SAN ANTONIO -

In a press conference in front of City Hall Wednesday, San Antonio Professional Firefighters Association president Chris Steele said response times of the SAFD are not making the grade.

Steele said firefighters and EMS personnel should arrive in 4 minutes or less, which is not being achieved because of a lack of resources spread thin across a city that continues to grow.

The SAFD expects the average response time in 2013 to be 7:38.

In 2010, the average response time was 9:38, according to SAFD.

However, the National Fire Protection Association says response times should be 6 minutes 90 percent of the time.

The association wants one fire truck and one ambulance to be budgeted in the 2014 fiscal year to help lower response times.

The city council is currently debating that budget.

In a statement responding to the association's claims, the SAFD says since 2006 it has added 167 firefighter positions, 7 EMS units,
4 fire companies, 6 new larger replacement stations and 2 new fire stations.

SAFD Chief Charles Hood said those additions are decreasing response times and that the NFPA standard is unrealistic.

No large metro area meets the standard including cities larger than San Antonio, according to Hood.

He added that he is requesting an additional fire truck and additional ambulance in the upcoming budget.

The firefighters association wants to see the additional ambulance placed on the city's northeast side and the additional fire truck on the west side in Station 44.

In 2012, on average, Station 44 responded to roughly 5,600 calls.

Another 1,000 calls were received when the station was unmanned, according to the association, and that means resources had to be pulled from nearby stations.

Roughly 160,000 calls came into SAFD in 2012, making the volume in Station 44 above average.  

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