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Mayor Wants Another New Study On Houston Fire Department

The study the city just received doesn’t include any suggestions about how to cut costs.


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Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner says he wants member of his staff involved in another study about the Houston Fire Department.
Al Ortiz
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner says he wants member of his staff involved in another study about the Houston Fire Department.

Houston City Council members are reviewing a new study that says the Houston Fire Department takes too long to respond to fires and other emergencies, but Mayor Sylvester Turner says he is not satisfied with the study’s findings in terms of funding options for HFD and will order another study.

Phoenix-based Facets Consulting got the green light for the study in 2015, when Annise Parker was still mayor.

The study paints a picture of a fire department that is extremely busy, with more than 300,000 emergency incidents just last year. It also notes that 90 percent of the time HFD exceeds the four-minute response goal set by the National Fire Protection Association.

Turner says he agrees with the study when it points out the fire department needs more money, but he's frustrated there are no suggestions in the report on ways to cut costs.

"We need to take a more definitive look on what additional efficiency measures we can implement, what additional cost saving measures we may need to implement and that’s going to require further review and further evaluation," Turner said at the customary press conference held after the council meeting.

Turner wants another study, one that he says should involve his own staff.

Alvin White, president of the Houston Professional Firefighters Association, says the mayor shouldn't just dismiss the study.

"I can assure you that had this report been delivered to the city with savings, to where the department had to make other cuts, that the mayor and council would have been touting this report," White notes.

White says the HFD can't afford any more budget cuts and that the three new fire stations the study recommends are vital.

Turner says he wants to hear more about sources for additional funding and potential cost saving measures by the end of March.

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