A Scarborough fire truck. Courtesy photo

Scarborough Fire Department is switching to a new staffing model, designed to provide improved and more efficient service.

Keeping the six fire stations staffed full-time with overtime hours has not been sustainable in post-pandemic world of staffing shortages. Fire Chief Rich C. Kindelan, who started in Scarborough in January 2022, said one of his goals coming into the job was to work on a new staffing plan. Last summer, Kindelan and several others began work developing the plan.

The new staffing system will create a “more consistent, safer staffing deployment, more efficient service, and better manage (the Department’s) budgetary resources,” according to a press release from the Fire Department.

The new system will ensure that there is always coverage with a set number of on-duty firefighters at all times, Kindelan said. Fire response will be more predictable; no longer will lone firefighters respond to emergencies. Full firefighting/EMS crews will be dispatched and kept well within National Fire Protection Association standards, he said. Response times to calls will be monitored and kept within the same time frame as before the change.

Two fire stations with the least need will now be primarily manned by call company firefighters, Kindelan said.

The stations at Pleasant Hill and Pine Point have been kept afloat by “amazing” company call workers, said Kindelan. These two stations will now be unstaffed, yet will be kept open and dispatched to emergency calls.

The fire department has hired 22 full-time firefighters since 2009, and intends to gradually hire more over time to keep up with community need, he said. The new staffing model is meant to create an improved and long-lasting system that will serve the department and by extension the community for years to come.

The department will review the model after six months in case adjustments are needed, Kindelan said.

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