OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Firefighters and paramedics know time matters most when someone is in an emergency situation. And in Overland Park, Kansas, the fire chief’s goal is to have a firefighter within a four-minute drive of every address.
As the city expands, the fire department needs a new station to achieve that four-minute goal. It has selected a piece of property on the campus of Blue Valley Southwest High School near 179th Street and Quivira Road as the site of a new station.
“We're looking to be in a place where, quite honestly, we need to have the geography covered. We need to have the geography covered not only from a fire response, but we look to put a paramedic on the fire truck as well to help with our Advanced Life Support,” said Fire Chief Bryan Dehner.
He said 80 percent of the calls the department receives are medical in nature.
The city expects the frequency of emergency calls in the southern part of the town to increase as more people move south.
The department will host a public meeting to discuss the plan Thursday at Aubry Bend Middle School, 12501 W. 175th St., from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
The new station will cost about $5 million and should open in 2022.
Since the proposed site of the new station is on the campus of a Blue Valley high school, the fire department and school district are exploring the possibility of creating a type of fire sciences academy where high school students learn what it takes to be a firefighter and can work toward a professional certification.
The fire department will have to hire six new employees and re-position another nine to fully staff the new station.