Construction of the fire station / EMS continues despite the pandemic

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In 2017, an analysis of the service needs of the Austin Fire Department led to the creation, with city council approval, of a six-year plan for the construction and staffing of five fire stations. / EMS in the areas most in need: Del Valle / Moore’s Crossing, Travis Country, Loop 360 / Davenport, Goodnight Ranch and Canyon Creek / 620. Last week, Richard Mendoza, the director of Public Works, delivered a report to Mayor Steve Adler and council members saying that despite the pandemic, the the resolution progress is on schedule.

“We believe we will still be able to deliver the remaining three stations within the original six year timeframe and are working in partnership with the city’s budget office as well as the Austin Fire Department and Medical Services. Austin / Travis County emergency response on next steps for delivery given current financial constraints, ”Mendoza noted in the memo.

Del Valle / Moore’s Crossing station is complete, according to the report, while Travis Country station has reached “substantial completion.” A certificate of occupancy was issued on July 8 for the Travis Country station and the note states that “the contractor is progressing towards final completion and move in”.

The Travis Country Station includes a training tower, a gas station for city vehicles, 10 dorms and sustainable landscaping, according to a Press release since last year.

While the Loop 360 / Davenport station is still in the design stage, construction is scheduled for October. (“Due to the challenges of the site topography and utilities, we estimate a construction time of 15 months for this station,” according to the memo.)

Goodnight Ranch Station and Canyon Creek Station are still in the pre-development phase.

The 2017 resolution highlighted AFD’s inability to comply with National Fire Protection Association standards; more specifically, arrive on site within eight minutes of an emergency call at least 90 percent of the time. Depending on the resolution, response times even exceed eight minutes most of the time in certain areas of the city.

AFD’s failure to meet this critical standard likely reflects the fact that the population of Austin is overtaking the expansion of the fire department. According to the city’s demographer quoted in the resolution, “Austin’s population grew by 40% from 2003 to 2018 and is likely to grow another 25% by 2033.”

Photo courtesy of CC by 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

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