The results were included in SLFD’s annual report. The average response time for emergency medical services was 6 minutes, 25 seconds in 2017, while SLFD averaged 6 minutes, 40 seconds for fire calls.
Emergency medical services accounted for 67 percent of SLFD’s total call volume in 2017, while fire calls represented just 2 percent. The 137 fire calls in 2017 included only 21 structure fires – four were confined to the room of origin, and eight were confined to the object of origin. Approximately 65 percent of structure fires resulted in minor damage.
Of the 5,949 EMS calls in 2017, 52 percent were handled with only an ambulance compared to 29 percent in 2016 – a strategy identified by industry experts to better utilize personnel and equipment.
The Center for Public Safety Management’s (CPSM) assessment of the Sugar Land Fire-EMS Department last year confirmed that the city has a progressive department with highly trained, competent personnel who ensure Sugar Land remains one of the safest cities in the nation.
Recommendations focused on the changing nature of the fire service, especially in Sugar Land where EMS calls greatly outpace structure fires by more than 15 to one. This has necessitated a focus on EMS ambulance transport and the specialized skills and training necessary to meet the needs of the community.
Industry experts who conducted the assessment made 28 recommendations related to the deployment of resources, organizational structure, performance measures, community hazard inventory and other areas to ensure that Sugar Land remains one of the safest cities in the country.
To prepare for annexation and to ensure there were no reductions in service levels, the city purchased a new ambulance for Fire Station 6 in Greatwood and hired seven additional firefighter paramedics and one fire inspector with funds paid by the annexed areas. Additionally, the city also began implementing cross-staffing – a recommendation from a departmental assessment conducted by industry experts last year – at Fire Station 7, which serves New Territory. The city replaced the county’s one ambulance with two ambulances and added additional personnel, enhancing services citywide.
Cross-staffing allows firefighters who are trained in both fire and EMS to respond with the most appropriate piece of equipment and improves service to newly annexed areas. The cross-staffing concept was implemented for a six-month period upon annexation, which will be followed by a review of response data to determine expansion to other areas of the city.
Priorities for 2018 will include:
- a continued focus on the implementation of the departmental assessment;
- continuation of extensive training opportunities for firefighters and command staff;
- an upgrade of SLFD’s Patient Care Reporting System;
- major construction projects; and
- ongoing recruiting efforts.