FIRE DEPT.’S NEWEST STATION RANKS SECOND IN MONTHLY CALLS

Wednesday, June 24th, 2020

PFLUGERVILLE, JUNE 19, 2020 – The Pflugerville Fire Department’s newest station is already the second busiest, the Travis County Emergency Services District No. 2 Board of Commissioners learned at its June meeting.

Travis County ESD No. 2 (ESD2) is the local government responsible for providing fire protection and emergency medical response under the name of the Pflugerville Fire Department.

The District opened Station No. 5 at 1541 Pflugerville Loop on April 27. It was the first new station ESD2 built in more than 15 years.

In its first full month of operation, Station 5 responded to 198 calls for help, averaging almost seven calls a day. At the June Board of Commissioners meeting, ESD2 Commissioner Robert Turner commented that the demand demonstrated the wisdom of building the new station. “It’s a validation; the new station was much needed,” he said.

When the Fire Department receives a call for help, time matters, and the ability to get well-trained and well-equipped firefighters and emergency medical technicians to the scene quickly can make the difference – literally – between life and death.

In a heart attack, in a stroke or with severe injuries received in a car crash, the chances of survival fall sharply after ten minutes. Fire doubles in size every minute.

That’s why properly located stations are vital to protect the lives and property of nearly 140,000 residents in 80 square miles of ESD2, which includes Pflugerville, Wells Branch, Northtown and growing areas along and east of the 130 Tollway.

The Pflugerville Fire Department uses sophisticated tools to analyze population distribution and call history to craft strategies to reduce the amount of time it takes to get to your emergency.

ESD2  has adopted standards developed by the Center for Public Safety Excellence to address response time according to population density. CPSE standards identify urban density as areas with more than 2,000 people per square mile. Suburban density is characterized as areas with 1,000 to 2,000 people per square mile, and rural density is less than 1,000 people per square mile.

In ESD2, about 120,000 people live in areas that are classified as urban in density, and the remainder are split between suburban and, primarily in the eastern portion of the District, rural densities.

With the CPSE standards in mind, ESD2 has set a goal of responding to at least 90 percent of its calls within 6.5 minutes in urban areas; 7.5 minutes in suburban areas and 12.5 minutes in rural areas.

That’s the ESD’s “Standard of Cover.” A full discussion is available on the District’s website, www.pflugervillefire.org/standard-of-cover.

There you’ll find 2019 research conducted on response times. For the four stations operating between 2017 and 2019, a conservative, theoretical analysis projecting population density and traffic flow showed that ESD2 would be able to reach 76 percent of its urban population within its 6.5 minute goal.

Historical analysis of actual response time showed that the District reached 95 percent of its calls in urban areas within the 6.5 minute goal, exceeding the CPSE standard.

The addition of Station 5 near the I-35 corridor was an important decision because the high number of “double calls” along the interstate highway and along Wells Branch Parkway west of I-35.

Double calls occur when one station’s personnel and equipment are already deployed to the scene of an emergency. Another call comes in, and resources from another, more distant station have to respond. That adds minutes to the time it takes to respond, minutes that could be crucial for a person’s health or safety.

With the addition of Station 5, ESD2 is placing its Pflugerville Fire Department staff and equipment closer to the areas where double calls occur, with the goal of getting help to you faster.

Stations 6 and 7 are in the planning stages in the fast-growing areas east of the 130 Tollway, where the need for urban-level response already exists. Farms and pastures are turning into communities with urban densities, and your Fire Department needs to be able to protect those homes, schools and businesses as they spring up.

One fire station, along with state-of-the-art equipment and additional staffing, is an expensive proposition. Two fire stations are twice as costly. Right now, ESD2 can’t afford them.

Our financial projections paint a bleak picture because the Legislature has limited revenue growth for local governments, like Travis County ESD No. 2. ESD2 is exploring other revenue alternatives to avoid making drastic cuts in services.

Travis County ESD No. 2 can’t wait another 15 years to build its next station. The need exists now.

 

For more information, please visit www.pflugervillefire.org