As north Fort Worth continues to grow and construction snarls traffic, the city's emergency responders are trying to find better ways to get to fires and medical calls.
In an effort to maintain the goal of a five minute response, Fort Worth Fire is adding a fire attack truck into the mix.
"Especially in heavy traffic with all of the construction in north Fort Worth, it gives us a little bit more mobility and the ability to get to calls quicker," said Deputy Chief Homer Robertson.
The city isn't adding new staff though, but rather re-assigning staff. A four-person crew at Station 44 at Meacham Airport will be reduced to a two-crew station.
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The other two firefighters will be rolled into covering the two-person attack truck. It will require six promotions to staff, but it helps keep the city near its goal of response times while not adding to the fire budget in a major way.
"We're all working under tight budgets and trying to be good steward of the tax dollar," deputy chief Robertson said.
The vehicle and two-person crew will be based at Station 31, which is just off North Beach Street. They will primarily respond to non-fire emergencies in what is a very high call volume area.
"They're doing approximately 3,600 calls a year," Robertson said.
That's about 10 calls a day, but the fire attack truck will help reduce that load.
"The majority of the calls are going to be EMS calls, auto accidents and other calls for service," he said.
It has wildland fire capabilities and could even be used as part of a winter weather strike team, like those formed last week to remove vehicles broken down on city highways.
In addition to improving response times, the smaller more mobile vehicle will yield operational savings.
"A little over a million dollars a year in cost savings," Deputy Chief Robertson said.
That new truck should be in service by the start of next month.
The two-person crew at Meacham Airport does meet FAA and airport standards.