September 6, 2007
If you look at a map of response from existing stations, there's a gap on the entire Hollymead development area. That's because existing stations were not able to reach that area in five minutes, which is what drove the decision to put a new fire station into service in Hollymead.
Before the Hollymead station, crews could not meet a five-minute fire response and a four-minute E.M.S response in the area.
Albemarle County Fire Rescue Assistant Chief Bob Brown says, "When a person has a heart attack or has stopped breathing, maybe a serious trauma injury, five minutes can be the difference between life and death; in fact it is typical."
Medical response times went down when a medic unit started operating there last December. Crews expect the same for fire response now that the new fire engine is in service.
"If we can arrive quickly from the time of the alarm within that first five minutes, the fire hasn't grown to the stage where there's tremendously rapid property loss and it's not as dangerous for us to operate," Brown says.
In the past, the Hollymead area was served by surrounding squads in Earlysville, Charlottesville and Albemarle.
Albemarle County Fire Rescue Chief Dan Eggleston says, "Often times there are multiple calls, so they'll back up each other. So, for Seminole it will help provide [an] additional resource if they're tied up on another call as well as Earlysville and Stony Point."
Right now, the station is housed at the airport. This December it will move about a mile down off Airport Road.
The fire unit will serve an area about 94 square miles and be staffed around the clock. It's another resource to lower response times.
Brown says, "We've had a number of cases where we think frankly, we know the services have saved lives and we're proud of that."
Crews are cross-trained for both fire and medical emergencies.