A Jacksonville Fire & Rescue truck parks at a recent city event on Jacksonville's Northside.A Jacksonville Fire & Rescue truck parks at a recent city event on Jacksonville's Northside.
A Jacksonville Fire & Rescue truck parks at a recent city event on Jacksonville's Northside l Dan Scanlan, WJCT News 89.9

#AskJAXTDY l Why are firetrucks dispatched when there’s no apparent fire risk?

Published on February 1, 2024 at 11:56 am

Q. A Jacksonville Today reader Julie B. wants to know why firetrucks are sent to calls when there doesn’t seem to be a fire.

“Why is a firetruck dispatched along with rescue when there is no apparent fire risk? … I’ve wondered if it’s unnecessary use of personnel and resources.”

A. The Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department says a firetruck arrives whenever an ambulance is called because all the people on a firetruck are trained EMTs or paramedics, so they can provide the same aid.

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Capt. Eric Prosswimmer says first responders may not have all the information available when sent on a call. It’s better to have the extra resources on scene than it would be to need them and have to wait, he says.

“I think it’s for the best for the citizens of the city. And when you’re in an emergency situation, whether it be a car accident, whether you’re sick, whether you’re having a heart attack or your family member is having a heart attack, you want us there as fast as possible and able to do our job,” Prosswimmer says.

Sometimes a rescue unit may call off another responding vehicle, for example, if the responding unit is familiar with a person or location.

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Duval County recorded more than 177,000 calls for service in 2023. Firetrucks would have been dispatched on all of them, but the department does not track how many times the trucks were called off.

Prosswimmer says the city doesn’t track how much it costs the city to respond to an emergency call, and there are many variables that would make calculating the cost difficult.

Have a question you’d like the Jacksonville Today team to look into? Email news@jaxtoday.org with #AskJAXTDY in the subject line, and you might see your answer soon.

author image Reporter, WJCT News 89.9 email Steven Ponson has six years of experience covering news in Jacksonville and Northeast Florida. Prior to arriving on the First Coast, Steven also worked in radio in Orlando. He attended the University of Central Florida where he earned a degree in radio and television. Steven has been a reporter, producer, anchor and board operator. Outside of work, Steven loves to watch sports, cook delicious cajun food (as any good Louisiana native does) and spend time outdoors.

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