Fire Chief seeks new hires as calls spike

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The national industry benchmark is to respond to a fire in five minutes 20 seconds. (KFSN)

A new Fresno Fire Department report showed crews arrived at structure fires within four minutes 71% of the time last year. However, Fire Chief Kerri Donis believed an increase in personnel would further improve response time.

Donis said of the 2017 report, "Our fire response time in certain areas is 69% in some areas. Some response areas are 86% meaning we reach our goal that percent of the time."

The national industry benchmark is to respond to a fire in five minutes 20 seconds 90% of the time so there is improvement to be made.

Donis said staff size presents a big challenge. She explained, "You're not going to find another city, metro city this size, that has the population we do with as few firefighters on duty each day."

Fire and medical calls were up 4% in 2017 to 45,575 but that figure was up 20% from the 37,881 calls responded to in 2014. Staffing sits at 379.

Donis hoped the city budget will allow her to add needed personnel. She said, "We are hoping to move forward with a plan to add a company and a safety officer to minimum daily staffing. That would be a significant leap for us in this department and it would take us back to pre-recession levels."

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