Firefighters Across Nation Experience Shortage in Staffing - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Firefighters Across Nation Experience Shortage in Staffing

Posted: Updated:
MISSOULA -

We continue our exclusive coverage of an event that puts journalists and decision makers in the shoes of firefighters for one day. ABC FOX Montana's Ashley Sanchez joined Missoula Rural Firefighters on a trip to Richland, Washington for the Fire OPS 101 event. During her time in Washington, she found out firefighters nationwide are dealing with a shortage in staffing.

Whether it's putting out a fire spreading through a building, or working as a paramedic to save a life, firefighters are expected to be ready for any 911 call that comes their way.

"People will call 911 when they need assistance, and we take that very seriously no matter the magnitude of the situation," said Ricky Walsh, the Vice President of the Seventh District of the International Association of Firefighters.

Walsh, a retired firefighter of 30 years, said it's getting harder for firefighters across the nation to respond quickly and efficiently to 911 calls.

"We're getting to a place where 911 calls will be delayed in all of our communities. It's a product of economy and we're in trouble," Walsh said.

Walsh advocates for firefighters in Alaska, Idaho, Montana and Washington.

"We are at a critical mass in the fire service industry right now. Most communities, if not all them, are running short staffed right now," Walsh said.

The IAFF 7th District has been holding the Fire OPS 101 event in Washington for the last 10 years. It gives local decision makers, and those who influence decisions a look at the hardships, like staffing, firefighters face on a daily basis.

"It helps us when they have an understanding, when we ask for things, when we're saying we need a piece of equipment for things, they realize, there is a need, there and is an advantage to having it," said Theresa Purtell, a Seattle firefighter.

Purtell has been volunteering at the event for the last 10 years.

"It's a great experience for folks to experience a day in the life of a firefighter. For some folks it challenges them," Purtell said.

The training took place last Friday, where dozens of participants including myself took on six different obstacles.

"It's exhausting. It definitely gives you a good sense of how hard it is to be a firefighter," said Stephanie Bowman, a Port of Seattle Commissioner and participant in the event.

The event will continue to be held in years to come in the hopes it gives the public, a look, even if just a glimpse, of the challenges firefighters are facing.

The IAFF is the primary advocate for providing fire fighters and paramedics with the tools they need to perform their jobs. The group, made up of firefighters, works to ensure the proper staffing of fire and ems departments.

  • Most Popular

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • PHOTOS: Hobo Spider season has arrived

    PHOTOS: Hobo Spider season has arrived

    Friday, August 29 2014 5:37 PM EDT2014-08-29 21:37:17 GMT
    KHQ.COM - Mid August is about the time that we start to see spiders come into our homes, particularly the hobo spider. August and September is mating season for the hobo and that means you may be seeing more funnel-like webs in and around your home. Males are on a mission to find a female which is why they are a lot more active at this time.
    KHQ.COM - Mid August is about the time that we start to see spiders come into our homes, particularly the hobo spider. August and September is mating season for the hobo and that means you may be seeing more funnel-like webs in and around your home. Males are on a mission to find a female which is why they are a lot more active at this time.
  • Sentinel High School Principal And Assistant Principal Suspended

    Sentinel High School Principal And Assistant Principal Suspended

    Monday, September 1 2014 3:35 PM EDT2014-09-01 19:35:48 GMT
    Missoula County Public Schools suspended two of Sentinel High School's top administrators for "board policy violation."
    Missoula County Public Schools suspended two of Sentinel High School's top administrators for "board policy violation."
  • Cobell Settlement Checks Could Be Mailed By Fall 2014

    Cobell Settlement Checks Could Be Mailed By Fall 2014

    Friday, August 15 2014 9:03 PM EDT2014-08-16 01:03:47 GMT
    The people in charge of doling out money in the Cobell settlement want to put checks in the mail by this fall.
    The people in charge of doling out money in the Cobell settlement want to put checks in the mail by this fall.
  • Man Arrested For Alleged Sexual Assault On Police Officer

    Man Arrested For Alleged Sexual Assault On Police Officer

    Monday, September 1 2014 3:38 PM EDT2014-09-01 19:38:19 GMT
    A 23-year-old Missoula man is arrested after police say he sexually assaulted a female police officer as she was performing a bar check downtown.
    A 23-year-old Missoula man is arrested after police say he sexually assaulted a female police officer as she was performing a bar check downtown.
  • Joan Rivers' daughter: 'Keeping our fingers crossed'

    Joan Rivers' daughter: 'Keeping our fingers crossed'

    Monday, September 1 2014 10:33 AM EDT2014-09-01 14:33:34 GMT
    KHQ.COM - The Today Show has reported that Joan Rivers is now on life support. River's went into cardiac arrest at a New York doctor's office while she underwent a "minor throat surgery" on Thursday. Melissa Rivers said in a statement Sunday that "we are keeping our fingers crossed." She's thanking people for expressing their support.

    KHQ.COM - The Today Show has reported that Joan Rivers is now on life support. River's went into cardiac arrest at a New York doctor's office while she underwent a "minor throat surgery" on Thursday. Melissa Rivers said in a statement Sunday that "we are keeping our fingers crossed." She's thanking people for expressing their support.

  • Seven Arrested in Kalispell Sex Sting

    Seven Arrested in Kalispell Sex Sting

    Friday, August 22 2014 3:10 PM EDT2014-08-22 19:10:39 GMT
    A four-day online sex sting ends with the arrest of seven Flathead men for sexual abuse of children, and more arrests are pending.
    A four-day online sex sting ends with the arrest of seven Flathead men for sexual abuse of children, and more arrests are pending.
  • Fatal Motorcycle Accident in Havre

    Fatal Motorcycle Accident in Havre

    A fatal motorcycle accident early Sunday morning in Hill County has left one man dead.
    A fatal motorcycle accident early Sunday morning in Hill County has left one man dead.
  • Clark Fork River Murder Suspect In Custody In Louisiana

    Clark Fork River Murder Suspect In Custody In Louisiana

    Monday, September 1 2014 8:18 PM EDT2014-09-02 00:18:50 GMT
    The suspect in the murder of a Missoula transient, whose body was found in the Clark Fork River, was arrested after a 30-hour manhunt.
    The suspect in the murder of a Missoula transient, whose body was found in the Clark Fork River, was arrested after a 30-hour manhunt.
Powered by WorldNow

Features

  • More Features
  • Powered by WorldNow
    All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and Cowles Montana Media. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.