FITCHBURG (WKOW) — According to the Fitchburg Fire Department, a new east-side fire station has decreased average response times by about 30 seconds.
Firefighters began running calls out of the new Station 3 on Syene Road at the end of August and since then they have been able to more quickly respond to calls on the east side of town.
According to data 27 News obtained from the department, the average response time before Station 3 was built was about 6 minutes and 13 seconds.
Since August 27, the calls out of Station 3 are seeing an average 5 minutes and 41 second response time.
Fire chief Joe Pulvermacher said that while 30 seconds doesn’t seem like a lot, it can mean everything to people who are experiencing an emergency.
“Those that have had an emergency can appreciate how long 30 seconds feels, how long a minute feels as they’re waiting for someone to arrive on scene,” he said.
The chief said they try to aim for a six minute or under response time, but because the city is so big longer response times are inevitable.
Of the 128 calls that have been run out of Station 3 since August, more than half were at six minutes or less.
Some were extremely long due to mutual response calls.
The decision to build a third station on the east side of the city was a way to address current needs but also anticipate the needs that future development of the area will create.
“If we maintained our current locations and didn’t account for development, those response times were going to be above the standard that we typically accept,” Pulvermacher said.
The city is anticipating annexing the town of Madison into its jurisdiction, which will broaden the response area.
“As things develop, the east side of the city will appreciate a quicker response time,” Pulvermacher said.
The department has two other stations: Station 2 is on Marketplace Drive and Station 1 is on Lacey Road near the center of the city.
Station 1 does not do active fire response. That’s where fire administration is housed, and major training is done.
Pulvermacher said the long-term benefit of the new station is cost-effective and good for citizens.
“The idea of having a station of this size, along with our station 2 on Marketplace, the west side of the city, it really does address the most good for the most people,” he said.