The firefighter union is urging the city to beef up it's fire crews. They say that most trucks are carrying just three people and that's not an adequate number and not up to national and international firefighting standards.
Chief Robert Rocha says that after taking a close look into the department's staffing level he feels that the public safety needs are being met.
City fire officials say that out of the 22 fire trucks in service, eight of them send a four man crew to an emergency call. Those are usually the larger trucks which call for that minimum manpower. The rest are manned by three person units. Now the fire union says most national and international firefighters organization recommend that four man crews should be on all calls.
A study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology showed that three man fire crews weren't that effective compared to the four man. On a 100% grading scale, a three man fire team graded a 33. The study showed that it takes longer to fight a fire, because there's less people pulling hose and that means water isn't on the fire as quickly.
Also, a rescue would take longer for that first three person crew on the scene. Carlos Torres, the fire union chief expressed his concerns to council.
"Three firefighters on a truck 33% effectiveness, four 66% and five 100%. If we can strive to reach at least the four on every truck and put a couple more ambulances in service that would help us," says Torres.
"Currently the Corpus Christi Fire Department maintains a minimum manning of 96 per day. Some of the fire trucks operate with three some operate with four. Optimum is four, but right now the city does an excellent job in the number of firefighters I'm allowed to have," says Chief Rocha.
The city is also 27 firefighters short of it's funded staffing level. The department is trying to get a grant to pay to hire those men and women in an effort to save tax dollars.
Chief Rocha says he should know by August if the city is able to win the $2.4 Million federal grant. If not, then the city is going to have to use general fund dollars. It may be the end of the year before we see new firefighters on the street.