PHOENIX — A lack of resources is causing Phoenix firefighter response times to creep up.
It's to the point now where officials are calling it a crisis that needs immediate action.
"We cannot keep going on the trajectory right now," said P.J. Dean. "It's unsafe."
Nine minutes. That's the average response time the United Phoenix Firefighters Association says it's taking firefighters to get to an emergency.
"Think about how long that is if your house is on fire," Dean said. "Or if your loved one has a cardiac arrest or a serious medical emergency."
The industry standard is about five minutes, which Dean says was seen here about 12 years ago. The reason though it's slowed down is that he says Arizona's rapid growth has put a strain on fire crews citywide.
"Our response times are getting more and more dangerous as time goes on," he said. "And we need those resources to keep pace with the growth Phoenix has."
To put it into perspective, between 2010 and 2020, Phoenix grew by about 300,000 people. Also during that time, the city added one fire truck and 40 firefighters. That's almost a 2.5% increase in resources to handle a 49% increase in emergencies.
A short-term solution?
Dean says they're asking for eight fire stations. Seven would be rebuilt since the ones now are outdated and too small.
"Some of these stations were built in the '60s which were great for that era," he said. "But times have changed since then. Those stations need more capability for more units and personnel to serve that area."
Four stations have so far been approved. However, it's up to the voters to officially get the ball rolling.
"This coming bond election is the only and best way to give the fire department the resources it needs to keep the city safe," he said.
Long-term, they'd also like to add new equipment, vehicles and increase personnel.
"Getting these resources in place, having a plan both short-term and long-term will make Phoenix safer," Dean said.
Dean says if nothing changes, it's projected that response times will increase to eleven minutes in 2025 and about 14 minutes by 2030. To read more about it, you can go to phxfirecrisis.com.
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