Due to tightening budgets, the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department (FL) is considering ways to make rescues more efficient that may slightly impact fire response time.
The department is considering plans to combine some fire suppression and rescue operations. The move is opposed by the firefighters’ union, which claims it will decrease both public safety and firefighter safety.
The new approach would add ambulances to some fire stations that may now only have fire apparatus, with personnel jumping on whichever equipment was needed depending on the type of call.
About a third of stations don’t have rescue units in them now: When calls come into those stations, engines with life-support equipment respond immediately, with ambulances arriving later. All of Jacksonville’s firefighters are either paramedics or emergency medical technicians.
In the past year, department personnel responded to about 119,500 calls, with 85,000 of them for medical rescue. Of the remaining calls, 800 were for structure fires and only 300 of those were serious.
The approach, known as cross-manning, has been done in other cities, with the decision to do so relying on a department’s decision as to how best meet its service goals.
The changes are likely to be made first in an area like Black Hammock Island, at the edge of the county. The fire station serving the 1,000 or so people living there is staffed with an engine and four firefighters.
For more information, view jacksonville.com