Your Emergency Service Will Get Worse

What will happen to residents of Wake County unincorporated areas if the county shuts down Fairview Fire Station #2 and forces us to rely on Garner Station #5? Very simply, your emergency service will get worse, despite the best efforts of Garner Fire Department to fill the gap. Public records confirm that the Wake County Fire Services Department knows this.

They knew the U-turn was a problem

On April 18, Wake County Fire Services officials were provided official information from the county showing that emergency vehicles leaving the proposed Caddy Road location for the new Garner station would have to travel an additional 3,400 feet if they were heading towards Ten-Ten road or Fuquay-Varina, due to the U-turn they have to make because of the concrete barrier in the middle of the road. Fire Services officials were informed that this increased travel distance will most likely impact response times (underlined in the original document.)

They know more people are hurt than are helped

A new fire station in Garner will result in quicker emergency response times for many people, especially Garner residents. But because the Fire Services Department plans to close Fairview Fire Station #2, that will hurt response time for many other people. On the whole, how many people will be hurt vs. how many will be helped? Because of a request made by Doug Smith at the July 19 Fire Commission meeting, the county did a study on the impact. Here is the result:

This graph shows how many land parcels would experience quicker emergency response times, and by how many seconds:

reduction-in-seconds

The total number of parcels with improved response time is 487. The biggest reduction in response time is 90 seconds. Now look at this graph, showing how many parcels of land would experience slower response times, and by how many seconds:

Additional-in-Seconds

Here we see that 1,722 parcels of land would see slower response time — more than three and a half times as many as would see faster response time! And some people would experience four minutes of additional response time. Clearly the proposed change hurts response times more than it helps.

The proposed station closing violates policy

In 2005 the Fire Commission and the Wake County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to adopt the following criteria for closing a fire station:

  • If there is measurable better service at the same cost consider the proposed alternative
  • If the same service can be provided at less cost, consider the proposed alternative

The proposed station closure does not meet these criteria. However, even if they chose to disregard the criteria in order to save money (which we do not advocate!) Fairview Fire Station #2 could be expanded much cheaper than buying a new fire station. It is difficult to see how closing the fire station makes sense from any perspective.

What can you do to restore sanity?

Come to the August 16 Fire Commission Meeting (This Thursday!)

Contact our County Commissioners

Thanks to an alert citizen

Many thanks to Doug Smith for making the Public Records requests and forwarding me the documentation referenced in this blog post. Without Doug’s hard work and persistence in tracking down this information, we wouldn’t know any of this. In Doug’s words:

I submitted several questions to the Chairman of the Fire Commission Chief Keith McGee. He graciously forwarded them to the other Commission members, and also sent them to Director Campasano for answer… In real estate they say the number 1, 2, and 3 criteria are location, location, location. In Fire Service, whether you’re talking fire or medical emergency, the 1,2 and 3 criteria are response time, response time, response time. Fifty percent of all calls are medical in nature. In the words of former Wake County EMS Director Dr. Brent Myers, “If it’s important, put it on a red truck.” Please look at the two graphs attached. They were prepared by Wake County Fire Services. The verdict is clear. Nearly four times as many affected citizens are negatively impacted as are positively impacted. And on top of that, by significantly longer response times. 1722 vs 487. The data speaks for itself.

 

5 thoughts on “Your Emergency Service Will Get Worse

    1. So do I. Unfortunately, I don’t get to make that decision. That’s in the hands of the Wake County Fire Commission, followed by the Wake County Commissioners. If you can, please come to the Aug. 16 meeting (this Thurs.) wearing a red shirt to show support for Fairview Fire Station #2.

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  1. Dave, has Wake put out any proposal that outlines why they want to do this, with supporting data? Other than what Matt Calabria has sent to me I have seen nothing. And, it would appear that the County Commissioners need to be driving this, not Fire Services.

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    1. Nick Campasano, director of Fire Services, made a presentation at the July 19 meeting of the Fire Commission, stating his case for closing the fire station. He did present figures claiming that the closure would save money. But at that meeting he did not give an estimate for how much the new Garner station would cost, nor did he present any of the information on this page. In fact, at that time they had not even conducted a study of how many people would be adversely affected vs. positively affected, as required by policy.

      The County Commissioners have a lot on their plate. They rely on county staff such as the Fire Services department to research alternatives and present proposals. I do agree however that a lot more people should have been informed a lot sooner in this process. I have gotten the impression that there was an attempt to “sneak this under the radar.” I hope to blog more on that topic when I get a chance, and show some documentation I have supporting my conclusions. I strongly believe in transparency in government.

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