Fire-rescue calls up nearly 20% in 6 years

US Census Bureau shows Jacksonville population grew 5.6% over same period

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – With continued growth, Jacksonville now has about 868,000 residents, making it the 12th most populated city in the United States.  The U.S. Census Bureau shows a 5.6 percent population increase from 2010 to 2015.

There are concerns that the city's emergency services are not growing at the same pace, which could increase response times when residents need it most.

Jacksonville Fire-Rescue responded to 114,250 calls in 2010. In 2015, JFRD went to 136,239 -- a 19.3 percent increase.

"The number of calls have just grown astronomically," said Randy Wyse, president of the Jacksonville Association of Firefighters. "Sooner or later, that catches up with you. You have all sorts of issues that could come with the amount of calls that you do."

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is also feeling the pinch. The number of 911 and non-emergency calls received increased 3.5 percent from 2014 to 2015. 

Over the past two years, city leaders have budgeted for 80 more police officers, but the fire union said the number of firefighters stayed at 350. They continue to ask for more manpower and resources.

"It's expensive to do those things, but again, when you're dealing with public safety, I don't know how you put a dollar amount on that," Wyse said.

Firefighters and paramedics said they will continue doing the best they can with the resources they have.


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