Firefighting needs listed

Four new stations sought by department to cope with city’s growth

KINGMAN - Kingman City Council heard input from Kingman Fire Chief Chuck Osterman about the future of the department Monday night.

Osterman said the department is looking at replacing one station and building four new stations in the next few years due to growth in the community. The need is not imminent but plans need to be made for the future of the city, he said Tuesday. Monday's presentation was to inform Council about expected future needs of the department.

"As every day goes by, we keep an eye on the growth of the community," he said. The most important indicator is response time, he said. As new development stretches the boundaries of the city, response times grow. Currently, the department is not having any problems with response times, he said.

Demand on the department has grown substantially in the last several year, according to Osterman. The department experienced a 28.37-percent increase between 2004 and 2005, he said.

Between 1983 and 2005, the population of Kingman grew from 9,757 to 25,860. The size of the city has grown from 18 to 32 square miles. Activity by the department has increased from 410 to 9,422 calls a year. Osterman said the department has already seen a 14-percent increase in the number of emergency calls this year as compared to last year. However, the number of fire stations and the number of engine companies has remained the same since 1983.

The department has been able to meet the increase in calls by increasing the number of firefighters in the department. The department currently has 43 firefighters, with two shifts of 14 firefighters and one shift of 15 firefighters on duty at various times. Osterman said the department is looking to add two new firefighters.

The newest firehouse in the city is located on North Sierra Road. It was built in 1997. The firehouse on Harrison was built in 1962 and has been added onto twice since then, he said.

The department would like to replace fire station No. 2 near the fairgrounds. The station is one of the busiest, smallest and oldest stations in the city, Osterman explained. The station was built in 1962 and is simply not big enough for the equipment and personnel needed for the area, he said. Plans for the new station are already complete.

"We've outgrown it," he said.

He told Council during the meeting that the department will move one of the ladder trucks to the station in order to reduce response time. The battalion chief would also be moved to the station. Making these changes would increase public safety, help maintain the city's ISO rating and meet National Fire Protection Association standards, he said.

Osterman said the department is also expecting the delivery of a new rescue truck soon and a new engine in the spring. Council approved the appropriation for the fire engine in August. The new truck is currently on order and will replace an engine built in 1981.

The department is projecting two new fire stations in developments on the east side of town south of Route 66 and another new station in the northern sector of town. The department estimates it will cost the city $2.5 million for each new 6,000-square-foot facility and a total of $640,000 in staffing and $500,000 in equipment. It's expected to take around two years to design and build each new station.