should begin in May.”

According to the county web site, the town possesses an irregular shaped section of land on Mingo Bluff Boulevard just east of Hodge Road. Total of 12.42 acres. Perhaps the station site? http://services.wakegov.com/realestate/L..

Here’s Mingo Bluff Boulevard by satellite: http://maps.google.com/maps?q=mingo+bluf..
Legeros - 04/19/08 - 17:02

Projected completion date sometime in February, also new pumper delivered sometime in May.
glenn - 04/22/08 - 13:45

What kind of pumper are they getting?
Adam Brown - 04/24/08 - 14:30

Pierce Saber if I am not mistaken. It’s under construction in Appleton, WI as we speak.
CFP 7021 (Email) - 04/24/08 - 15:26

Is this going to be a city bought unit or county replacement?
Adam Brown - 04/24/08 - 15:41

They have $353,500 in their 07-08 budget for capital outlay. Sounds about right for a new pumper.
CFP 7021 (Email) - 04/24/08 - 16:49

and upon further investigation:

Fire Department
The Town of Knightdale’s Fire Department is entering its fifth year. Some of the initial equipment purchased at the start up time are beginning to show wear and tear. This budget proposal includes funding for replacement pagers, turn out gear, and a new rescue pumper. Additionally, there will be a separate capital project for the construction of a fire station on the western side of Knightdale. This will be budgeted outside of the annual budget.
CFP 7021 (Email) - 04/24/08 - 16:50

The department will have reached its sixth year in July. The rescue pumper will be delivered near the beginning of May. Adam Brown, the unit will be a city bought unit, no county funded apparatus. Plans for station two on Hodge road (western part of town) for final completion in February.
glenn - 04/24/08 - 17:20

Are they hiring new people for this to include drivers and officers?
mk - 04/25/08 - 11:10

I believe council approved the department to hire three driver operators and three part time firefighters for the three shifts. They stated later on, they will be hiring three full time firefighters and/or officers. The current station one is staffed by one Lt. and one driver operator per shift.
FF262 - 04/25/08 - 12:29

Granted I realize that with smaller towns/departments comes smaller budgets, but, is it the norm for smaller towns to staff equipment with just 2 people? I know we’re viewed as a “necessary evil” by most politicians, but with NIOSH and USFA post fire reports explaining how proper staffing can affect the safety of “us”, do the politicians and bean counters still not see the need for proper staffing?

What will it take? Will it take pulling up to a fire and letting it burn until proper compliance with “2 in/ 2 out” is met, then having the citizen go complain to the town/city coucil’s? Will something be done then???
Silver - 04/25/08 - 13:01

One must remember that Knightdale Public Safety is supplemented by public safety officers (police officers) and volunteer firefighters. The first out truck is staffed by two people but when unit arrives there is enough for “two in two out”.
FF262 - 04/25/08 - 16:33

Purely personal opinion; 2 people on an apparatus just to get it on scene is understaffed and unsafe.
Silver - 04/25/08 - 18:46

Silver, please elaborate on your opinion.
Legeros - 04/25/08 - 18:55

Ok, I will. Using the above example; 9 am on a Monday morning, Police are tied up on a traffic accident, break-in, traffic stops (etc.). Most volunteers are at their jobs and the buzzer hits for a house fire. Two people responding on a rig is jeopardizing that crews safety, and efficiency, versus if they had a crew of 4 going on scene initially.
Silver - 04/25/08 - 23:18

Think about all the departments that do not have ANY full time career staff or public safety officers. Give them some credit, great department to only be six years old. I have not heard of any problems that have faced for the most part
FF262 Gold - 04/28/08 - 18:10

I have to agree- Two people staffing a responding unit is unsafe. And if they are not on the unit, you cannot depend on them being there. With the Public Safety Officer (PSO) concept, all one has to do is look back to the days that Durham tried it. There was nothing like seeing three or four city trucks called out to get three or four firefighters to the scene. I saw it happen plenty of times.

But, I also know that, based on personal experience over the pat 30 years, two people (or even one person) staffing an engine is acceptable to local governments for a variety of reasons. There is only so much money and there are way too many people with their hands in the pot.

And FF262 maskes a valid point- there are lots of fire departments with no career staffing.

Although we have come a long way over the past three decades, we still have a ways to go. There was a good cartoon posted on FIREHOUSE.com a while back that highlighted public safety funding.


Add http to the front.
DJ (Email) - 04/28/08 - 19:39

Oops…hit the ‘post comment’ button too soon.

What they did not show in that cartoon was the EMS dog a little farther to the right…with a smaller box and…well…not much. Fortunately that does not apply too much here locally (but it does apply), but it is a sad truth nationwide.
DJ (Email) - 04/28/08 - 19:43

From Kdale to EMS woes…looks like its time to moooove it on over to TWD...
JB - 04/29/08 - 13:29

[ Thread seems fine so far. Comments ABOUT comments are welcome, as well. Staffing, funding, specific brands of apparatus, etc. are covered in the Knightdale threads. Like it? Don’t like it? ]
Legeros - 04/30/08 - 07:09

No this is not about ‘EMS woes’ (that would be a whole seperate thread or even website). There was a comment that was made about staffing levels being ‘unsafe’ (which short staffing a piece of fire apparatus is unsafe). Commentary was offered about why this was, which in the end is related to funding (isn’t that always the case?). Reference was made to a posted cartoon on a national fire service website (firehouse.com), which highlighted law enforcement funding at the state and national levels as opposed to fire service funding at the state and national levels (significantly less), and a sidebar comment comparing all of it to EMS funding at the state and national levels (much more significantly less).

