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, February 06, 2007

A CREATIVE EMS solution the Task Force did not consider (Revised)

The Fire/EMS Task Force may be portraying the fire station remodel/relocation issue as an all or nothing proposition, but it is not. Just because we may choose to move one station does not mean we must relocate the other too. Each should be considered on its own merits. The question of whether we do nothing, remodel, or rebuild should be decided on an individual basis. By virtue of the fact that we are questioning the viability of both of our older fire stations #2 and #3, this is the perfect time to consider the bigger picture of both our city’s fire/EMS logistics and our neighboring communities’.

First question: what should we do on the north side? As noted earlier, moving Fire Station #2 from Lilly & Capitol to Calhoun & Capitol is not justifiable. The proposed west side location is too far from East High School and too close (2.3 miles) to station #1 on Calhoun & North. Considering the possibility of cooperating someday with Pewaukee, moving our station to within 3 miles from their likely fire station (on Springdale) does not make sense either.

I did a little travel time test of my own over the weekend and found the proposed Calhoun/Capitol location for #2 Fire Station is 4x farther (2.8 miles) and 4x longer (4½ minutes) from East High School than the present Lilly location is at .6 miles and 1min.8sec. Slide #34 states “Every address counts the same.” That would lead me to believe the East High School address with 1,600 students was only given the same importance as any other house address with 4 average residents?

The City’s Task Force power point presentation summarized the incidents for 2005 and 2006 on slide #7 as being around 3,000/year, and of those, 66% were EMS calls. Slide #9 shows the proportion of calls by region: “NE – Approximately 23% of CBFD calls” while the “NW – Approximately 11% of CBFD calls.” Slide #13 cited the “FD goal to meet 4 minute travel time standard (effective intervention).”

The Task Force’s own data on the percentage of calls was: 2 northeast side calls to 1 northwest side call. To me, that 2 - 1 ratio does not justify moving Lilly station #2 west to Calhoun!

Here is a proposal the Task Force did NOT consider: (slide 4):
Keep the Lilly & Capitol station where it is with or without the fire engine & 3 crew fire fighters—depending on budget constraints. (The task force did consider the 4 EMS stations and 1 main Safety Building fire house scenario, but found the longer fire service times to the east sides as unacceptable. See slide 8) Station #3 on the south side should remain a fire house due to its proximity to the freeway, hotels, and Brookfield Square.

Add a 4th EMS location on the northwest side consisting of 2 EMS persons and 1 Paramedic/EMS Transport Unit (ambulance truck). These 2 EMS paramedics could be 2 of the 3 firefighters from the Lilly station, if we did not want to incur higher costs in trying this. (Firefighters are paramedics.) They could use the back up ambulance that is stored at the Safety Building for this 4th station. Another possibility would be to speed up the scheduled replacement of the next ambulance from 2008 to 2007 and keep that replaced one in service. (The idea is to keep the cost of trying this low.)

We could do this on a trial basis and locate it at the City’s Municipal Garage at the Recycling Center off of River Road (direct access to River Road possibly needed). This new crew could alternate with the Lilly station crew—to make the work load and working conditions more equitable. The Municipal Garage location would still allow the Paramedics to do some of their inventory work and inspections, etc. when not on a call

I think it is worth a try, to give this extra 4th EMS station a chance. This could just be the stop-gap measure we need to provide adequate EMS service to the northwest side until we could work out a cooperative plan with Pewaukee. If that seems unlikely, then maybe a more permanent EMS station could be built at the Municipal Garage or at Mitchell Park /south side or north side.

Consolidation and cooperation are the current trend in fire/EMS service. Captain John Dahms himself said at the HRPS meeting that the trend was to consolidate to save on staff.

It would be foolish to spend $6 million+ on moving the 2 fire stations both to Calhoun Road, only to find this makes our service WORSE or at a high redundancy with New Berlin (1 mile away), Town of Brookfield (2 ½ miles away), and Pewaukee (3 miles away), when the growing trend is toward regional cooperation and MABAS.

Coming next: Station #3 IS in the right place!

2006 Responses (from the city's public information meeting)
  • NE - Approximately 23% of CBFD calls.

  • Central - Approximately 27% of CBFD calls.

  • SE - Approximately 21% of CBFD calls.

  • NW - Approximately 11% of CBFD calls.

  • SW - Approximately 17% of CBFD calls.

  • Mutual Aid Approximately 1% of CBFD calls.


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