Frisco Fire Department expanding

Construction on Fire Station 8 is estimated to begin in December at the intersection of Independence Parkway and Rolater Road in southeast Frisco.

It could be completed in late summer or early fall, depending on construction progress and weather.

Adding the eighth station will significantly reduce response times for the area, Fire Chief Mark Piland said.

Fire Station 5 currently handles most of the calls in the area, but when its crew is on another call and an emergency is called in southeast Frisco, Fire Station 2 and the Central Fire Station are the closest, which is a 12- or 13-minute response time.

"It's not so much about your first call, but also your ability to back up vacant stations when they are on a call to provide that service," Piland said. "It's going to help us a lot."

Department staffing

The department staffs about 155 firefighters—51 or 52 per shift—plus five battalion chiefs, two assistant chiefs, five fire inspectors, a newly appointed fire inspection engineer, as well as eight or nine civilian support staff members and three Frisco Fire Safety Town staff members.

The majority of Frisco's certified firefighters are also paramedics, and all are at least Emergency Medical Technician certified.

"Any one of our firefighters can ride in the medic [ambulance], and vice-versa—any one one of the medics can also ride in the [fire] truck," Piland said.

Piland said he thinks there is an advantage to fire-based EMS, where the firefighters also serve as paramedics, versus having separate departments.

"That's lost on people sometimes," he said. "We hire one person, but they are dual functioned. Most people, when they are hired, do one function. These people, when they are hired, perform two very significant functions, and the training on both of them is pretty extensive.

Fire department's future

The 2013-14 budget allows the hiring of a captain to oversee emergency medical services.

"Right now, 52 to 60 percent of what we do is EMS," Piland said. "We don't have a day-to-day, full time EMS coordinator. We've got to bring some focus to that program. We cannot continue just to tender it along. It's got to move to the next level."

Piland said a conservative estimate is that two more fire stations will be needed in the next five years.

"Where both of them go, it's hard to pinpoint them down," he said. "We have an idea of where we think they will probably go, but that can all change with development, it can change with a road, it can change with people putting in major utilities."