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Fire Response Times Up; Firefighters, Administration Differ Over Cause, Effects

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Michelle Durham Michelle Durham
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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A just-released report shows it is taking Philadelphia firefighters longer to respond to scenes, but the fire commissioner and the president of the firefighters’ union are at odds as to why and the effect they are having on citizens.

Local 22 President Bill Gault says the increase in response time makes more of a difference then you might think, “Fire deaths are up. Firefighter/medic injuries are up. There are 163 firefighter/medic injuries.”

He explains that injuries are up, “Because they are running. The fires are getting bigger, because they have the time to grow. We get there later and now one house has turned into three houses.”

Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers says response times were previously 00:04:28. Now they are five minutes.

“We had times over the winter where there were longer response times based on snow,” Ayers says. “That always increases the times.”

Ayers says, even in the areas where an engine company has been browned out, the response times meet the NFPA standards. As for the injuries, “There has not been an increase in injuries due to any changes in our operation.”

Reported by Michelle Durham, KYW Newsradio 1060

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