PTC Council approves service goals, admin changes for fire department

Peachtree City Fire Chief Joe O'Conor, left, explains the new goals and departmental changes that were ultimately approved by council Thursday night as City Attorney Ted Meeker (R) listens. Photo/John Munford.

The Peachtree City Fire Department has a new set of goals to shoot for in terms of response times.

The new goals, along with changes to various ranks among several employees, were approved unanimously by the Peachtree City Council Thursday night.

The response time goal starts with a 90-second dispatch time, which starts from the moment dispatchers at the Fayette County 911 center answer the call to the time it’s broadcast to a fire unit for response, explained Fire Chief Joe O’Conor. Often that time is 60 seconds or less, but more complex calls can take a bit longer, he added.

From that point on, the next goal is to have units rolling to the scene in the next 90 seconds, O’Conor said. And the next goal is to have the first units on the scene within the following four minutes, and have a full compliment of necessary staff on the scene by the end of four additional minutes’ time, the chief said.

For a residential structure fire that means having approximately 15 people on the scene, and for an EMS medical emergency it’s a matter of having an advanced life support ambulance and necessary support vehicles, O’Conor said.

Another change authorized by council was the switching of fire captains to a sergeant rank and changing battalion commanders to battalion chiefs, all part of a move to be organized just like other fire departments in the area. Those changes and the goal changes were recommended by a lengthy report prepared by Matrix Consulting Group.

The rank changes will not negatively affect anyone’s pay, O’Conor added.

O’Conor also discussed the idea of looking into international accreditation for the fire department, much like the police department has. There will be a cost involved, and O’Conor said he wanted to study the issue further before deciding that’s the way to go. O’Conor said he wants to talk to leadership at departments that are accredited to see if there is enough bang for the city’s buck.

O’Conor said he would be ready to address the accreditation issue during the city’s upcoming budget process, which typically begins in June.

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