By Andrew Canino
The thought of losing your home in a fire is enough to scare almost anyone. Losing so many of your belongings, risking harm to your loved ones and having to start from square one would be a massive undertaking for most people.
However, what many people don’t take into consideration during emergencies like this is those precious moments between when 911 is called and when the fire engine arrives at a location. Time is of the essence in emergencies like this, and larger amounts of property damage and even human lives are at stake. It’s this very problem that led Rolesville Fire Chief Rodney Privette to speak at the Mayor’s and Town Board of Commissioners’ meeting on February 1.
Privette used numbers in making the case for the town to consider at least one new substation location of the Rolesville Rural Fire Department.
“Our call volume was up from last year. In 2015, we had a total of about 931 calls,” he said. “Out of those 931 calls, only about 499 were from inside the town of Rolesville. The fire department call volume is up around 11% from last year in 2014.”
That call data showed approximately 400 calls that the fire station received that did not occur within the actual town limits of Rolesville.
“The reason this call data is so important is that when these 400 calls are left up to only one fire station to resolve,” Privette said, “the volume begins to affect things like response times, which are crucial in life-threatening emergencies.”
The RRFD’s current response time within the town of Rolesville is 4.50 minutes. However, if the RRFD keeps needing to spread itself across a larger area, the response time will get longer and longer for areas outside of the town limits.
“The square mileage that the RRFD is responsible for in relation to other surrounding fire districts demonstrates the need for substations,” Privette said.
According to a January 14, 2016, article by Forbes, the Raleigh area is the fifth biggest “boom town” in the United States. As the Raleigh area continues to grow, Rolesville is projected to grow as well. Having a new substation is crucial to staying ahead of this projected spike in Rolesville’s population, Privette added.
Privette emphasized how this growth is a crucial reason at least one new substation is needed in the Rolesville area to stay ahead of this projected spike in Rolesville’s population.
The Wakette fire district, which covers an area of 19.97 square miles in the Wake Forest area, has a total of five stations in its district. Conversely, the Rolesville Rural fire district covers 32.88 square miles yet only has one station in its entire district. Additionally, there are many other fire districts that cover marginally fewer square miles than the RRFD yet still have more stations than the Rolesville Rural fire district; those include Morrisville Rural, Ten-Ten and the Wake-New Hope fire districts.
Privette proposed three possible locations for substations in the Rolesville Rural Fire District: one on Rolesville Road, another on Averette Road and a third substation Forestville Road. None of the substations would replace the central station on Young Street in downtown Rolesville.