ARIZONA NEWS

Phoenix allocates $7.8M annually to bolster fire department staffing

Dec 12, 2022, 11:57 AM | Updated: 12:37 pm

(Phoenix Fire Department Photo)...

(Phoenix Fire Department Photo)

(Phoenix Fire Department Photo)

PHOENIX — The Phoenix City Council has allocated $7.8 million per year to add 58 sworn positions to the fire department’s payroll.

Before the measure passed unanimously during Wednesday’s meeting, Mayor Kate Gallego called it “an important vote for our city” and a “top priority” for leadership.

“More firefighters to us makes better public safety and firefighter safety for us, and that is our ultimate goal as an organization,” Fire Chief Mike Duran told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Friday.

The funding starts in the 2023-24 fiscal year and covers 31 new positions plus 27 existing positions that were previously paid for through grants.

“The city of Phoenix of the last eight years has grown almost 300,000 residents, and with that, public safety, specifically fire, resources have not been able to keep up with that growth,” Duran said.

Over the last 10 years, the fire department’s average response time has gone from around five minutes to nearly nine minutes. Call volumes have increased 48% in that span, with resources only increasing by 2%.

Twenty-four of the new staff will be assigned to Fire Station 62 when it is built near 93rd Avenue and Lower Buckeye Road.

The new allocation will also cover seven additions to the fire department’s aviation and rescue unit.

“What we’re prepared to do is immediately begin training those members so that we can get them on the street in fire trucks, in our units and start responding to calls immediately,” Duran said.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Taylor Kinnerup contributed to this report.

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Phoenix allocates $7.8M annually to bolster fire department staffing