Response Times

Larry Barnes breeds and shows Clydesdale horses on about 50-acres on Winnemucca Ranch Road. He settled down here about seven years ago because of the rural atmosphere. But he knew there would be a trade off.

"The closest manned fire station we knew of was La Posada and we knew it was going to take nine or ten miles to our place."

Just to the south of Larry's property, the city of Reno has shown interest in annexing--brining thousands of new residents to a newl development area. It's a controversial move, but if it goes through, can those new resident's anticipate the same response times Larry expects?

"Not at all, we are very fortunate in our community to have a great relationship with community development and planning. When we find out about where they are gong to locate how big they are going to be what our expectations are with the fire department in terms of our needs so we can serve those areas." says Reno Fire Chief Paul Wagner.

According to the city of Reno in 2006 response time on average for Reno Fire is five point two minutes. For Truckee Meadows Fire, a more rural service area, response is six point nine minutes. Reno Police responded to the most urgent calls in less than five minutes nearly 80-percent of the time. Priority one calls within five minutes or less 52-percent of the time.

"The city has been very good about looking at the needs of the community providing the fire service and the personnel to staff those stations" Wagner says.

On his office wall he has a map that forecasts growth in the area for the next five years and beyond and where new fire stations will have to be place. Take a look to the right and you'll see how they are paid for: By the developer and ultimately the homeowner.

Wagner says, "The developer builds a station provides the equipment, and the tax revenues generated as was described by one of the city council people at our budget hearing was 20-million dollars. The cost of our personnel is about a million and a half. So you can see how that revenue is generated by taxes pays for itself and a lot of other services."

Reno Police Chief Mike Poehlman says his department talks to developers as well as to what will be needed to provide police protection. That's based in part on what his department is experiencing in the city right now.

"Say your average is point five calls per service per existing population, well you project that to a thousand people coming that's 500 additional calls for service how many cops or police officers you need to handle that."

Chief Poehlman says forecasting staffing numbers are based on what it will take to keep new and older neighborhoods safe and something else.

"30% of our officers' time is uncommitted so they have that time for pro-active activity. When somebody says they have drug dealing in my neighborhood, that takes time for the officer to be here and monitor stopping cars, whatever the case may be. When they are going from call to call to call, they don't have time to be in pro-active activity."

While its not any easy task for either fire or police to anticipate the needs of our growing community. Chief Wagner says from both a business and safety aspect there's no other way.

"If they choose not to work with us, that is there right. But then if we don't have a fire station nearby, there are implications that they have to live with also, And no one wants to do that--they don't--we don't."