By Anayeli Ruiz
MIDLAND - When it comes to a 911 call for emergency responders, every second counts. Right now, the City of Midland Fire and EMS average response time is about six minutes and 30 seconds. The target average response time is usually under five minutes and 35 seconds.
"We are running more calls this year dramatically than we have in the previous two years, three years ago. The population influx has had a dramatic impact on our responses," Midland Fire Chief, Robert Isbell, said.
So in order to speed up their time, the department tested out a new suped-up pickup truck equipped with everything they need to respond to an emergency call. They tested the truck out during January and February of this year. During the first month, the small squad truck responded to about 350 calls.
"Implementing one squad improved our response time by about 30 seconds," Isbell said.
That means that the average response in the city was about six minutes. The squad itself would respond to calls with an average of four minutes.
The chief says not only did this new concept cut times, but in the long run it will cut cost. A squad will cost about $70,000 to $80,000 and a new engine runs about $600,000.
"The fire engine gets about three and half miles to the gallon maximum. The squad is getting around 14 to 15 miles to the gallon. The significant in fuel savings alone was pretty dramatic," Isbell said.
On Tuesday, Isbell presented the information to the city and he gave them the results of their test. He then asked the city for two squad units for the fire department. The city was happy to see that they were able to find a solution and shorten the response time.
"We will see it in our next budget and it's not going to be a very large item because it's a truck. It will save money because it uses less gas than our big engines," Midland Mayor, Wes Perry, said.