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Response times at risk if the Colorado Springs Fire Department can't keep up with the city's growth

CSFD: Needs new stations and more firefighters in years to come
Response times at risk if CSFD can't keep up with city's growth
Posted at 5:00 AM, Jul 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-12 08:30:48-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — As the City of Colorado Springs continues to grow the city's fire chief says so does the need for new fire stations and more firefighters. Areas like Banning Lewis Ranch will need better coverage in order to maintain those response times in the years to come.

"Previously it hasn't had structures, so we didn't have to worry about that area as much. Now it is starting to fill in there are a lot of new sub divisions going in and building going on out there which is great for our economy, but it increases our call volume and our need to be closer to that area to respond," said Colorado Springs Police Chief Randy Royal.

Right now Chief Royal says the department has remained consistent in its goal of arriving within 8 minutes for a medical call and 12 minutes for a fire.

"We're looking at a number of things including new stations to address that, but also different types of response like tiered response to address those things so that we can keep our response times where we want them," said Chief Royal.

Let's dive into the projections on call volume for the fire department going forward.

CSFD staff projects firefighters will respond to a record 70,000 calls this year. In 2026, firefighters are projected to be called out 78,768 times. And by 2031, that number grows to almost 86,000.

"It's a safety concern, but we want to meet the standards whether it's getting to a fire or a medical and getting on scenes in an appropriate manner where we can make a difference," said Chief Royal.

The fire department is moving forward with a new fire station near it's headquarters east of downtown which will house Station 23, an already operating station that's been using temporary quarters.

The next steps are to build fire stations in the Banning Lewis Ranch area and up near Interquest and Voyager, where growth is presenting the biggest challenges.

"There is more people and there's more activity. We're really seeing it now that we're coming out of COVID," said Chief Royal.

Projections show the fire department will also need more firefighters and staff to go along with the new infrastructure. Fire leaders are encouraged to see plenty of applicants to fill those needs.

"Next year will probably be a normal year and hoping again still to get 1500 or 1600 applications, but that will be for 20 to 24 spots. So it's competitive to get your foot in the door," said Chief Royal.

Funding the department's growth is expected to require new fees on development. The mayor's office is still trying to determine how much that could actually cost. It's a story we'll continue to follow because ultimately these costs get passed on to homebuyers.