High rise

Plano Fire-Rescue crews hold the hose during a One Legacy West emergency preparedness training, Wednesday night. 

Plano Fire-Rescue’s annual report shows an overall increase in emergency medical calls around the city and a decrease in response time.

According to the report, Fire-Rescue incidents around the city have increased by 37 percent in the last decade.

Fire Chief Sam Greif said most EMS calls are for people over the age of 55.

“We're getting older and we have health problems,” Greif said of aging Plano residents.

Greif said people who may have more medical needs are moving to the city.

“What you're seeing is that the Boomer Generation is moving here. It makes sense if you think about it – we have world-class health facilities,” Greif said.

The report, based on the department’s performance in 2019, shows 18,438 EMS/Rescue calls. The number of calls listed in the report increased by 3.9 percent from 2018.

The number of fires around the city decreased by a total of 53 from 2018 to 2019. But Greif said the department is training firefighters and medics for the possibility of incidents in new high-rise structures.

“We keep going vertical,” Greif said. "That's a whole other animal when it comes to how you fight fire in a vertical building versus how you would do it a normal house fire."

“For example, your neighbor's house catches on fire, you walk out and look at the fire trucks rolling out to see what the excitement is about, but you're really not involved. If you're on the 17th floor and the fire is on the 16th floor, welcome to the party, you're involved,” he added.

Fire incidents and frequency around the city were not limited to specific neighborhoods. A map in the department’s report shows incidents spanned across the city.

"Fires, they're indiscriminate; they don't know zip codes, they don't know rich or poor, they're just all over the place,” Greif said.

The total operating budget for 2019 was $65.4 million spanning across 13 stations.

As of 2019, Fire-Rescue has been building a new training center designed to help the department adapt to Plano’s changing landscape and demographics.

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