Lubbock Fire Rescue reports faster response times, increase in gas leaks in annual report

Lubbock fire rescue
Lubbock fire rescue(Lubbock fire rescue)
Published: Mar. 30, 2022 at 6:40 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Lubbock Fire Rescue says they’re beating the national average for response times and dealing with a sharp rise in the number of gas leaks around town. They’re also seeing reports of cars hitting pedestrians, an average of once every four days.

They released their annual report this week, analyzing response times and call types, to help the department focus on priorities and spot potential problems.

The report says Lubbock firefighters responded to fewer fires at faster times. There were 100 fewer fires, which is an acceptable range of fluctuation, according to Chief Shaun Fogerson.

“It could be attributed to rain events at the right times. It could be more attention paid on fireworks patrol. It’s just cyclical trends that happen year over year, I can’t attribute it to any one specific thing,” Fogerson said.

The national average for response times is four minutes. Lubbock Fire Rescue is responding about 20 seconds quicker than that, an average of 216 to 217 seconds.

“We’re exceeding national standards,” Fogerson said.

To maintain that edge, a station is set to be built in Southeast Lubbock by 2023.

The department is also seeing a rise in gas leaks. Fogerson says that is due to the growth of fiber internet around the city. In 2016, LFR responded to nearly 200 gas leaks, which were usually caused by homeowners. Since then, it has steadily doubled to 400 in 2021.

“They bring in contractors whose job it is to put in that fiber. They use boring machines. For the most part, they’re calling to get line locates. But at some point in the process, this breaks down and they end up hitting a gas line. They’re not doing it intentionally, but it does happen,” Fogerson said.

LFR has also seen a car strike a pedestrian nearly every four days, all involving injuries. Data from 2016 to 2021 shows a steady trend, but Fogerson says 83 people hurt by a vehicle is still alarming.

“I think it’s something that needs to be studied. I think we know, two major solutions would be to slow down. And to be less distracted when driving. I think the pedestrian should also use crosswalks and controlled intersections when they cross the street, I don’t really see a huge rise. I just know that it’s it’s too many. Very solvable problem,” Fogerson said.

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