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New fire station opening

3,000 homes come within 5-minute response Wednesday

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POSTED September 6, 2013 1:01 a.m.

Manteca was booming in 1980.
The city built a fire station at 399 West Louise Avenue to cover new neighborhoods along the Louise corridor.
The station sat empty, though, when the hammers finally fell silent with the project’s completion.
Despite the booming economy, Manteca couldn’t afford to staff the fire station. It would be a good year before the station was activated. It was the same time when the city’s general fund reserves dwindled down to $1,800 and Manteca police were forced to use CHP cars delivered to them with 100,000 plus miles as their “new” patrol cars.
Work is now finishing up on the city’s fourth fire station at Madison Grove Drive and West Lathrop Road. This coming Wednesday, Sept. 11, at 9:30 a.m. not only will a public dedication and flag raising take place at the $3.5 million facility, but crews will also start staffing the station.
And it’s being done while Manteca is struggling to emerge from the throes of The Great Recession.
That’s because the city since the 1990s has embarked on a conservative fiscal management program to avoid a repeat of the 1980s.
“It is truly amazing to think that as many cities in California have resorted to closing fire stations during this difficult economy, the City of Manteca is in a position to construct and open a new fire station,” Fire Chief Kirk Waters said. “On that note, as the Fire Chief I would like to publicly thank our Mayor, City Council, and City Manager for making public safety a priority and keeping our city in a financial situation to make this fire station a reality.” 
A fire station typically requires nine firefighters to man it 24/7 at a cost of over $1 million annually once salary, benefits, and worker’s compensation costs are factored into the equation.
Manteca will shoulder only $125,000 a year in additional costs for one additional firefighter plus $40,000 a year in operational costs for the station for things such as electricity, phone service, and other reoccurring costs.
Fifty percent of the time the new station will have a full-manned engine with three firefighters and 50 percent of the time we will have a two-man rescue squad.
Of the 5,443 calls Manteca Fire handled last year, 3,589 were medical emergencies while only 241 were actual fires. That means most of the calls likely to happen could be reached with five minutes by the two-man rescue squad.
The opening of station on Wednesday will bring 3,000 homes in northwest Manteca within the targeted five-minute response time. There were over 500 emergency calls in the area that firefighters arrived at outside the five-minute target.
The five-minute response time is a mantra for those who make a living putting out fires and responding to heart attacks.
Having firefighters and equipment on the scene of a fire or medical emergency within five minutes is essential for two reasons:
•The chance of surviving a heart attack or major trauma starts dropping off rapidly after five minutes.
•”Flash over” when fires literally erupt occur within five minutes of the first visible flame.
It sounds like a lot of time, but it really isn’t. The first two and a half minutes are consumed by a call being placed, equipment dispatching and the engine actually rolling out of a fire station.
That leaves 180 seconds for firefighters to reach a structure fire or a major medical emergency.
The last fire station to be completed was the headquarters facility at 1154 South Union that opened in 2002. It replaced the station built in 1977 at 740 W. Center St.  Fire Station No. 1 at 290 South Powers was built in 1966.

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