Public Health and Safety Special Committee Meeting Minutes

 April 18, 2017

Immediately after the Regular Committee Meeting


Topic: Fire Stations


Location: City Council Chamber, 1st floor, City Hall – St. James Building, 117 West Duval Street


Attendance:   Council Members: Sam Newby (Chair), Anna Lopez Brosche, Katrina Brown, Aaron Bowman, Doyle Carter, Tommy Hazouri, Joyce Morgan


Also: Paige Johnston – Office of General Counsel; Kim Taylor – Council Auditor’s Office; Jordan Elsbury – Mayor’s Office; Philip Zamarron – Legislative Services Division; Chiquita Moore – ECA AL 5; Terrance Freeman – ECA Dist. 3; Haleigh Hutchinson – ECA AL 3; Yvonne Mitchell – Research Division


Meeting Convened: 9:19 a.m.


Chairman Newby called the meeting to order.


Chief Wilson explained that Jacksonville has 53 fire districts with at least one fire engine in each district. Approximately 41 stations have rescues, ladders or tanker units. In January, a new fire engine and rescue unit was added to Station 28 located at Southside Boulevard and Hogan Road due to the strain on response capabilities for the growing area. Therefore, the area was divided into two parts creating a new fire station (FS 72) which serves the eastside of Southside Boulevard.  Station 28 continues to service the westside of Southside Boulevard. A year and a half ago, three (3) new rescues were added as overtime units to assist with the overwhelming call volumes in the following areas:  McDuff Avenue & Highway 17, Duval Street & Jefferson Street, and Baymeadows Road & Western Way. The overtime units have significantly improved the response times from 18 minutes. JFRD’s call volume is ranked 9th busiest EMS in the country. Chief Wilson estimates that the call volume for the fiscal year will increase by 18,500 calls based on first quarter data.


The committee reviewed maps depicting various response times (before and after midnight) of the first arriving unit. Chief Wilson discussed competing interests which include: 1) Insurance Service Office (ISO) ratings; 2) response times; and 3) 2016 incidents. The ISO rating reflects the community's local fire protection for property insurance rating purposes. Additional topics discussed were the construction of new Fire Station 73 and the five-year Comprehensive Improvement Plan (CIP). Station 73 fixes current ISO 10 issues which will provide additional coverage to FS 56 Cecil Commerce. The next CIP review is scheduled for May 9th to focus on the Station 72.


There was extensive dialogue related to personnel, recruitment and operating costs.  In response to an inquiry by Council Member K. Brown, Chief Wilson stated that 148 additional staff would increase the department’s relief level and minimize the excess in overtime.  The construction cost of a new station is approximately $2.4 million with a reoccurring cost of $2.5 million. Chief Wilson agreed submit a comparison sheet of firefighter salaries in various cities along with an analysis to show JFRD’s estimated net cost to include a reference to the 148 potential personnel. Council Member K. Brown requested a status report on the diversity of entire department, a copy of the marketing plan, and details on the uncertified class selection process.


JFRD will participate in the community walks this upcoming year. Chief Wilson plans to have two to three districts scheduled on a particular Saturday for greater impact.



Meeting Adjourned: 10:17 a.m.


Minutes: Yvonne P. Mitchell, Council Research

   04.20.17   Posted 4:30 p.m.


Tapes: PHS agenda meeting– LSD



Materials: PHS Committee Meeting Handouts




The written minutes for this meeting are an overview of the discussion. For verbatim comments, the video version is accessible through the PHS webpage or it may be retrieved from the Office of Legislative Services.