All content, of both the original and this blog, is written from my point of view and is my opinion. I believe it to be accurate at the time it is written. ~ Kyle Prast, Brookfield resident since 1986

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Rule # 1 when studying an issue: Don’t ask any questions that you don’t want the answers to!

Tonight’s Fire/EMS Task Force presentation by Alderman Berg, Dean Marquardt, and Fire Chief Dahms was smooth, professional, and logical--at least it was if you did not think things through or question what you were told. And please, no thinking outside of the box. Their goal? To balance response times and address facility needs. Their recommendation? Replace and relocate 2 fire stations along Calhoun Road. Cost? About $6 million. But not to worry, Alderman Berg assured the audience, “This is far from being a done deal.”

The following are just a few of the many questions and concerns.

One gentleman who lived in the southwest part of the city addressed the council prior to the report. He was very concerned with the 7 to 7:30 minute response times to his area of the city, and so he supported the move of station 3 (Moorland’s). This is perfectly understandable, but under the new fire station proposal, his area of the city would receive 3:27 to 3:48 minute responses, while the east side would now have to wait 6:50 minutes for emergency service. How is this balancing out the response times?

The task force did not present what percentage of emergency calls are to Brookfield Square/hotels/etc. and I-94 in comparison to the residential calls. I have heard about 3/4ths of all calls are in this “hot zone” of need. No comment was made that the southeast section of the city is more densely populated than the southwest section. Does it make sense to move the fire station away from the majority of calls on the south side?

I noticed when they were showing their map of response times that there did not appear to be many hypothetical west side time test sites near Springdale Road, that were not along North Ave. I would think some of those west side subdivision residents would be in the 7+ range of response times. Actually, what the response time map illustrated to me was that there was not much need for the central fire house at the safety building location because the Lilly Rd. location had the north east corner covered and Moorland Rd. had the south part of the city covered. What we really needed was something on the west side. (Those cows are so out of the barn.)

One startling piece of information disclosed was that it could take our new combined Waukesha dispatch a whole minute from the time the 911 call came into them to contact the appropriate fire house in Brookfield, alerting them to send out a team. That surprised me. I think we, as a community, need to know what our old response time was on dispatch and then decide if this new system is working.

Mr. Marquardt mentioned that both fire stations mechanical systems were at the end of their life cycles and that it was time to replace them. I found that curious since they were not built in the same year. Fire station 2 was built in 1966 and station 3 was built in 1977.

I think it is time to explore the possibilities: What about setting up a western EMS station, and the fire trucks can be dispatched from the safety building? That would certainly improve the west side emergency response times for resuscitation. Alderman Carnell asked, should we be answering calls outside of city limits? Is that fair to Brookfield taxpayers? Could we privatize the EMS? (Privatizing is not always the money saving venture you would think it would be. Many times quality suffers. It is worth looking into though.) Alderman Lisa Mellone wanted assurance that there would be a public hearing on this whole issue. The issue now goes to the finance and human resource committees.

Talk to your neighbors about this and contact all of the aldermen. It is important.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Living in the northwest side of Brookfield, I have definite objections to relocating our fire station. First, as homeowners premiums are affected by distance to fire stations, our insurance costs could very well increase. Second, since this is an area with older housing stock, higher percentage of older residents and commercial buildings, the chance for emergency calls and fires is probably greater in our area. Has the optimal pattern for stations been investigated vis a vis traffic patterns/delays. To dispatch fire trucks from busy Calhoun Road may result in longer response times everywhere. Last, I wonder about the population density in the various areas of Brookfield. Greater population density should equate with closer fire/rescue stations.

9:35:00 AM  

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