"Prevention is one of the most important aspects of any large organization or company. In the fire service, the fire prevention office covers these activities. When most people think about the fire service they usually only think of suppression and fire prevention for many departments takes a back seat and usually is one of the first to be cut during challenging economic times. The problem addressed by this research paper is that the Lower Merion Township Fire Department fire prevention workload has continued to increase while staffing has remained the same and a comparison has not been conducted. In March of 2010, staffing was again decreased due to the retirement of its Deputy Chief, and a current decision by the Township Manager not to fill any vacant positions for budgetary reasons. The purpose of this research project was to determine the actual workload of the Lower Merion Fire Department and compare it to present fire prevention staffing levels, in order to develop and recommend a proper staffing model to proactively protect the community. The descriptive research method was used to conduct this project and consisted of a review of published materials, conducting questionnaires and surveys of other fire departments, performing internal surveys, as well as personal interviews. This was completed in an attempt to answer the following questions: a) What are the work requirements for fire prevention inspectors? b) What is the present fire prevention staff work level capability? c) What fire prevention workload will not be accomplished under present fire prevention staffing levels? The results of this research showed staffing as compared to the current workload is insufficient and the findings of this research will be used as a basis for requesting and justifying the need for additional fire prevention staffing in the Lower Merion Fire Department."
United States. Federal Emergency Management Agency, Learning Resource Center: http://www.lrc.fema.gov/