Staffing issues at Snowmass Fire
I appreciate that an article was used to describe how staffing works at Roaring Fork Fire, but there are discrepancies that need to be cleared up.
Over the last 20 years, Snowmass Fire has moved from a mostly volunteer to mostly career department due to an inability to sustain a volunteer model in the transient population of Snowmass. With each iteration, we were able to improve our minimum staffing policy to a point of having five firefighters on during the high seasons and four in the offseason. With the last mill levy increase for staffing, we were able to have enough career staff to assign five career firefighters with specific officer, medical and driver training and certifications each day. Including our resident firefighters and part-time firefighters, we were able to consistently maintain that staffing level year-round even if career people were out sick or on vacation. If no one was out, we had six and as many as eight on duty per day with up to five paramedics. At that point a policy was enacted providing those five firefighters 365/year minimum. That was our policy before the merger.
Since the merger, the standard staffing in Snowmass has been four firefighters with no guarantee of specific training or certifications other than two paramedics, for the same tax dollars. The notion the battalion chief or staff are available to assist as needed is inappropriate. The BC is the shift commander and can be required to be anywhere in the valley at any time, including Thomasville, 45 minutes away. Staff personnel are in and out of the station with no set daily schedule and can work both in Snowmass and their offices in Basalt.
The issue is we are not getting the coverage we are paying for.