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Posted on August 22, 2016 at 3:41 PM by Katie Stamy
Starting in September, the Webster Fire Department will shift from 21 part-time employees to 12 full-time employees. After a series of interviews and evaluations, Webster internally appointed 10 firefighters to full-time positions and hired two additional employees from outside of the City.
According to Webster Fire Chief Patrick Shipp, the drawback of having a large part-time staff was a lack of reliability when a disaster struck. Other fire departments in the area employed some of the same part-time staff as Webster, so in a crisis, the agencies were competing for the firefighters.
Once full-time, the employees will have ownership and pride in the Department. Webster will be their home and their service will improve, said Chief Shipp.
Another difficulty with having a large part-time staff was the sporadic scheduling. One crew may work together one day, but that same crew may not work together again for another year, said Shift Commander Todd Weidman. A smaller full-time staff will reduce crew fragmentation, and enable the delivery of training to be timely and efficient. It will enhance the service delivery and productivity by maintaining a consistent level of care.
Additionally, the new full-time employees will be required to become paramedics within three years, which will also improve the service in Webster.
The change to 12 full-time firefighters is expected to save the City money, as there will be fewer employees covered by insurance.
Webster Fire Department anticipates the new staff to begin on September 10.