The gist of my comment, in case I did not make it clear, was that in the grand scheme of things, the reason that some engines are staffed with two people, some ladders are staffed with one person, concepts like Public Safety Officer persist, and EMS not getting it’s fair share of funding at the state and national levels all comes down to a limited pot (of money), different priorities on the part of the citizenry we serve, and too many hands in the pot.

We have but three options. First, we can adapt to our limited budgets and play the hand offered to us. Second, we can work to get a better hand from the deck. Or third, we can do both.

And (here is where I upset someone), if you are not at least willing to engage in a letter writing campaign to county commissioners, city council members, state legislative members, or members of congress, if you are not willing to get involved in the political processes that affect what we do and how we do it, and if you are not willing to join your associations to work for these changes and make your case known, then you really have no grounds to stand on when you make observations that (insert casue here) is inadequate or unsafe.

OK. I’m done.
DJ (Email) - 04/30/08 - 12:18

One must remember that EMS charge for their services, unlike the fire department. It always appears that EMS is hiring or trying to recruit new folks, so staffing on the EMS level should not be a problem.
frankie g - 04/30/08 - 13:50

The problem with EMS staffing is that there are not enough people credentialed to meet the current demand. Yes there are a number of firefighters that have NCOEMS certifications, but they ride full-time on fire apparatus.

I agree with DJ about using our outside resources, perhaps to increase funding to community colleges to hold more EMS courses. I would not be surprised to see a paramedic on every fire truck in the future…....
Beach (Email) - 04/30/08 - 14:26

OK. I lied. I am not done. It’s time for the rebuttal. Mike, if it is getting too strong, we’ll go to TWD. You say the word.

I’ll take the ‘billing’ statement first. And if Olson or Chief 100 are out there, correct me if I am wrong.

Yes, we do bill for our services, but let’s put it in perspective. Two of our chief ‘payors’ are Medicare and Medicaid. Let’s look at Medicare.
Medicare only pays 80% of the maximum allowable charge. In other words, what you charge and what Medicare pays are two entirely different things. Imagine going to Best Buy and picking out a Hitachi 50” 1080i flat panel plasma HDTV, with a sale price of $1,499.99. When you ring out, with tax, they tell you “That will be $1,604.99, please”. Well, you read something somewhere that it is really only worth $1,000.00, so you hand them $800.00 and walk out with your brand new TV. How long will Best Buy stay in business if they have to keep operating like that (and how long will you stay out of jail?)? Well, EMS has to operate like that all of the time- 80% of the ‘allowable’ charge. And with Medicaid, the reimbursement is something like $0.10 on the $1.00, with set limits on how much they will reimburse. So imagine buying the above TV for $80.00 instead of $800.00.

Now, how many patients on Medicaid and Medicare can make up the difference?

Well, if they are on Medicaid they generally don’t have to (they probably don’t have it anyway, which is why they are on Medicaid), and I know from my parents’ experiences with Medicare (fixed incomes and all) that they were not able to either.

And then there is a significant group of people whose address is listed as ‘SOR’ (streets of Raleigh). How much do you think we collect from them?

Yes, we do ‘bill’ for our services. Just like many fire departments ‘bill’
to recover the costs of major incidents, like train derailments, chemical plant fires, etc. But we do not collect all that we bill, and we have the same needs whether or not we collect.

Now, the other point- There is a lot of validated research out there that suggests not putting a paramedic on every fire truck. If you take two systems, San Antonio and Raleigh, you will find that our cardiac arrest save rate is tremendously higher than San Antonio’s. San Antonio has many times the paramedics that we do, but our save rate is much, much higher than theirs. Why is that?

That same research points to the fact that the ‘experience’ of the paramedic plays a large role in whether you live or die. OK, those of you who know me know that I have been a paramedic for more than a few weeks. However, since I have been a WCEMS, I have responded to around twelve full arrests, or less than three for each year that I have been here, and several of them while riding the district chief unit, so I actually did not do much more than support the efforts. We have paramedics here in the county that will see fewer than that- it is strictly the luck of the draw or timing. If I had never seen a full arrest unit I came here, how good would my skills and knowledge base be? So if we have problems with gaining experience now, how is that going to be affected by placing a paramedic on every engine company (28 with RFD alone)?

Houston learned that the hard way. They have taken their paramedics off of the ambulances and fire trucks, and send them out on QRVs. The result- better save rates. If you look at the top metro areas, the systems with the fewest paramedics per 100,000 population tend to have the better save rates.
Dr. Myers has a great presentation that highlights that fact.

