TYLER, Texas (KETK)- City of Tyler officials announced during a public meeting on Wednesday they would like to hire two new firefighters, purchase more personal protective equipment as well as a new tower truck, with the Fiscal Year 2022 budget.
Because of this, the Tyler Fire Department offered their first fire academy in 33 years. Their recruits are expected to graduate and become firefighters in fiscal year 2022.
“Well, this year, the budget does have some public safety enfaces, and for that fire department, that means new equipment the second part to our tower truck that we’re looking to purchase this fall, takes about a year to build. As well as replace some rescue equipment that we’ve had for a few years that’s coming to its end of life,” Tyler Fire Chief David Coble said.
With the addition of the two new first responders, the total number of firefighters in the city would total 160.
Officials mentioned their goal is to continue to add firefighters until they have enough staff for a new fire station.
The city also wants to buy eight sets of bunker and protective gear. This is so there are two sets of personal protective equipment for each firefighter to reduce the amount of time they wear contaminated gear. This would allow first responders to spend less time near harmful carcinogens.
“Well, studies have shown that the product of fire against your skin for long periods of time can cause cancer. So that’s one of the reasons why we don’t want them dirty gear over and over again without cleaning it,” said Chief Coble.
The city also proposed the idea to buy a new tower truck for Fire Station 10. This would cost approximately $1.4 million.
“So we’re at the end of life for a lot of that equipment because webbing and rubber and all of those things that rescue equipment is made out of deteriorates over time,” said Chief Coble.
Tower trucks have a secure platform to help firefighters rescue victims, and they can also carry large amounts of water and disperse it at an ideal angle.
“This new tower truck will also be a technical rescue truck, so you’ll have more ability in that area a quicker response to handle any accidents or any kind of technical things that happen,” said Chief Coble.
Furthermore, these additions to the fire department align with the theme of the 2022 budget, which is “Called to SERVE and protect.”
“This budget continues our tradition of responsible government spending while accounting for our residents’ needs for state-of-the-art public safety services,” said Tyler Mayor Don Warren. “It rebuilds and enhances public safety as we come out of the pandemic. It also ensures those who keep us safe have the tools to stay safe while on the job.”
In 2022, the largest amounts of general fund spending went towards the city’s fire and police departments.
$20,221,548 was designated for the Tyler Fire Department.
In 2021, the Fire Department received a Class 1 rating from the Insurance Services Office (ISO). The ISO ratings assess the readiness of local fire departments by classifying a community’s ability to suppress a fire and puts Tyler Fire in the top 2% of all rated fire departments in Texas and the top 1% of about 46,000 communities in the U.S.
This new score results in a reduction in insurance premiums for residents and businesses in Tyler.
East Texans can share their opinions about the budget during a meeting on Sept. 22 at 9 a.m. at Tyler City Hall at 212 N. Bonner Ave.
After this meeting, the budget will be voted on for adoption by the Tyler City Council.
All Tyler Council meetings can also be watched live on Channel 3 and the City of Tyler’s Facebook page.