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Fire Department Launches Improved Staffing Model

Fire Department Launches Improved Staffing Model

A Message from Fire Chief Rich C. Kindelan

The Scarborough Fire Department is adapting its daily staffing model in an effort to provide more consistent, safer staffing deployment, more efficient service, and to better manage our budgetary resources.

The transition will take full effect in late February and includes schedule and operational response adjustments. The new schedule is designed to create more consistent around-the-clock coverage and standardizes that there is always a set number of on-duty firefighters 24-hours/day.

The new staffing model also ensures that all calls for service will receive a more predictable response of a multi-firefighter crew and all but eliminates the practice of allowing a single firefighter responding to emergencies. In order to move away from any single member responses, two stations with lower call volumes will no longer be staffed with a single firefighter and instead be primarily supported by our dedicated call company firefighters. The Engine 3 (Pleasant Hill Road) and Engine 4 (Pine Point/King Street) stations will be unstaffed; however, they will remain open and continue to be dispatched to emergency calls. 

Response times to calls in these locations will remain well within acceptable NFPA standards and will come with the support of a full firefighting/EMS crew as opposed to a single member who would traditionally be staffing those stations. Fire Department chiefs will be monitoring response times closely, and we anticipate that our community won’t notice a difference in the prompt service they have come to expect.

This new staffing model is part of a long-term strategy for the department. A staffing plan began in 2008 and has since led to the hire of 22 full time firefighters over the past 14 years. The department aims to continue this transition in phases over the next several years to support increased call volume while maintaining high-level fire/EMS services to the community. Meanwhile, reconfiguring our model now will help ensure preparedness and the ultimate effectiveness of our plan.

External factors have accelerated the transition process and there are challenges that demand an immediate response. Not unlike fire departments across the region and the country, our department is experiencing the effects of staffing shortages and increasingly fewer applicants. The trend has led to our own unfilled shifts increasing threefold since pre-pandemic operations, and is only continuing on this trajectory. Our per-diem program, which was once a robust and effective model for our department, is no longer a reliable means of supporting our calls for service. This decline has been observed for the past decade but has only recently accelerated in the past few years. Keeping all (6) six fire stations filled with full-time staff using overtime hours is not a sustainable model and requires us to address our staffing needs with more urgency. 

This new staffing model is a data-driven approach to address our department’s budgetary needs, reliability of service, and overall operational efficiency. Scarborough Fire has the advantage of a robust fleet of equipment and apparatus, and a reinforced staffing structure will ensure we have the operations to support our capital resources. After a late February launch, we will continue to monitor and adapt this plan as needed with a full review after six months.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions about this transition plan. I can be reached at or (207) 883-4542.

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