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Friday, September 30, 2016

Changes Coming to CFD?

     After frequently offering suggestions on how Columbus Fire could potentially tweak and improve its service delivery model, it just wouldn't be right if I didn't take a moment to comment on the recently released "potential ladder company moves". This is a good discussion and I am glad to see it happening. This is especially true given that I helped write a CFD ladder company study in 1997. Some of that study's recomendations are being mentioned in the current report.
     However, Columbus is a much different city today than it was then. People are moving downtown in droves, the short north and arena districts are many times more populated with almost constant new construction. In addition, the development in the outer edges of Columbus has slowed just a bit. Gone are the days of massive large annexations, although what does exist and what is being proposed in areas like the northeast side (Hamilton Rd &. 161); the Southeast Side (Gender and Lehman) and the far west side (Galloway Road) pose serious challenges to ensure proper fire protection. 
     The bottom line is that CFD can not "rob peter to pay paul" when it comes to Fire Protection. With the exception of a couple of medic units, most companies are where they need to be given the current fire facility locations. 
    This is most apparent in the talk about moving L1 to 7s; L13 to 19s; and L24 to 6s. Not only would that take one of two Ladders out of the ever more densely constructed downtown and short north, it would creat a massive ladder service hole centered on one of the busiest fire activity sections of the city. A fire at Hudson St and Cleveland Avenues for example would have a significant delay for Ladder Service. As would the surrounding areas. 
     An alternative would be:
     Move Ladder-1 to 7 (not ideal)
     Move Ladder-13 to 16
     Move Ladder-24 to 6
     Move Ladder-27 to 11

     Note, of all the potential Ladder moves, moving Ladder 27 to 11s is by far the most benefical for the city, IF Ladder-34 is not going to return. In fact, if not a single other move were made (which may be the best move) moving the Ladder from 27s to 11 would be worth considering. This puts the ladder in the middle of the service area, allows it to cover 34s area (somewhat) and the Olentangy River Road area. 

     Turning to the Northeast Side. With the massive development coming to Hamilton and 161, the process of building Station 36 should begin as soon as possible. This station, when completed, should have a Ladder. There is no other way around it.

     On the east side, the Ladder at 5 should stay at 5. It is in an excellent location for fire protection and to provide rescue services on 270/70/ and east broad street. Putting this ladder on Waggoner Road would, in my opinion, be a waste. The city can not grow further east or much to the north. Most of a Ladder-35s runs would be back towards 5s- might as well leave it in the best position. 

     More suggestions will follow, but I would encourage CFD folks to at least think about whats offerered here. Either way, its good to see CFD starting to address the challenges of a city that is growing faster than its fire and ems service. 

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