Report says Rio Rancho lags in fire response times

RIO RANCHO, N.M. (KRQE) – The Rio Rancho Fire Rescue Department needs more staff to help cut down on response times. That’s according to a new report by an independent consultant.

The department has had concerns about staffing for a while and is now in the progress of discussing changes.

The report about this fire department says the staff does the best they can at their jobs. The issue is that they are very busy, and spread thin.

The consultant looked at 30,000 incidents between January 2010 to December 2013.

They found that response times are lower than they should be – minutes longer than the recommended response time of up to seven minutes.

The reason for the slower response times is because there are six stations in Rio Rancho, and often crews travel out of their home district to handle calls.

For example, there are only two stations in the south district – and officials say 70 percent of calls are from there.

Firefighters say they have been able to respond to all calls, but they would like to improve the response time.

The report recommends getting an extra ambulance at station 1 on Southern Blvd, and putting two people on overtime every day during the week for six months.

“If we’re able to get someone in station 1 for the peak demand areas, I believe it will help us with overall response time to other areas, and it’ll be a good thing for the city,” said Michael Meek. Fire Chief.

The fire chief says that’s an estimated cost of $90,000 for the city.

If that plan works, the station would hire four more people and that would cost about $240,000.

The city will discuss the budget at the end of May and decide whether to try overtime or hire more firefighters.

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