Plymouth Fire Department Faces Staffing Shortages
Plymouth is facing a firefighter shortage.
“Lately we’ve been really struggling with the personnel side of it,” says Mayor Kelli Slavik. “We’ve had a consistent gap in our ability to hire enough paid on-call firefighters.”
Finding firefighters is a challenge in many cities. The city is exploring some options on how to add numbers to their department.
“It’s almost like trying to put a puzzle together,” said Dave Dreelan, Plymouth’s Deputy Fire Chief. “Adding additional staff would make that puzzle go together a lot easier.”
But getting enough hands on deck isn’t always easy. Finding capable on-call firefighters is becoming more difficult and many of them don’t have much flexibility.
“Life is much more chaotic for all of us,” Dreelan said. “The traditional paid on-call, or volunteer firefighter only has so much time to give.”
Plymouth’s shortage of paid on-call fire personnel is having a domino affect throughout the entire department.
“That affects our ability to staff the stations to the level that we would like,” Dreelan said.
Mayor Kelli Slavik says the city council is looking through options for changing staffing.
How Plymouth’s firefighter shortage compares to other cities
- Minnesota there are 770 fire departments across the state. They are all unique in how they do business, how they operate and how much personnel they have.
- Plymouth has six full-time firefighters, five officers in the command staff, one fire service technician and 68 paid on-call firefighters.
- Brooklyn Park has a total of 49 firefighters – 27 full-time and 22 paid on-call.
- Maple Grove, there are more than 100 firefighters, 11 full-time and 90-100 paid on-call.
For Plymouth it’s all about finding the right balance, which is something the city is focused on.
“No matter what,” Dreelan said, “we always make adjustments to make sure we are staffed appropriately all the time.”