Scottsdale planning 2 new fire stations - East Valley Tribune: News

Scottsdale planning 2 new fire stations

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Posted: Monday, May 5, 2008 5:49 pm | Updated: 9:03 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Scottsdale is planning to build two new fire stations at opposite ends of the city - one in the most densely populated section of south Scottsdale, and one in the north, where homes are more spread out but response times are lagging far behind national averages.

GRAPHIC: See a map to see the proposed fire stations and response times for those areas

Scottsdale is planning to build two new fire stations at opposite ends of the city - one in the most densely populated section of south Scottsdale, and one in the north, where homes are more spread out but response times are lagging far behind national averages.

Click on a map to see the proposed fire stations and response times for those areas

Fire officials say the plans will help Scottsdale achieve its goal of responding to emergencies within four minutes at least 80 percent of the time.

"By building the new stations, we expect to really drive down our response times," said fire Chief William McDonald. "It's a very comprehensive approach to improving our services."

Plans call for the eventual closing of the 1960s-era station at Miller and Thomas roads, and replacing it with a $4.2 million station at the southwest corner of Eldorado Park, near Miller and McDowell roads. This station would serve roughly 5,000 people per square mile, the most densely populated area of the city. Firefighters respond to about 7,000 calls a year in this area.

Plans for the other station at 96th Street and Cactus Road would help reduce response times by nearly half, fire officials said. Right now, average response times in the northeast part of the city average roughly nine minutes about 80 percent of the time.

That's nearly twice the national average of 4 minutes, 90 percent of the time, according to the National Fire Protection Association in Boston. A house fire can double in size from four to eight minutes, and the chance of saving a heart attack victim from suffering brain damage lessens in this time.

"We receive about 1,500 to 2,000 calls for service in that area of north Scottsdale every year, and right now, we're not serving that area very well," McDonald said. "The further north you go, it gets more sparse between homes north of Bell Road and it slows down our response time."

The station, also estimated to cost $4.2 million, would serve an area bounded by the Greenway Road alignment to the north, Shea Boulevard to the south, Loop 101 to the west and the Central Arizona Project Canal to the east.

The new station also will help serve 18 schools and more than 600 businesses in the area. It would enable firefighters to respond to 1,600 calls annually within the four-minute target time, McDonald said.

Overall, the city's average response time is 4 minutes, 15 seconds, he said.

No groundbreakings have been scheduled for the new stations, but a targeted completion date for them is 2010, said Tiffani Nichols, fire department spokeswoman.

The Scottsdale City Council is expected to approve the design contracts on both 11,000-square-foot stations at its meeting today. The construction of the stations, which would be paid for out of the city General Fund, is expected to be approved as part of the city's budget by late June, Nichols said.

Meanwhile, Scottsdale's new downtown station at Miller and Indian School roads is about 80 percent complete, scheduled to be open in July.

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