Frequently Asked Questions

Understanding the complex issues regarding the fire department and the way it operates takes a thorough understanding of a broad range of topics and information.  Mansfield's Fire Fighters have compiled this information to assist you with fire department specific questions.  Please contact us if you would like any further information.

Why do we need a fire department?

A fire department is a key element of the basic infrastructure of any community. As a community grows and prospers it seeks to attract businesses to that community. These businesses provide jobs and pay a large share of the municipal tax base. A well-equipped and properly trained municipal fire department plays a vital role in attracting businesses to the community by keeping the cost of insurance down. Lower insurance rates equals more profits for businesses. Private property owners benefit as well with lower insurance rates.

 

It’s more than money that underlies the need for a fire department. The fire department’s first priority is saving lives – protecting the citizens of the community through the most modern technologies. This has broadened the mission of the fire department from only extinguishing fires to a wide range of disciplines: emergency medical services, hazardous material response and mitigation, special rescue situations, vehicle extrication, and more. Lives are also saved through proactive measures: fire prevention programs in local schools, fire inspections of businesses, plan reviews of new construction to ensure it meets fire codes, and life safety programs throughout the community that address far more than fire.

What is ISO and how does it affect my insurance rates?

Whether we like it or not, paying for insurance is a fact of life. Homeowner and business insurance companies use many factors when determining the cost of your premiums. One major factor is the level of fire protection. Most insurance carriers use what is known as ISO to determine the quality of fire protection available and therefore establish insurance rates.

 

ISO stands for Insurance Service Organization. This is a group of trained, professional evaluators that assess almost every fire department in the U.S. ISO uses a consistent set of guidelines to evaluate a fire department. ISO bases a fire department’s rating on many factors including the number of personnel on duty, training level of personnel (paid or volunteer), the amount of water the fire department can get to a fire, and the amount and quality of equipment used (such as fire engines and hand tools). The purpose of ISO is to give insurance companies a uniform system on which to base their insurance premiums.

 

Knowing the capabilities of a fire department is important for insurance companies. The better the fire department, the better protected a building is from fire damage and loss. The higher the level of protection, the less likely an insurance company will have to reimburse a claim for fire damage. The fewer number of claims, the lower the cost for the insurance provider. Of course fire protection can work the opposite way. A sub-par fire department will experience more fire losses. More fire losses means more insurance claims filed. In order to make costs meet, the insurance companies raise the premiums you pay.

 

ISO gives a ranking of 1 through 10, with 1 being the best and 10 being no protection at all. Currently the City of Mansfield Fire Department has an ISO rating of 4. The Mansfield Fire Department could easily achieve a better ISO rating with an increase in staffing and equipment. The cost in tax dollars to increase staffing and improve the ISO rating would be offset by the cumulative reduction in insurance costs to local homes and businesses.

Why do fire fighters work a 24 hour shift?

The bottom line - fire fighters working a 24 hour shift saves the public money. It is the most efficient way to staff the fire department, which is why it is done nationwide. No schedule for fire fighters is more predominant locally or nationwide.

 

The Fair Standards Labor Act (FLSA) exempts fire fighters from certain overtime rules. These exemptions allow fire fighters to work their usual 24 hour shift at straight time wages. Other professions receive overtime any time an 8 hour work day is exceeded. Fire fighters do not receive overtime wages during their normal 24 hour work period.

 

24 hour shifts provide the most personnel on duty with the fewest number of actual employees, saving personnel costs on health care and retirement.

How is the department staffed?

Department members are divided into 3 shifts. Minimum manning for each shift is 21 personnel per day. 
 

The daily staffing is as follows:

 

 Station Address   Apparatus  Staffing
 1 140 E 3rd St  Engine 1  Reduced to 2 FF/EMT-B
Ladder 1  Out of Service Due to Budget Cuts
Rescue 1  2 FF/EMT-P
 2 35 N Brookwood Way  Engine 2  2 FF/EMT-B
Rescue 2  2 FF/EMT-P
 3 705 Sunset Blvd  Engine 3  2 FF/EMT-B
Rescue 3  2 FF/EMT-P
 4 1020 S Main St  Engine 4  3 FF/EMT-P
 6 677 Springmill St  Engine 6  3 FF/EMT-P

Is the Mansfield Fire Department very efficient?

Your fire fighters are cross trained as paramedics, EMTs, hazardous materials technicians, rescue technicians and much more. This “cross training” makes very efficient use of personnel.

 

Also, the 24 hour shift worked by Mansfield fire fighters is the most efficient method of scheduling to maintain the most fire fighters in the station, utilizing the fewest number of employees.

What are the differences between EMTs and Paramedics?

All pre-hospital emergency life support providers start at the Basic level. An EMT-Basic course is 130 hours. Certification as an EMT Basic in Ohio is contingent upon successfully completing the course requirements and passing the National Registry written and practical exams.

 

The next level of EMT is the EMT-Intermediate, which 41 states recognize in some form. In Ohio, an EMT-I course is approximately 80 hours of classroom time, and after classroom study, students are required to spend a minimum of 80 hours doing ride time in an ambulance. During this ride time, the EMT-I student must initiate certain emergency procedures in the field under the guidance of another Intermediate or Paramedic before the student can take the exam. In Ohio, an Intermediate is trained in the initiation of IV lines, intraosseus infusion, intubation, manual defibrillation, bronchodilators and administration of medications.

 

The highest level of EMTis the Emergency Medical Technician-Paramedic. The classroom time and clinical time required to become a Paramedic varies from state to state, but not by much: most programs run from 1,400 to 2,000 hours of study. To put things in perspective, it has been said that in the first ten minutes of a cardiac arrest, there is little difference between what a doctor can do and what an EMT-Paramedic can do. EMT-Paramedics are trained in the use of numerous emergency procedures that other levels of EMT are not. In addition, EMT-Paramedics are trained in the administration of scores of medications that lower levels of technician are not authorized to administer.

 

The scope of practice differences between EMTs vs Intermediates and Paramedics can be summed up by the ability to break the skin. Most states do not allow basic emergency medical technicians to give shots or start intravenous lifelines. Paramedics, on the other hand, can give shots as well as use more advanced airway management devices to support breathing. Basic EMTs are usually restricted to using oxygen, oral glucose, asthma inhalers, and epinephrine auto-injectors (a common exception to the no-needles rule). Paramedics are trained in the use of 30-40 medications, depending on the state.

Does the fire department use grants to purchase new equipment?

Some of the capital equipment our fire department has was purchased in part with grant monies from the State of Ohio or the federal government. This recent equipment purchased through these grants include, a new ladder truck, protective clothing (turnouts) for fire fighters, cardiac monitors, self contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), radio and communications equipment and upgrades to the stations. These grants have greatly enhanced our capabilities at minimal cost to city residents.