JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A new fire station and backup 911 call center opened Friday and will allow firefighters to get to emergencies on Jacksonville’s Westside much more quickly.
The new facility located along Aviation Avenue near 103rd Street, near Cecil Airport, was funded in part by a $1.6 million grant from the Florida Department of Transportation.
Fire Station 73 will also house an emergency dispatch operation.
The backup 911 system will ensure that people aren’t left in the dark should the primary call center lose power in severe weather, said City Councilman Randy White, a retired assistant fire chief.
The existing call center, which handles dispatch for the Sheriff’s Office and fire department, takes about 1.2 million emergency calls a year. The city has been looking into a contingency plan for years.
Over 3700 residences, 110 businesses included in the Cecil commerce, 103rd, New World, Normandy, & Chaffee area will benefit with quicker response times & lower insurance rates for being within 5 road miles of new station 73, giving them the best ISO rating possible. @CityofJax pic.twitter.com/SUcdJr7y8Z— MyJFRD (@JFRDJAX) June 28, 2019
Authorities said the location on Aviation Avenue, which is positioned well inland of the coastline, is ideal because there’s a lower risk of storm damage – and the city already owned the land.
Not only are the new fire station and additional staffing expected to cut down on emergency response times on the Westside, they could also help bring some homeowners’ insurance bills down.
The current Insurance Services Offices, or ISO, rating in that part of the city is high because of a lack of fire stations, meaning there is more risk for insurers to cover properties in the area, but the opening of the new fire station should change that by saving money for residents and possibly lives of those in emergency situations.