Greenville Fire/Rescue is opening a new station, Station Seven, near Fire Tower Road to ensure faster travel times for people in close proximity to the area.
Jeremy Anderson, logistics captain for Greenville Fire/Rescue (GFR), said the site for the new station has not been determined exactly, however, it will be off of Fire Tower Road near the old fire tower. He said there are a couple of lots GFR is still deciding between.
Anderson said construction has not begun and GFR is currently consulting with an architect and is in the “design phase” of the project. He said the new station is projected to be completed 20-22 months after finishing up contract work, but the year for completion has not been released yet.
According to Anderson, the area near the projected Station Seven location was experiencing increased travel times, which is the time it takes from leaving the station to arriving at the residence.
Anderson said Station Three, located on Red Banks Road and Charles Boulevard currently services the area Station Seven will cover in the future. GFR saw a need for a new station to help cut down travel times from Station Three to further areas throughout the city.
Anderson said Station Three travel times were as high as eight minutes to some of the areas the station was responding to, and GFR ideally aims for four to five minute travel times. He said GFR identified the area as the place for the new station based on the need for lower travel times and the projected growth of the area and Highway 43.
“We’re looking forward to being proactive, we want to make sure as the city grows, the infrastructure, especially the public safety infrastructure is growing along with it,” Anderson said.
Anderson said the areas around Fire Tower Road and the southern end of the city, toward Winterville and down Highway 43, will see improved travel times with the opening of Station Seven.
A goal of the new station is to relieve some of the pressure Station Three is experiencing due to their response area being so broad, according to Anderson. He said about 350 calls from January to June of this year would have been in Station Seven’s designated response area, instead of Station Three.
Anderson said travel times are very important to the fire department since travel time is something they can control, unlike traffic and dispatch. He said time is of the essence when dealing with a fire or medical emergency.
“With a medical emergency, seconds count there, (and) the faster we can get there to them the better the patient outcome is going to be,” Anderson said. “And with a fire, it doubles in size every minute, so the faster we can get somebody there the less the chance someone is going to be killed or injured and the whole property can be saved.”
Anderson said there are six other strategically located fire stations currently operating in Greenville, but the Fire Tower Road area is growing so GFR saw a need to expand there to reduce travel time. Any additional future fire station projects will depend on city growth and the development of the Southwest Bypass.
When opening new stations, the fire department aims to have at least one fire engine and an EMS unit at each new location, according to Anderson. He said this usually requires six to seven employees and GFR is actively filling these available positions so staff will already be in place before the station opens.
Anderson said he appreciates working for a proactive city which prepares for the future, as opposed to one which might be falling behind. He said the infrastructure of a city needs to be strong to support growth.
“It’s just really good the city’s being proactive and seeing those kinds of things and meeting those challenges head-on versus being reactive and waiting until the problem arises,” Anderson said.
Rebekah Thurston, public information officer for GFR, said the department is excited to see the city continue to grow and they look forward to servicing residents with the new fire station.
“Greenville Fire/Rescue is excited that the City Council has recognized and supported the need for Station Seven,” Thurston said. “We look forward to continuing to serve the residents of Greenville as the city grows and expands.”
PJ Connelly, mayor of Greenville, said it’s important Greenville is well-equipped with facilities and personnel to support the city’s growth and citizens in the area of Station Seven will see a faster response from EMS and fire/rescue services.
“Greenville continues to expand, so it’s important we continue to expand our services that are offered to the citizens and that is a needed area,” Connelly said. “We’re seeing a lot of growth taking place in the southern part of our city.”