NFPA 1710

February 14, 2007

Dear York County Board of Supervisors; 

Nearly 3 years ago it was determined that York County was 62 Fire Fighters short in meeting  the very minimum standards as set forth in National Fire Protection Agency’s 1710 standard. This standard sets the minimum number of fire fighters needed to effectively protect the citizens, and the men and woman who have sworn to protect them. 

Since that time, York County has slowly moved to meet the minimum staffing levels standard set forth in NFPA 1710. You don’t have to travel very far to live in localities where it takes two or three times as long to get an ambulance or fire engine to a home or business. 

Some jurisdictions have lessoned the quality of service by hiring Fire and EMS protection-for-profit companies which has resulted in diminished services to their citizens. In some cases responses are delayed or cancelled (Scratched) as it is known in the profession which results in citizens having to provide their own care and transport to the hospital. They do not follow NFPA 1710 Standards so the 3 to 5 minute response times would not be adhered to. Not to mention there would be less accountability. We want to ensure this doesn’t happen in York County. 

In our business, rapid response time makes all the difference. For example, the chances of surviving a heart attack or stroke, or keeping the fire to the room of origin diminishes greatly as time increases. The citizens of York County need to know the facts. The demands placed on our department grow with each new resident and business, and while we strongly support managed growth, our concerns over staffing shortages remains a serious public safety concern. 

We, the York County Professional Fire Fighters ask the York County Board of Supervisors to fully fund the Fire Chief’s requests for much needed staffing and continue down the right road toward meeting the citizen’s safety needs. All aspects of York County’s public safety are in your hands. Please do the RIGHT thing. Support Minimum Staffing Standards. 

For additional information citizens can visit our web site or call our President Don Dinse at 757 532 3337 or email  

Released by:

YCPFF’s Public Relations Committee


IAFC Updates Their Support of NFPA 1710
By Chief William Goldfeder
Essentially, the current proposal for 1710 Standard (Career Firefighter Standard) is as follows:

  • minimum engine and truck staffing of 4 (5 or 6 in jurisdictions w/ tactical and high hazard occupancies).
  • staffing for BLS response at two EMT-B's and staffing for ALS response at two EMT-P's.
  • Fire departments must be capable of establishing a RIT/FAST team at all incidents.
  • Fire department's must staff chiefs aide positions.
  • Response times of 4 minutes for the first arriving fire unit and/or the arrival of the full alarm assignment in 8 minutes.
  • Fire departments must be capable of establishing incident command, water supply, attacks line(s), backup line(s), search and rescue team(s), ventilation team(s) and RIT/FAST at all structural fires... these "benchmark" requirements are based upon a 2000 square foot detached single family dwelling. Urban FD's will have to increase the requirements according to the occupancies and hazards in their community.
  • Minimum requirements for health and safety, incident management, training, communications and pre-incident planning.
  • Fire departments must inform the public about their response capabilities and the consequences of not meeting this specified deployment criteria.
If this is the first opportunity you have had to learn about 1710, it seems like quite a change for some. It is! I have been a long time advocate regarding appropriate staffing and am glad to see 1710. Of course, most of the "nay saying" is the cost of meeting the standard.

There are solutions, as they say "where there's a will, there's a way"... simply put, you CANNOT accomplish all the necessary tasks at a fire with 4-5 people so there needs to be a way and this is the way. Remember... you need the staffing WHEN YOU ARRIVE, as a part of the first alarm dispatched assignment, not after you get there (with poor staffing) and determine you are going to lose-it's too late then.

If a community cannot afford this, (and you are told that's the bottom line) then automatic mutual aid is the solution. One way or the other, ya need to have the right amount of people to do "the job" and 1710 (and 1720-the Volunteer Standard) is a tool to help us get that.

Chief William Goldfeder is a Battalion Chief/Director of Planning and Development for the Loveland-Symmes Fire Department in southwestern Ohio.  

Reprinted with permission from With the Command.

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