GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — More than 40,000 responses from Greensboro Fire in the past year. On those calls, the department had a 28% success rate of CPR, 98% of property saved and more than 800 smoke alarms installed. Those numbers come from the department’s annual report, they’re impressive but the Greensboro Fire Department wants to do even better.
One area they want to improve is at their fire stations. Several will be getting updates, including the first project, at Station 14. It was built more than 50 years ago when they had smaller fire trucks, the current ladder truck had to be specially built so that it could fit through the bay doors. Construction at the station will include adding about 3 feet in height so regular-size ladder trucks can fit.
Something else not around when the station was built, was female firefighters. They also plan to make space for the women with the renovations. Everything will be updated including the HVAC, floor drains, bathrooms, the kitchen and other living areas. The current sleeping quarters have little privacy and no windows.
Construction is scheduled to begin at Station 14 sometime in the spring of 2024, during that time, the employees will move to other nearby city and county stations to continue to provide service. The project is expected to take just under one year.
For the first time, they will be adding a separate space for women, currently, there are more than 30 females on the force. Right now, at station 14 and several others, there are no female bathrooms or locker rooms.
A total of four fire stations in Greensboro will be getting updates. The department is also looking at purchasing land for future fire stations as the city is growing. “When we look at a property, we look at it as four-minute travel time, period, from any fire station, we want you to be within four minutes or we want to have another fire station,” said Chief Jim Robinson from the Greensboro Fire Department.
Their goal is to have seven firefighters at your door in 10 minutes and 20 seconds, it’s a standard they have been able to maintain despite staffing challenges. “We had a record number leave last year around 40 folks and that has actually been for two years in a row so it has really had an impact on us,” Chief Robinson said.
The chief says they are making progress and he hopes soon to eliminate mandatory overtime for all employees. “Our shift is 24 on and 48 off,” he said. “But forcing folks to two-three days in a row it’s not healthy at the end of the day.”
A growing demand has led to the hiring of additional fire inspectors, a deputy fire marshal and more bilingual firefighters. “It is certainly a growing concern that we have being able to communicate with our population,” Chief Robinson said about having bilingual firefighters. “They will get a bonus paycheck for those skills,” he added.