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Emergency response times drop
Fire losses for Manteca in 2014 hit $3.3M
Crestwood fire DSC 0058
This Crestwood Avenue fire was one of 217 fires in Manteca during 2014. - photo by Bulletin file photo

Average response time to Manteca medical emergencies and fire calls were 27 seconds quicker in 2014.

The four minute and 18 second average response time citywide is credited to the first full-year of operation for the fourth fire station at Lathrop Road near Union Road in northwest Manteca that includes Del Webb and neighborhoods west of East Union High. Times have dropped almost 50 percent since that station opened.

Prior to the station opening it took an average of six minutes for fire personnel to reach emergency calls in northwest Manteca once they were dispatched. Today there is a 3.5-miute response time.

Overall response times had been increasing year-to-year before the station opened.

The city targets five-minute response times. Trying to get fire units on the scene of an emergency or fire within five minutes 90 percent of the time is a national standard. Typically a response in five minutes or less produces a better outcome whether a person has had a heart attack or if a structure has caught on fire.

The response time is included in the annual report for 2014 issued by Manteca Fire Chief Kirk Waters.

The report noted the next priority is to build a fire station at Woodward Avenue and Atherton Drive. Average response times to homes south of Woodward Park that are currently being built are outside the five-minute threshold. The fifth fire station would slash such response times by at least half as well. There are already 1,000 homes in southeast Manteca outside the five-minute response time. It is the fastest growing section of the city.

The fire station site was donated by Atherton Homes on the northeast corner of Atherton Drive and Woodward Avenue.

The next fire station is currently in the design phase with 30 percent of the drawings expected to be ready by October.

Manteca Fire handled 5,993 emergency calls in 2014 compared to 5,854 emergency calls in 2013. Last year’s calls were up 25 percent compared to 4,712 calls in 2010. There were 1,629 service calls last year as well as 535 calls for other emergencies.

Manteca had 217 fires out of 5,993 calls in 2014. It is significantly below the record year in 2004 when fire crews responded to 336 fires. Losses were up to $3.3 million in 2014 compared to $1.9 million in 2013. Last year topped the previous record year in 2011 for fire losses when $3.23 million in property losses were recorded due to fire. Fire losses are based in current dollars and not constant dollars.

Among cities in the region of roughly the same population Manteca has the lowest firefighters per capita. Manteca’s population in 2014 was 71,948. Manteca was served by 41 firefighters. Turlock with 70,364 residents had 45 firefighters, Lodi with 63,338 residents had 54 firefighters, Folsom with 73,096 residents had 55 firefighters, and West Sacramento with 49,891 residents had 62 firefighters.