8 November 2005
Future fire figures
Oklahoma City has thirty-five fire stations, which sounds like a lot until you remember that the city covers more than six hundred square miles. Is this enough? Should some of them be moved?
Today, City Council decided to hire an outside consultant to evaluate the placement of OCFD stations and speculate as to where stations should be added or moved. One move is already planned: Station No. 4, at 100 SW 4th, will be relocated northeast of downtown, though it will be up to the consultant to recommend a location.
The consultant will be expected to come up with five-year and ten-year projections, and, says the Request For Proposals, "analyze the potential to provide Emergency Medical Service (EMS) transport from fire stations." The city currently has about twenty Advanced Life Support companies.
One thing I'd like to see which isn't specifically spelled out in the RFP is whether the city plans to upgrade its hazmat capacities.
Posted at 7:00 PM to City Scene
I'll bet even money that people will not want the fire stations moved even if it makes financial sense to do so. Trying to close a firehouse in New York City is always causes a political fight of epic proportions and even here in our happy little burg north of the big city closing one fire house had everyone out in the streets. It's the NIMBY effect in reverse; everyone, but everyone, wants the firemen nearby.
Well, hardly anyone lives around Station No. 4, which is on the edge of an area being cleared off for a new freeway, so I don't expect much outcry when it goes.
Since we're not in deep doo-doo, budgetwise, I doubt there will be any reduction in the number of stations. What will be an issue, though, is the redistribution of population (now about 530,000) throughout the city: the center is growing, and the edges are growing, but not much is happening in between. I think, though, that the city is more likely to build a new station in the fringes than to move an old one; No. 36, at 17700 SE 104th, twenty-one miles from downtown, is a prime example. Contrariwise, City Manager Jim Couch, quoted in this morning's Oklahoman, says that it is "probable" that some stations will be moved.