Fire department director Gina Sweat
The Memphis Fire Department director told a Memphis City Council Committee Tuesday that as Downtown Memphis continues to grow, the department needs to make adjustments to it's services in order to provide better coverage for the area.
Director Gina Sweat said three of the current critical needs of the department include relocating a downtown station, combining two North Memphis stations, and expanding another in Whitehaven.
Fire station 5, which also serves as the fire department administration building, currently located on Front in a tourist and development zone, Sweat said, needs to be relocated to Adams and Thomas where the department will have better access to Downtown and the Medical District.
Additionally, Sweat said station 1 located on Jackson and station 5 on Thomas should be combined into a new location near Chelsea and Third. She said this will help the department provide more efficient fire and EMS coverage for North Memphis, Downtown, and Harbor Town, as well as growing areas like the Wolf River Harbor area, the Pinch district, Uptown, and the St. Jude campus.
She adds that combining the two stations will also lead to less upkeep for the city and less dollars spent.
The third critical need is the expansion of station 43 on Holmes, which Sweat said was build before 1970 and is currently in poor condition.
She proposes that this station be rebuilt at its current location with the addition of a 911 back-up center, which will be used as a training facility daily and a 911 call center during times of emergency.
"If we invite these people to our city and we build up our downtown, it's my responsibility to make sure that they are safe and that we can provide EMS coverage that's adequate to take care of the city," Sweat said.