Union Study Recommends Changes at N.M. Fire Agencies

A study concludes that firefighters aren’t capable of responding to calls within nationally recommended time frames in certain parts of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County in New Mexico.

The Albuquerque Journal reported the International Association of Firefighters study points to limited manpower, not enough fire trucks and a lack of real-time communication between the Albuquerque and Bernalillo County fire departments as primary reasons for gaps in service.

The report recommends new ladder trucks for each of the departments, additional pumper trucks and three new battalion commander positions.

Albuquerque Fire Chief James Breen disputed parts of the union study, saying the department is meeting national safety standards but agreed with other aspects, such as a finding that fire and rescue responses would improve if the city and county merged their dispatch centers. Breen said AFD is meeting the national standards by creatively dispatching the resources it has.

National Fire Protection Association standards say ladder trucks should have at least four firefighters aboard and be able to respond to 90 percent of calls within eight minutes.