New fire stations and medic unit planned
The Georgetown Fire/Medical Department continues to plan for new facilities, equipment, and staff in order to maintain exceptional emergency response services in our growing city. I want to share with you some highlights about these plans from a report by Georgetown Fire Chief John Sullivan to the City Council at the end of last year.
Fire Station 6
Construction should begin this summer on the sixth fire station in the city’s fire/medical response area. Fire Station 6 will be located on Williams Drive at Farm to Market 3405. The new station will help to provide emergency response in the northwest sector of the city’s emergency response area.
Williamson County Emergency Services District 8 is funding the cost of Fire Station 6 and Georgetown Fire/Medical Department will staff and operate the station. Fire Station 6 will help to provide fire and medical response across the whole service area like other Georgetown fire stations.
When Fire Station 6 opens next year, an engine company currently at Fire Station 5 will move to Fire Station 6. Fire Station 5 will continue to be staffed with a truck company and a medic company.
Fire Station 7
Plans for a seventh fire station also are underway. The city is working to acquire property near the intersection of SH 29 and Inner Loop Road for the station. Fire Station 7 will serve the eastern areas of the city’s emergency service area. The design of Fire Station 7 is set to begin this spring and construction should begin later this year. The station is expected to open by the end of 2019.
Future fire station locations being explored include a location on Westinghouse Road at FM 1460 and another location on SH 29 west of DB Wood road. The Westinghouse Road location could be a station jointly built and operated by the City of Georgetown and the City of Round Rock since it would serve growing areas in both cities.
EMS medic unit
In January, the City Council approved funding for a fifth ambulance unit that should be implemented later this year. This medical response vehicle along with the paramedics to staff it will help address EMS peak demands that are increasing in the City.
One illustration of increased peak demand is measured by concurrent demand, which is when EMS is responding to multiple calls. In 2013, concurrent medical calls occurred 4 percent of the time. By 2017, concurrent medical calls increased to 30 percent of the time.
Fire and EMS report
Here are some additional data points of note from Chief Sullivan’s report on the Georgetown Fire/Medical Department.
It should come as no surprise, since we have been one of the fastest-growing cities in the nation for the past few years, to learn that there has been a 56 percent increase in call activity and demand for service since 2013.
Single-unit responses have increased from 15 percent of calls in 2016 to 30 percent of calls in 2017. A single-unit response means that one ambulance or fire truck responds to a call. The increase in single units responding is due to the deployment of medic units and the deployment of advanced life-saving equipment on fire trucks.
There are good numbers to report on fire/medical response times for the department. Different measurements can be used for response times. If we look at the time of dispatch to the time of arrival, the response time has been reduced by an average of 36 seconds since 2012 from 5:53 to 5:17. If we look at the call-to-door response time, which includes 911 call taking, dispatch, turnout time, response, and arrival, the average has been reduced 34 seconds since 2012 from 6:56 to 6:22. Either way it is measured, the department is getting to emergencies more quickly in order to begin critical care and render aid.
Overall, Chief Sullivan reported to council that fire-based EMS has resulted in improved ability to handle concurrent calls or peak demand, improved call-to-door response time, improved reliability, and decreased general fund costs for staffing additional units.
These plans for new stations, equipment, and staff and the report on improved response times are reasons to feel good about emergency services in our city. Despite the fast growth we have been experiencing, our Georgetown Fire/Medical Department is planning and innovating to maintain excellent emergency services on which we can rely.