The Del City Fire Department just reopened its second station, after months of dealing with a manpower shortage.
The department’s brand new fire station is slated to open in less than a month, so firefighters wanted to get back into the habit of operating from two locations.
Retirements, resignations and injuries left the Del City Fire Department operating at a bare minimum manpower earlier this year, just three six-man shifts.
“We want our citizens to know, we’ve always been here for them, but we’ve had some challenges that past five months,” said Major Brandon Pursell.
Forced to close Station 2 to consolidate resources, response times to the south side of the city increased by one whole minute.
Pursell said, “That can double the size of the fire. It could make a very bad outcome on a medical response.”
Shortly after Station 2 closed, though, city leaders approved the hire of six new firefighters. They have finished training now, bringing the department back up to its standard three eight-man shifts, and allowing Station 2 to reopen as a practice run ahead of the new centrally-located Station 1's grand opening.
“It’s all coming together,” Pursell said.
When the new building opens, the current Station 1 will become the new Station 2, and the old Station 2 will be turned back over to the city, likely for storage.
Plus, with Del City voters approving a sales tax increase last month, firefighters are resting at ease knowing they will soon get raises and more new colleagues to keep the department functioning at the optimum level.
Pursell said, “We’re able to retain our guys, not losing them to other departments and hopefully be able to increase our minimum staffing as the sales tax allows us.”
Firefighters expect to meet their goal of three ten-man shifts sometime in 2018.