Some Fort Worth firefighters are sounding the alarm over a staffing shortage that they say threatens to push response times higher.
The city council Tuesday night approved a $1.8 billion budget that included an extra 10 firefighters citywide, and they were a last-minute addition.
Fire Chief Jim Davis had said the department was 250 firefighters short and proposed adding 50 a year for the next five years.
“There is no sugarcoating the severity of this situation,” said Capt. Michael Glynn, president of the firefighters association. “Seconds count when responding to a fire or emergency medical situation and today it takes much longer than it did 10 years ago.”
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According to the city figures provided by Glynn, the number of firefighters has increased 10% in the last decade while the population shot up 23% during the same time period.
The average response time for a fire call inched up from 4.85 minutes to 5.25 minutes.
An average EMS call increased from 4.77 minutes to 5.8 minutes.
City Manager David Cooke and other city leaders promise to do a "complete review" of fire department staffing next year and vow to add more positions in the future if they're needed.
“Obviously public safety is the bedrock of responsibility of city government and we take that responsibility very seriously here in the city of Fort Worth,” Mayor Mattie Parker said.