AUSTIN — The Austin Firefighters Association and Austin Fire Department released alarming numbers about the response time of crews. Only seven of the city's 46 fire stations are meeting their response time goal.
"Those response time deficiencies create greater property losses in terms of fire loss and they create worse outcomes in terms on medical responses," said Bob Nicks, president of the Austin Fire Association.
Firefighters say part of the problem is there aren't enough stations. Back in 2012, AFD told city leaders it needed six additional stations. Only one station made it into the bond election. And while voters approved funds to build it, the station still hasn't been built.
Nicks and Austin Fire Department Chief of Staff Tom Dodds presented possible solutions to the Public Safety Commission on Monday afternoon in hopes they will send a resolution to council.
"One of the things we're having trouble with right now with our incredible growth and density is response times. It's a solvable problem, but we need to work together to get that thing solved," said Nicks.
The commission approved sending a four-point resolution to council. If approved it will
- Look at funding five critically needed fire stations immediately
- Ensure council gets a needs analysis each year during its budget session
- Direct the City Manager to look at funding new fire stations through public-private partnerships
- Get GPS signal preemption to help emergency vehicles move through traffic
Before the resolution goes to council for a vote, four council members will have to sign off as sponsors. Go here to read the proposed resolution.