Bill Barnhart doesn’t have any complaints about the response times of the Manteca Fire Department.
Even though engines that respond to medical emergencies in his Del Webb neighborhood are dispatched from clear-across Manteca, Barnhart said that they almost always arrive ahead of ambulances and provide exemplary care to the residents they serve.
But they’ll be showing up a lot sooner now.
Manteca’s dignitaries and a host of Del Web residents gathered Wednesday morning at the city’s newest fire station on Lathrop Road. A ribbon cutting ceremony put it into service the station that brought an entire section of Manteca into the critical five-minute response window targeted by emergency service personnel.
The standard, which has been affirmed by the Manteca City Council as a targeted goal for all residents, is used as a litmus test because damage caused after a cardiac incident starts to become permanent after five minutes.
“They’ve always been great – been here fast and been courteous,” Barnhart said. “It’s important to our neighborhood of active seniors that they have an EMT or a paramedic that rolls out on every call and that can be life-saving – it’s a very important day for our community here and we’re glad that they’re now a part of our family.”
Over the course of the last year Manteca Fire Marshal Lantz Rey has overseen nearly every step of the planning and construction of the city’s fourth fire station. It is Manteca’s first since it completed the station on Union Road nearly a decade ago.
Working hand-in-hand with Deide Construction Rey was able to ensure that the work finished four months ahead of schedule. The station wasn’t supposed to be turned over to the City of Manteca until January.
“It’s a relief that it’s done now and everything is wrapped up,” Rey said. “And to see the community response to it, every second of work was worth it. The outpouring of support was overwhelming – I’m speechless at the response that I saw today.
“There were a lot of little things that we had to get done to make sure that it was ready, but everything worked out.”
Traditionally it would take nine full-time firefighters to staff a new station. But Manteca’s current fiscal situation won’t allow for that. When City Manager Karen McLaughlin sat down with Fire Chief Kirk Waters to figure the best way to proceed, she left it up to him to determine how to creatively make a new first station feasible.
And he delivered.
With the backing of the city council, Waters came up with a plan that will only require one additional full-time firefighter to bring the station on-line. A staff of three will man an engine during certain times, and the facility will then be essentially “browned out” down to a two-man crew that will respond to calls in the department’s rescue unit.
“It was a creative way to reallocate resources and allow for the station to open sooner – traditionally you’re looking for three, 3-man crews and hiring that many people would have taken years in this current economy,” McLaughlin said. “This provided us some options, and I think the flexibility that Kirk proposed really made this something workable.”