A look into Richland Fire Department's response time - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

A look into Richland Fire Department's response time

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RICHLAND, WA - The Richland Fire Department had a busy 2016 with a record breaking nearly 6,500 service calls.

Reporter Mackenzie Allen spoke with fire officials about what that means for the growing Richland community.

Of those calls, more than 4,800 were for EMS and an additional 1,700 were for fires. It's an increase of 3% compared to last year, and the department has been seeing increases every year for a while now.

But in spite of the increases, Captain Adam Hardgrove said his crews aren't slowing down. In fact, they're able to get out of the station within a minute and to the majority of scenes within four minutes of getting a call.

But it's when there are multiple calls out at once that things can start to slow down a bit.

"Quite often, what we call the north end of Richland, Station 3 and Station 1, if we're on a call, Station 1 - which is about 4 or 5 miles south of us - will handle the next call in our area," said Cpt. Hardgrove. "So there could be a lag time that way."

And what's one thing you can do to help the department respond as quickly as possible?

Make sure that if you're calling 911, it's for an actual emergency.

They will respond to every call they get, but Cpt. Hardgrove says people frequently call for issues that might be better handled with a trip to a primary care doctor rather than the ER. In addition to saving them time, it could save you a big hospital bill.

We're told that the fire department is already talking with the City of Richland about the potential for a new firehouse in order to keep up with the call volume and keep response times as quick as possible.