Is Rochester’s Fire Department Ready For The Future?
Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - There is no other city in the country with a comparable population that has a fire department as small as Rochester’s.
That’s what the Rochester Fire Dept. says it discovered while working on its long-range strategic plan.
The department will present the plan to the City Council Monday.
The plan says a 2017 report from the National Fire Protection Association found Midwest cities with populations of 100,000-249,000 have a median of 1.42 firefighters per 1,000 population. The same report noted cities with 25,000-49,999 populations have a median of .91 firefighters per 1,000 population. The current Rochester Fire Department ratio is .82 firefighters per 1,000 population. Rochester has seen its population grow by 50,000 since 1967, but RFD has only added one company in that same time.
The plan says under current operations, RFD can only handle one major incident at a time. It also notes RFD now offers many more core services than it did for during much of the 20th Century.
The RFD plan covers the 10 year period through 2030 but includes projections for an additional 10 years. The plan says the real impact on the department will come from the projected increase of the population by 50,000 people through 2040.
The plan says “RFD is at a tipping point” and that it must begin preparing for demands expected by 2030 now. Those preparations will likely include a request for increased staffing.
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