DFD presents annual budget

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 17, 2007

DEMOPOLIS &8212; The Fire Department presented their 2007-2008 annual budget to the Finance Committee Thursday, asking for $1.6 million in funds to cover salaries, capital improvements, new equipment and overtime costs.

One of the main issues of concern from the Finance Committee, as also mentioned in the interviewing process for a new chief, is controlling the excessive amount of overtime.

According to Chief Ron Few, the overtime will drop significantly if the department is managed correctly and the minimum staffing requirements are met each day.

According to Capt. Tommy Tate, the department is supposed to operate on a system of two men in and two men out, where two firefighters go into the fire and there are two men waiting to intervene if the fire becomes more dangerous, which is a policy mandated by the Alabama Fire College. As of late, Tate said, they have been working with two men in the fire and at best one man out in case rescue efforts are needed.

As the department stands now, there are 14 firefighters employed. According to figures presented in the budget, the minimum level of staffing required for all three fire stations is three firefighters and one captain on duty at all times, a total of 10 for the whole department. This would require the department to bring their total staffing level up to 33 firefighters.

Another provision in the department&8217;s budget is for new positions, including an assistant chief job and an administrative assistant. Few said the chief position will also serve double duty as a fire marshal.

The proposed budget also makes provisions for an administrative assistant position.

Few said he envisions including fire education as part of the administrative assistants duties. He said there is not enough fire education in the community and this person could help facilitate increasing it among residents.