Phoenix fire captains hopeful additional funding will help response times, staffing

The funding will be used to hire nearly 60 new firefighters.
Published: Dec. 13, 2022 at 5:48 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Captain Kevin Compas is like many Phoenix firefighters, working long hours, extra shifts, and a lot of overtime, and that’s taken away quality time at home with his family. “Everyone has had to work extra shifts,” said Compas. “You get the call in the morning, we need someone to drive, captains, firefighters, and paramedics. They are asking for all of us to step up and work a little bit more.”

Phoenix firefighters have sounded the alarm that emergency services are being pushed to the brink with staffing levels not keeping up with the city’s rapid population growth. Emergency calls have been up 50% since 2010, and the number of firefighters and fire stations hasn’t kept up, according to the United Phoenix Firefighters’ Association.

To improve public safety and reduce some of the stress on first responders, the Phoenix City Council voted in favor of spending $7.8 million a year to hire 58 new firefighters.

Phoenix Fire Captain Rob McDade is hopeful the new firefighters will reduce response times around the city. “Our folks are heroically showing up to work and working longer hours than they’ve ever been asked to do,” said McDade. “I think this message the city council sent to our members and to the city, is we are listening to not only you, the community, but listening to our firefighters and they need help.”

911 response times average around 9 minutes a call, according to the city of Phoenix. The national standard is 5 minutes. “We have the fire stations,” said McDade. “We have the fire trucks. We need the fire personnel.”