Richmond Fire Dept. creates contingency plan to address understaffing

Richmond Fire Dept. creates contingency plan to address understaffing
The Richmond Fire Department is planning for days when it could be short by eight firefighters.

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Understaffing concerns have prompted the Richmond Fire Department to develop a contingency plan for when there are many as eight empty positions.

According to an internal memo shared by a source, the department needs at least 103 people on duty each day to work at full capacity.

With some unfilled vacancies, retirements and both scheduled and unscheduled leave expected in the near future, the department is preparing its operation for when there are as few as 95 people on duty.

When staffing gets that low, one fire engine will be out of service and three additional ones will operate with a short staff.

The department will operate up to four engines with a reduced crew before taking one out of service for the day.

Normally the department has 12 people on scheduled leave but that number is expected to grow to 20. Illness and injury further reduce the department's available workforce.

The memo says the department has frequently exhausted its pool of overtime personnel on weekends. Additionally, the memo says other options such as canceling employees' scheduled leave time and mandating overtime hours could become necessary.

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