Jacksonville is adding 115 new residents every day. How JFRD is planning for the future

JFRD firefighter battling for PTSD benefits gets backing from state leader

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – With 115 people moving into Jacksonville every single day, the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department is preparing for the future.

Chief Keith Powers tells News4JAX he’s asking for $20 million for 2022-23 capital improvement funds funding a multitude of projects that are critical to saving lives and protecting property.

Chief Powers says it’s become increasingly harder to respond to 911 calls within four minutes or less because of all new construction in Duval County.

″We’re seeing strong growth right now, about 115 people a day, we’re seeing permitting and zoning in construction in places five years ago they didn’t expect,” Councilman Aaron Bowman said.

Powers spoke to the city of Jacksonville’s finance and budget committee, laying out the need for additional resources while citing exponential growth. The chief says in 2019 his department responded to roughly 154,000 911 calls and 171,000 calls in 2021. That’s a 9 % increase.

The national recommendation is that a fire department’s response time should be within four minutes at least 90% of the time.

“As a fire district gets busier and busier, that company will be on so many runs that it requires companies on the borders to come in that area, and that creates a vacuum behind it, which increases a bigger and bigger vacuum and that increases response times,” Powers said.

Chief Powers who based his requests on growth data and analytics, said in order to maintain the least expensive insurance rating, homes and businesses should be within five road miles of a fire station.

It’s why construction crews are breaking ground on Station 65 in Arlington and several other construction projects.

JFRD is also preparing to break ground on, Station 64 at Dunn Avenue and Harts Road on the Northside, Station 75 at Firestone at Wilson on the Westside and Station 47 on Lannie Road on the Northside. Fire Station 76 is expected to open along Cedar Point Road in 2023 and several existing fire stations are being renovated.

“The American heart association says if a patient doesn’t receive CPR from us or an individual in 4 minutes their chance of survival is greatly diminished, but if they do receive that from us or a bystander, their chances of success or a successful outcome are a lot higher,” Powers said.

Fire Station 17 in the Woodstock area is undergoing a $2.5 million renovation and Fire Station 12 on Atlantic Boulevard is being remodeled to the tune of $2.7 million.

A Marine Fire Station is being relocated on the North Bank, and another Marine will be built at NAS JAX. Powers said the station is necessary following several high-profile accidents on the Buckman Bridge.

About the Author:

Tarik anchors the 4, 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. weekday newscasts and reports with the I-TEAM.