Some ask Springfield fire to spend traffic control software money on new fire station
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WRSP) —
The Springfield Fire Department faces emergencies every day like the fire just Wednesday that knocked down a home on Ninth Street.
Fire officials want to cut response time with devices that can control traffic lights during emergencies.
The fire board said they are thinking it over and will meet in the next few weeks, most likely in January.
The software system would link the devices to 16 intersections and turn traffic signals green on demand.
But some are asking the fire department why they don’t spend the money on building a brand-new fire station?
The goal behind the software the fire department hopes for saving families.
"It's a solution for the future of Springfield,” said the Fire Chief Barry Helmerichs.
The device would turn traffic signals green on command as it would link to the GPS and turn signals for four fire trucks, during an emergency in southwest Springfield.
The fire chief said this idea butts-heads with some saying Springfield fire should build a new station.
"It would be great; I would love for that if we could support it,” said Chief Helmerichs. “It would be fantastic; no chief would want fewer people, they would always want more people. So, we could provide a better service of course."
A new station would cost $4-5 million as well as a half million for and that doesn't include yearly labor costs.
"But we are in a tough economic climate right now,” said Helmerichs. “And this is not as good a remedy, but it's a good remedy."
Traffic control is the next best option, said one fire captain Andy Sandhaas.
It would cost $105,000, which is a bill city council hopes to split with the fire board.
"We've had fatal fires where you know,” said Captain Sandhaas. “Time may have maybe given us an extra few minutes to get in there and rescue a person."
Residents in southwest Springfield say it's the right thing to do.
"I think that if they could get to us faster,” said Katrina Caldwell, a southwest Springfield resident. “It would save our lives better, or save the house, because that way they come to our house faster, save the house or save the person."
It would involve 16 intersections, like Wabash and Veterans.
Chief Helmerichs said the system would cut response times from 7.24 minutes to about four.
"I would hope that we would start it,” said Chief Helmerichs. “And continue on a yearly basis and try to budget it every year to do different pieces of our community."
The fire department hopes to increase the number of intersections covered by this software each year.
They have a 2024 plan put together that will cost about $1.6 million.
Some intersections include:
1. S. Koke Mill Rd. & Wabash Ave.
2. Robbins Rd. & Wabash Ave.
3. W. White Oaks Rd. Wabash Ave.
4. S. Veterans Pkwy & Wabash Ave.
5. Wabash Ave. & White Oaks Mall
6. Wabash Ave. Drawbridge Rd.
7. Veterans Pkway & SW Plaza Dr.
8. Veterans Pkway & Linbergh Blvd.
9. Veterans Pkway & WB, I 72 Ramp