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4th station will reduce response time for help

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POSTED December 26, 2012 12:41 a.m.

Manteca’s firefighters could be making major strides toward reducing brain damage and other complications in medical emergencies by the time 2013 draws to an end.

That’s because the city plans to open its fourth fire station on Lathrop Road west of Union Road on Sept. 11, 2013.

The station - when completed - will bring 3,000 homes in northwest Manteca within the targeted five-minute response time. There were over 500 emergency calls during 2011 in the area that firefighters arrived at outside the five-minute target. Overall, 79 percent of the calls the department handled last year were within the five-minute response target.

The five-minute constraint is significant for two reasons:

• Irreversible brain damage begins within five minutes for victims of heart attacks.

• House fires double in size every 60 seconds. After five minutes the contents in rooms will spontaneously combust, creating a deadly condition for firefighters known as “flashover.”

Manteca plans to open the station by shuffling current personnel staffing the 100-foot aerial platform engine that is one of two engines housed at the main station on Union Road. That will allow the required three-man staffing for a fire engine 50 percent of the time at the new station. The other half the station will have the two-man rescue quad assigned to it.

Since 3,859 medical emergencies represent the bulk of the 5,443 calls that Manteca Fire handled in 2011 the strategy reflects an effective deployment of resources. Currently the additional personnel are at the Union Road Station where two engines are manned most of the time. There were only 241 actual fires in 2011.

The staffing strategy coupled with a no-interest loan of $165,000 a year from the public safety endowment fund established by developers means the city will not have to tap the stressed general fund to cover operating costs at the station once it opens.

Site work is now underway on the $3.2 million station. The council is fronting $1.3 million in the form of a no-interest loan from the public safety endowment fund to help cover construction costs not covered by existing funds in the fire facilities fee account hat is populated by the collection of growth fees.

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