AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Kyle Fire Department is looking for new firefighters and will soon add another fire station as growth in the city continues.
“So we have watched it (Kyle) grow from 5,000 and we are approaching 90,000 in this area,” said Mark Schultz, who moved to Kyle as a volunteer firefighter in 1999.
With more people moving to Kyle, calls to Kyle Fire have increased significantly over the years.
“We were running 500 calls when I first started volunteering,” said Schultz. “Now we are going to run about 6,800 calls this year.”
In January Kyle Fire averaged about seven and a half minutes for a response, but right now they average about 6 and a half minutes.
One resource that has helped is a system that helps fire engines get through intersections much easier.
“It is the opticom system,” said Schultz. “It controls the lights for us through our siren system.”
“The technology utilizes advanced algorithms to determine vehicle status. It sends that data to compatible intersections to make signal phasing requests, granting emergency responders the right-of-way to pass through an intersection. The system simultaneously reduces traffic flow on side streets, resulting in decreased response times, improved intersection safety, and saved lives,” the city of Kyle said.
To help even more with response times, the department is looking to add about nine positions over the next year. They will hire at least three firefighters this summer.
By adding more firefighters and a fourth station the department hopes to reduce call times even more.
“We are hoping with station 4 going in next year some time, to be able to drop that down to closer to 5 and a half minutes,” said Shultz.
Kyle Fire is part of a mutual aid agreement between a number of surrounding departments.
Schultz said they won’t have to rely as much on surrounding departments with the new stations and firefighters, but they will also be able to help out even more with the departments that call on them.
Kyle fire is adding two new engines which will allow them to go out on more calls.
The department is having a hiring event in June to hire three new positions, officials said.