Guam Fire Department also suffering from high personnel turnover

Guam Fire Department Chief Daniel Stone testifies during GFD's budget hearing Tuesday morning. (PNC video capture)

Just like the other emergency agencies on island, the Guam Fire Department also suffers from high personnel turnover rates.

GFD Chief Daniel Stone, during his department’s budget hearing today, told senators that the fire department suffers from a high attrition rate due to retirements and military deployments.

“We have ongoing challenges such as retirements, extended military deployments, and medical leaves. These absences within our department will continue to challenge our ability to meet our OSHA standards, specifically in our first-line supervisory positions,” Stone said.

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Stone said these “gaps” largely reside in GFD operations where the loss of institutional knowledge and experience within the first line and middle management supervisor positions are noticeably felt.

“We are also challenged with reducing the need for overtime expenditures, while still being able to provide the necessary service to save lives and protect property at the level of service the community has come to expect and deserves,” the GFD chief said.

Since fiscal year 2017 to the present, Stone said 79 have either retired or resigned or separated from the Guam Fire Department. During the same period, GFD was only able to hire 40 recruits.

Because of this, GFD anticipates continuously increasing overtime expenditures to meet GFD’s operational staffing needs and response facilities.

“Despite the attrition rate we are experiencing, along with the challenges which that pose, we continue to ensure that we work within our budget, while still meeting the missions and mandates of the department,” Stone said.

GFD is asking for a fiscal year 2022 budget of $31.57 million. This is almost the same amount that the fire department got for fiscal year 2021.