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Fire department targets sites to improve response times

Updated August 9, 2022 - 2:45 pm

Two locations are being targeted for a new Boulder City Fire substation that the City Council approved last month to help the department improve response time to emergencies. The proposed new fire station, labeled Station 122, is looking at sites at Quartzite Road and Nevada Way as well as near the library at 701 Adams Boulevard. The city owns land in both locations.

The Quartzite Road and Nevada Way location would add approximately 4,474 residents and 1,978 homes to the recommended response time, whereas the Adams Boulevard location would add 3,521 residents and 1,470 homes.

The decision to build another fire station comes on the heels of multiple studies that identified Boulder City Fire Department as having “gaps in response capabilities” in their services.

The studies that found this were the 2016 and 2021 Insurance Services Office Rating Report, 2018 Geographical Information System Emergency Response Capabilities Analysis Report by the International Association of Fire Fighters, and the 2021 Community Risk Assessment.

The main areas of concern that the reports found were that the fire department is understaffed and that some neighborhood zones, such as the Lakeside, Del Prado and San Felipe areas, are outside of a four-minute drive time for the fire station.

“The fire department has identified that a second station is critical to ensuring that most of the areas within the city can be reached within the nationally established six-minute response time standard,” the fire department said in an official report.

Last month, the fire department responded to a double-wide mobile home fire on Lake Mountain Drive. Fire Chief Will Gray said that it took nearly 10 minutes to get to the fire, and by the time the department arrived on the scene, the ceiling was already on fire.

“Now, if we have a fire on that side of town, we can get there much sooner,” he said.

In terms of construction, the fire department is not seeking to replicate its current station but rather build an additional complementary station on the other side of town. They have proposed a 2,300-square-foot building, which is around the size of a four-bedroom, three-bathroom home with two large recreational vehicle-style garages.

The fire department got an estimated cost in October 2021 from a local contractor. It would cost $1.5 million for the construction and take nine months to a year to complete. Additionally, it would cost roughly $35,000 to furnish and $10,000 to maintain annually.

“The department understands that there are competing interests for the city’s limited finances but believes that this is the single most critical public safety issue facing the city today,” the department said in its report.

In July, the city approved spending $1.9 million for public safety projects, including the new substation, from the $7.9 million it received through the American Rescue Plan Act.

For staffing, the fire department has applied for a federal grant that would hire nine additional employees for the new substation. This grant is not guaranteed, and Gray said that if they do not receive the grant, they will transfer over existing units.

Gray mentioned that he had heard some concerns from the public regarding siren noises through town. He reminds the public that sirens are only used for emergency purposes and to clear traffic. They are not used at night if the streets are empty and the siren is pointless.

“They won’t be hearing much of that. Sirens mean that someone in our community is in a life-threatening emergency. We don’t do it just to do it,” said Gray.

A request for design of the substation is currently in the process of being sent out. Then, the City Council will vote on the matter as more than $150,000 is being spent before they can finally break ground.

“This plan will help bring the fire department much closer to meeting the needs of Boulder City and creating a safer environment for the community,” the fire department report stated.

Contact reporter Owen Krepps at okrepps@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow him on Twitter @OKrepps85.

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