KFD adds shift commanders if budget gets OK

By ERIC A. HOWALD Of the Keizertimes The Keizer Fire Board will consider the proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year at its meeting Tuesday, June 21, at 7 p.m. Keizer Fire District’s Budget Committee approved the proposed budget last month and forwarded its recommendation for approval to the fire board. The centerpiece change in the budget would call for three current district employees to modify their current work schedules and be assigned the role of shift commander. The proposal generated a flurry of debate at a recent Keizer Fire Board meeting as directors weighed the options involved in instituting a pilot program. Some members of the board wished to take more long-term look at the staffing needs, but settled for a six-month shift commander trial period, set to begin in January 2017. In a letter to the fire board, Jeff Cowan, Keizer fire chief, said the change is intended to help solve logistics problems caused by increased call volume. “Approximately 35 percent of our calls occur while another call is in progress, often requiring a medic unit to handle a call on their own or requiring the engine company to ‘abandon’ one call for another,” Cowan wrote. KFD experienced a 9.1 percent surge in calls last year. Given limited resources, it frequently meant calling for back-up from surrounding fire services, either Salem Fire Department or Marion County Fire...

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