Union says Phoenix Fire resources are down as response times have increased

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — Phoenix fire leaders are sounding the alarm about lagging response times to emergencies. PJ Dean, secretary with the United Phoenix Firefighters Association, said that over the past decade, response times have gone from 5 minutes to nearly 9 minutes. Officials say those crucial minutes are putting fire crews and the community at risk.

“For medical scenarios, whether it is a heart attack, stroke, cardiac arrest, seconds count. The faster we can get you help, the greater your survivability,” said Dean.

According to the union, there has also been a 49% increase in calls for service, but resources only went up by 5% during that time. “Our guys are working 48 sometimes 72 hours in a row, running these exponentially high call volumes, which keep them up all night,” said Dean.

Phoenix is ​​one of the fastest-growing cities in the country, and Dean said the department doesn’t have the staff or resources to keep up. City officials spoke at a Phoenix Public Safety Bond Subcommittee meeting on Monday. One Phoenix Fire official called for more funding for new and upgraded fire stations. Dean said he was encouraged by the meeting and wants city leaders to prioritize public safety moving forward.

“In the long term, the city and leadership needs to be consistently adding resources year for year because our growth is not going to stop,” said Dean.

At least one committee member appeared on board with approving bond funding for the department. The subcommittee is meeting again on Aug. 29 to discuss the proposal more.

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