President of the San Antonio Firefighters Association Chris Steele points to the new ergonomic chairs at the new Public Safety Headquarters but says that money should have been spent on more firefighters and fire trucks instead.
"Response times in San Antonio are unacceptable. We average nearly 8 minutes while the national standard is no more than
6 minutes from the time you get the 9-1-1 call."
The San Antonio Fire Department responds that they've added 167 firefighters positions, 7 EMS units
4 fire companies and more. But Steele says the city's explosive growth requires more.
Steele backs up his assertions, pointing to the NFPA 1710 which is a national response time standard that requires an emergency response time of within 6 minutes 90% of the time.
The SAFD says however that that standard is not even met by Houston or Dallas or even Miami.
Steele says not meeting NFPA means lives cut short.
"And the standard is based on the fact that you will have brain damage without oxygen within 4 to 6 minutes and you are irreversible after 8 minutes."
"A heart attack causes irreversible brain damage after 6 minutes without oxygen."
The SAFD reports that in 2010 the average response time was about 9 and a half minutes but that number is expected to improve to 7 minutes
38 seconds in 2013.