And take full arrests out of the picture. Look just at respiratory distress calls and chest pain calls. All that wheezes is not asthma. And all MIs do not hurt. You have to learn to ‘read’ (or ‘size-up’) a patient, sometimes from across the room, and that only comes from experience and doing. More paramedics out there is not going to help. We have to hold on to experienced paramedics. That, my friends, costs money, more than what we get by billing.

And we don’t need more paramedic courses, per se. The programs are out there, it is just that there are not many people signing up. I used to teach paramedics (and firefighters) and the biggest hurdle now is quality. There are some really good programs out there, and there are some that just crank out people who can pass a test. Being a paramedic is an analytical type job that is labor-intensive at times. We have to expand the paramedic programs in ways that encourage ‘thinking’ paramedics rather than ‘reactionary’ paramedics.

OK, maybe I am done this time (probably not).
DJ (Email) - 04/30/08 - 16:47

Would it be appropriate to split up the seasoned paramedics and being placing one paramedic on each ambulance. Staff more trucks that can TRANSPORT and lighten the load for current crews. Multiple agencies use this arrangement in the county and surrounding counties and do not seem to have a problem. Is it necessary to have a seasoned paramedic drive an ambulance to a hospital, while a seasoned ambulance driver could do the same. I think the system is great, but it could definitely use more ambulances.
FF262 - 04/30/08 - 17:52

Me personally, I do not have a problem riding with an EMT or EMT-I. I am either doing that (part time gigs) or I am riding with a new-to-WCEMS paramedic (with varying levels of experience) (full time gig). The dual EMT-P configuration staffing pre-dates me. I would think that even if we did that we might not have enough ‘experience’ to go around. Mind you, we have some good paramedics here in the county, just some are light on experience. I saw a dual paramedic unit the other day with a combined 2 1/2 years of paramedic experience. It is a matter of matching the balance between numbers and experience. I know of a couple of counties around that the average experience level of ‘seasoned’ paramedics is less than 5 years.

BTW, check out http://www.ncems.org and go to employment. There are a lot of EMT-P openings out there, and many more that are not listed. Everyone is hurting, not just here. People are not applying for classes or jobs. And then they are not staying.

Maybe that would be an interesting thread, either here or TWD.
DJ (Email) - 04/30/08 - 18:41

Ok…..after reading all that, I’ll keep my opinions strictly to the fire service.
Beach (Email) - 04/30/08 - 18:49

To echo DJ’s comments about paramedics per population, if memory serves me, the City of Seattle has only six Medic units in service at any given time. Those are all ALS. Then they have Aide units (BLS ambulances). To my knowledge, no paramedics on fire apparatus. I think they are one of the more respected EMS delivery systems in the country. Because they have limited the number of paramedic slots, there is tremendous competition for those six units. Hence, better folks, fewer units, better service. I’m sure some EMS folks can elaborate…..
harkey (Email) (Web Site) - 04/30/08 - 20:35

Why doesn’t Eastern Wake Fire enable cloest unit response rather than building a new fire station?
Guest - 05/02/08 - 21:39

KPS does not utilize mutual aid. (except on I-540) They are strictly a municipal funded dept. In order to run mutual aid they either would have to receive funding from the county or contract with other depts.
East Side - 05/02/08 - 22:21

they receive funding just like every other municipally in the county besides raleigh and cary from the county.
duh - 05/02/08 - 22:30

Knightdale is similar to Raleigh and Cary, NOT receiving county funds, NOT!
duh duh - 05/03/08 - 00:08

I’m so glad to see so many of you think you know so much about Knightdale….If you only knew the half! Please keep on, this is providing great entertainment to the ACTUAL staff / members of KPS.
JBOGGS (Email) - 05/03/08 - 08:55

I heard the new Knightdale station has been put off by the town for a year or two.
Heard - 05/12/08 - 08:11

What the town is doing or doing should appear soon enough at http://www.ci.knightdale.nc.us/mayorandc.. and http://www.ci.knightdale.nc.us/news/eVie... Excellent transparency on the latter link! Just wish they had an archives.
Legeros - 05/13/08 - 06:34

The town’s budget message indicates construction of Station 2 is postponed. This is a PDF doc: http://www.ci.knightdale.nc.us/pdf/%20Bu..

“The tax rate of 40¢ was envisioned to fund operations and debt service for the new fire station on
Hodge Road, Fire Station #2. The past several months have brought an economic operating
environment of rapidly rising fuel costs and uncertainty over the national and local housing market.
The budget ordinance for this year is prepared with Fire Station #2 construction postponed. The
proposed budget does not use any fund balance in the General Fund as an other financing source,
reversing the practice of the past several years. Approximately $122,000 will be set aside in the
General Capital Reserve Fund as savings for the construction of Fire Station #2 in the future.”
Legeros - 06/03/08 - 07:20

This news story reports that the Station 2 project is halted, and the town is negotiating with Eastern Wake to provide fire protection to that area, http://www.easternwakenews.com/front/sto..
Legeros - 06/12/08 - 04:54

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