KCKFD Continues Great Service

5/7/2020 12:00:00 AM

Majority of Residents Believe the Fire Department Exceeds Expectations

On Thursday, April 30 Kansas City, Kansas Fire Department (KCKFD) Chief Michael Callahan and 1st Deputy Chief Jack Andrade provided the Board of County Commissioners with an update on the Fire Department’s COVID-19 response, enhanced safety, improved readiness, fiscal responsibility, new fire stations and provided recommendations to increase personnel, improve response times, prevent tactical breaches, and improve service. 
”We want our Commissioners and our residents to see the progress we have made in stewarding our budget dollars while taking positive steps to increase staffing, improve readiness, and overall, to enhance Firefighter and public health and safety,” said Callahan. “As the leaders of the Department, our priority is to prepare and equip firefighters to better address real-world challenges. We’re doing that in a variety of ways, including the deployment of new equipment and technologies, recruiting more highly-trained personnel, optimizing staff placement and developing a long-term plan to phase out old, unsafe and outdated facilities.”
COVID-19 Response
  • The Department does not have any positive COVID-19 Firefighters, and no firefighters are currently in quarantine.
  • Due to great foresight on behalf of KCKFD Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) supplies are expected to remain sufficient for the duration of the pandemic.
Enhanced Safety
  • In furtherance of the Firefighter Cancer Reduction Initiative, the Department has purchased and deployed: two sets of bunker gear for all firefighters, two protective hoods for all firefighters, a self-contained bunker gear carry bag for all Firefighters, and ventilated bunker gear lockers for all stations
  • The Department has also installed carcinogen extracting bunker gear washers for most stations and Plymovent® diesel exhaust systems for several more.
Improved Readiness
  • The Department purchased 4 new pumpers, 4 trucks, and 2 additional ambulances.
  • The Department increased the city’s Area of Responsibility (AOR) covered by 4-minute and 8-minute response times.
  • Equipped each Firefighter with an integrated, personal thermal imaging camera.
  • Equipped all truck companies with e-DRAULIC extraction tools.
  • Increased the number of personnel and apparatus responding to every type of alarm.
  • Initiated interdepartmental training and mutual/auto aid agreements with neighboring jurisdictions.
Fiscal Responsibility
  • Fire and Emergency Medical Services comprise approximately 15.3% of funds for the 2020 approved budget at $61,004,869.
  • To ensure residents and businesses receive a return on their investment, the Department has taken demonstrable steps to steward these dollars as effectively as possible, by:
    • Reducing costs by purchasing a new pumper type (saving more than $200,000 per vehicle – a total cost savings of more than $800,000)
    • Implementing a lease/turn-in program for fire apparatus to reduce repair and maintenance costs
    • Implementing an apparatus replacement program to ensure greater compliance with the National Fire Prevention Association’s (NFPA) 1901 Directive and to reduce repair and maintenance costs
    • Implementing automated programs to streamline and efficiently manage daily staffing and overtime operations.
New Fire Stations
  • Announced planned station construction for replacement of Station 20 (Muncie)
  • Announced planned station construction for replacement of Station 4 (Bethel) to include a Traffic Division Structure for the Kansas City, Kansas Police Department
  • Provided an update on the nearly complete new Station 12 (Piper)
“Several of our fire stations were built in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s, to serve as a station for volunteer firefighters,” said Callahan. “These structures were never intended to house paid, professional firefighters. While we’ve done our best to refurbish and repair these structures, they’re just not adequate for what our firefighters need. That’s why we have developed a forward-thinking plan to replace these structures with modern facilities that will adequately house our firefighters and equipment.”
Increasing Personnel & Improving Response Times
Although the most recent county-wide survey showed that 85% of residents were satisfied or very satisfied with the Fire Department’s service, the Department remains committed to ensuring that staffing and response times exceed expectations in a fiscally responsible manner.
To this end, the new Fire Station located in Western KCK at Hutton and Leavenworth Road will provide enhanced fire and EMS services to the northwest portion of the city, which has seen significant population growth.
Preventing Tactical Breaches & Improving Service
In addition to improving Firefighter safety through staffing and training, Chief Callahan was tasked with staffing the new Station 12 by relocating an existing company.  To accomplish this goal while maintaining response times and avoiding the creation of tactical breaches within the service area, the Fire Department used a data-driven geospatial mapping analysis to identify three companies with inefficient areas of response near the eastern boundaries of Kansas City, Kansas.  Following additional review, the Chief recommended moving Pumper 15, located in the Fairfax Industrial District, to Station 12, at the April 30 Commission meeting because:
  • It is the least active station in the city with 0.78 responses per day in 2019
  • A response analysis revealed that the response territories of the two other companies considered are on average, 417% more active than the territory of Pumper 15
  • Station 5, located on Quindaro Boulevard, can provide Fire and EMS response within NFPA Standard 1710
  • It is consistent with the 2016 FACETS Study which reviewed Department operations and locations
  • It does not leave areas of the city unprotected within a 4-minute response time, as the analysis of station locations showed would result if other companies were moved
This change would meet the staffing requirement for new Station 12 while maintaining the exceptional standard of service residents and businesses are accustomed to and deserve.
“As the leaders of the Fire Department, it’s our job to determine the locations and configurations of personnel, apparatus and brick-and-mortar facilities that provides the best speed and weight of response for the entire city,” explained Callahan. “The data, combined with meticulous research and analysis, drives these decisions to help us optimize all of our resources to provide the best possible care and protection for our residents.”
The Board of County Commissioners will meet on May 7, 2020, at 5:00 PM to continue their discussion on Chief Callahan’s recommendation and the Department’s enhanced safety, improved readiness, fiscal responsibility, and new fire stations further.
To watch a video recording of the Fire Department’s presentation to the Board of County Commissioners, visit the Unified Government’s YouTube Channel or tune in on UGTV (Spectrum Channel 2 and Google Fiber Channel 141).  To download a copy of the April 30 presentation, click here.
Plymovent® is a registered trademark of Plymovent Corporation.