Produced by Fitch & Associates, the study—which was presented to City Council on July 6 and looked at 2019 response times and the department's available resources—shows emergency medical services account for the largest number of requests from the community.
With five stations located throughout the city, the fire department received 6,373 calls—or 17.5 calls per day—in 2019. Of those, 4,602 calls—or 12.6 calls per day—were EMS related. That means 72% of emergency calls to the department were EMS calls, as opposed to 25% that were fire related.
Steven Knight, a partner with Fitch & Associates, said this suggests the department’s resources should be EMS centric.
“In many communities, I would expect you as a fully integrated all-purpose fire department [whose] EMS proportion would probably grow in the future,” Knight said.
The study also shows the fire department’s 2019 travel time for EMS is around six minutes and fire is around nine minutes. The agency's total travel time is seven minutes, which fits in within the national average of five to nine minutes, Knight said.
“It's really a policy choice what you want your response time to be," Knight said. "But from our perspective, there's no driving force to suggest that your current performance is somehow [behind]—it fits within the national lane."
To improve response time without increasing the workload for EMS personnel or reducing resources available, the Fitch & Associates study suggests the city consolidate Engine 1 and Truck 1 into a four-person unit to then add one more medic unit and ambulance transport unit.
“[Grapevine has an] excellent department and leadership, there's no question,” Knight said. “[The] majority incidents are EMS in nature, [and] your growth will require some additional investment as you move forward. The alternative that we put together is really a cost-neutral solution to reallocate some personnel towards that mission.”
Fire Chief Darrell Brown said he will be meeting with other fire department leaders to discuss the proposed suggestions before presenting the council with a recommendation to move forward.
“I'm not about losing any promotable positions, and I'm not about getting rid of any personnel—but reallocating some of those personnel off of that fire company that we would no longer have in service to do other things,” Brown said.