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Study reveals Houston FD issues with resource allocation

Rice University conducted an in-depth analysis of 911 calls, determining fire trucks were responding to 25% of calls where an ambulance was required

By News Staff

HOUSTON — Rice University graduate students finalized a study on Houston Fire Department resources, revealing that fire trucks were responding to 25% of calls where an ambulance was required.

HFD officials requested the study be conducted in order to allocate resources more efficiently, KHOU 11 reported. Graduate students conducted an in-depth analysis of 911 calls going back several years and presented their findings to the Houston City Council.

The study found that in 2018, out of the 30,000 calls the department received, only 12% involved fires, while a majority were EMS-related. However, a fire truck was dispatched to more than 25% of medical calls due to resources not being available.

“It’s not the best use of resources to be sending an apparatus to what might be a minor medical call,” HFD Chief Samuel Pena said.

EMS calls have increased over the last few years, and researchers found 911 calls peaked between 2:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. The study also found that the Houston downtown area had the largest call volume.

Council members suggested that a private EMS agency would save the department money.

“When you’re talking about laying off 3,000 to 4,000 firefighters that are trained on EMS to save money, the way we’re spending money and wasting money?” Houston City Councilman Dwight Boykins said.