Release: Department continues to increase the minimum staffing for engine companies.

HCDFRS announces, effective immediately, the increase of three more engine companies to a minimum staffing of four firefighters. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA 1710) recommends a minimum of four personnel assigned to each engine company. This increase was implemented after the findings and suggestions from the Fire Department Emergency Services Staffing Joint Study Group. The staffing committee was formed at the request of County Administration when the county and the Howard County
International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) – Local 2000 entered into a memorandum of agreement (MOA), effective July 1, 2017 thru July 1, 2019.

“Today marks an important step forward in promoting public safety in Howard County and supporting our first responders. When we received the recommendations of our Fire Staffing Committee, we knew we needed to act and invest in our future,” said Howard County Executive Calvin Ball. “I want to thank everyone at the Department of Fire and Rescue Services for their help and continued dedication to keeping our community safe. Their partnership has been critical to our staffing increase that will put more fire engine companies into neighborhoods that need them. Our priority will continue to be securing a safer community for all.”

As part of the MOA, the two agreed to form a committee of experts to address staffing recommendations for
Fire and Rescue services in Howard County. The last documented staffing report was completed twenty-three
years ago, on April 1, 1996. The full report can be found here: https://tinyurl.com/y3gjjvbm.

“We continue to strive towards the NFPA recommended staffing levels within our department,” said Deputy
Chief William G. Anuszewski. “With the considerable support of Executive Ball and his administration, we
have secured the funding to increase the staffing on these engines.”

“We are very pleased to see this increase in our current staffing levels occur as we continue our push
toward minimum safe staffing levels everywhere in the county,” said Local 2000 President Rich Ruehl. “The
improvements that began this morning are the result of many years of hard work, research, and dedication
by a number of people too many to mention. In the near future we will see further improvements in the
service we provide. Our members are proud to serve and we could not be more proud of these accomplishments, the Administration, and the Council for their continued support.”

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The following article outlines new funding for HCFRS in the current budget “Understanding The Fire And Rescue Services Operating Budget Increase”. I expect similar news releases in the future for other planned initiatives outlined in the budget.

Scott E

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