Bryan, TX The Bryan Fire Department (BFD) received a large show of support from the Bryan City Council Tuesday night when their resolution adopting Bryan Fire Department Minimum Staffing Goals was approved.
The details of the goals indicate achieving minimum staffing levels of four firefighters on each fire truck (engines and ladders) and staffing each Battalion Chief with an aide. The implementation begins October 2013, with a goal of adding 33 additional personnel over a 10-year period.
Planning and discussions regarding these staffing minimums have been underway at the City since January 2012, when Bryan Fire Chief Randy McGregor was first named Interim Fire Chief.
"A goal for many fire departments across the country is to strive for a minimum of four firefighters on each truck. Like most departments, BFD currently staffs each fire truck with three firefighters," said Chief McGregor. "Increasing firefighter staffing levels has a positive impact on safety, efficiency and morale during fire department operations, and we want to ensure we continually position ourselves to be one of the premier fire departments in Texas."
Over recent years, BFD has been a leader in the Texas fire service in many regards, including safety, effectiveness and efficiency. A number of procedures and programs exist to contribute to their high caliber of excellence, including semi-yearly physical agility tests for all fire and EMS personnel, systematic deployment of firefighting resources at structure fires, three-firefighter Rapid Intervention Teams versus the two-firefighter standard, and staffing an EMS supervisor who serves as safety officer at all major fires.
In addition, the Bryan Fire Department is heavily involved in providing innovative changes to fire apparatus and service product design, and has collaborated with various entities to ensure the safety of both people and animals in the event of a fire. This collaboration includes a 2010 partnership with the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine and the Brazos Feral Cat Alliance to provide equipment for treating pets overcome by smoke in residential fires, and most recently, the creation of a comprehensive Community Wildfire Protection Plan and accompanying smartphone app with assistance from the Texas A&M Forest Service.
"The City Council recognizes public safety as a top priority, and our fire department is tasked with protecting the lives and property of the citizens of Bryan," said Mayor Jason Bienski. "Passing this resolution is just another step to better enable the Bryan Fire Department to continue to serve as a model for other fire departments across the state."
When fully implemented, the approximate cost of this staffing resolution is estimated at $2 million annually in today's dollars.
McGregor says the department will also pursue grant funding to assist in staffing the 33 personnel over the next 10 years, although there is no guarantee these funds will be awarded to the City.
To date, some major cities in Texas have achieved the four firefighter staffing goal, including Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin. Only a few cities similar in size to Bryan, such as Galveston and Baytown, have reached this iconic milestone.