Response times will be cut nearly in half when Southlake opens the North DPS Training Facility in December, according to Deputy Fire Chief Wade Carroll.The quicker response, from 6 to 9 minutes to 4 to 5 minutes, also could mean a 10 percent decrease in insurance rates for Southlake’s 27,000 residents, Carroll said.The Insurance Services Office, an independent rating organization, grades cities from 1 to 10 (lower is better) based on factors like the strength of their fire departments and water supply. Depending on the insurance company, the city's ISO ranking may be used to determine how much it costs to insure a building.Southlake has a 4 now, but when the North DPS opens, “we should be rated at a 2,” Carroll said.Candidates are being interviewed to fill 12 new firefighting positions at the $16.6 million Department of Public Safety complex, located at White Chapel and Dove roads. The facility will combine a fire station and a training facility for fire and police departments, Carroll said.The project, which began in June, is being funded by the 1/2-cent Crime Control and Prevention District sales tax fund. The one-story main building will include classrooms. A separate building will house an underground firing range. A four-story training tower could be added later.The department recently added six men who hold dual firefighter/paramedic certifications.“They have been on the job and gaining additional training for about six weeks now,” said Kim Leach, department spokeswoman.The city’s 51 firefighters are divided over three, 24-hour shifts, Carroll said. They include 30 who also are paramedics and three EMTs, nine shift lieutenants who act as company officers and nine engineers who are certified apparatus operators.The DPS Headquarters, located at 600 State St., is a double-company station that houses a truck with a 100-foot ladder and platform, an engine with a 1,750-gallon-per-minute pump and a Mobile Intensive Care Unit ambulance.The DPS West station, 2100 W. Southlake Blvd., houses an engine with a 1,750-gallon-per-minute pump and an MICU ambulance. An identical engine will be stationed at DPS North.Colleyville, with a population of 23,000 and an ISO ranking of 4, has three fire stations staffed by 33 firefighters, one fire marshal and one civilian administrative assistant, said Fire Chief Clif Nelson.The department has three staffed fire trucks and another in reserve, a pair of ambulances an off-road mini-pumper.Five stations help protect Grapevine’s 47,000 residents, said Deputy Chief/Fire Marshal Randie Frisinger. There are 90 firefighters, eight on-duty trucks and five reserve trucks (including ambulances). There also are four specialized apparatus, such as a fire boat.
Terry Evans, 817-390-7620 Twitter: @fwstevans