— By BRIAN SMITH
Weatherford Fire Chief Paul Rust recently gave an overview on how a joint working agreement with Emergency Services District No. 3 would affect the department.
Rust said he had received several e-mails nd questions on how the proposal would affect service for residents. The two entities are working out a contract that would close WFD Station 2 and move the employees and equipment into the ESD No. 3 station in Hudson Oaks. Rust said having ESD No. 3 station closer to a major highway should speed up call times within the region.
Station 2 covers 5.35 square miles of area of the city and had 260 calls in 2012, or about 6 percent of the city’s entire call volume, according to a staff report. About 4,600 residents live within the area served by Station 2, Rust said.
With the joint agreement, WFD station No. 2’s calls would rise to about 849, based on ESD No. 3’s 589 unassisted calls in 2012. That would up Station 2’s call volume to 17.2 percent of the total number of calls received by WFD, third highest of the city’s four stations behind Station 1 (33.8 percent) and Station 3 (30.2 percent). The number of square miles covered would increase to 18.92 square miles.
ESD No. 3 had 622 calls in 2012, but Weatherford was asked to assist on 33 of them, according to a report Rust provided to council. Rust said 60 percent to 65 percent of Station 2’s calls were of the medical/rescue variety, the same as ESD No. 3. Being able to increase the firefighters on a fire engine call from three to four will have a positive impact, Rust said.
“It’s now standard to have four firefighters on an engine to more efficiently handle a situation,” Rust said previously. “For fires themselves, we don’t even send firefighters inside unless we have at least four people. If we have less than that, we fight the fire from outside until we can get a fourth firefighter on scene.”
With the proposed station closure and move, residents in Station 2’s service area would still live within five miles of a station, which can save as much as 20 percent on their homeowner’s insurance, Rust said. The city will also be able to save on not having to build a new station, which was being considered, as Station 2 was never designed to be a fire station, Rust said.
“We’ll also be able to use their engine and brush truck instead of having to purchase our own and the ESD No. 3 station puts us in a better, more strategic location,” Rust said. “It’s definitely for the greater good of the area.”