There was admittedly a lot on the table for 2019. Especially for our Fire & Rescue services. Call volumes were high, staffing was somewhat lacking, and the department had still remained behind in growth with development of the city. A challenge had presented itself, and it wasn’t going to go unnoticed.
In April of 2015, Lincoln approved a quarter-cent sales tax, in order to help fund two modernization projects for our public safety departments- Construct new fire stations, and upgrade our radio system. This sales tax increase came with controversy, but little did anyone know, it cleared a path for something big.
By the beginning of 2019, construction was already underway for a new Station 15, the first new company since 1996. At the same time, a replacement Station 10 was being built, and construction on a replacement Station 12 was in it’s early phases.
Up until June, things were fairly quiet. Then the chain of change began. LFR announced three new Battalion Chiefs who would serve on a new frontline Battalion company, known as Battalion 2. These chiefs would be located out of Station 15.
By mid-July, Station 10’s rebuild was complete. Shortly after, the department reassigned Medic 1 to the station, where it became Medic 10. LFR says data showed a large gap in coverage around Station 10’s area. The change was made to better serve that coverage gap.
By mid-August, construction on the new Station 15 had also been completed, but a few finishing touches had to be applied. Lincoln Police’s Southeast Team has been using their side of the joint-station for about three months at the time.
As September approached, Chiefs from the new Battalion 2 were operating out of the station. Capping the month off, LFR put their part of the new radio system in service.
The month of October began, and word of a new Engine 15 in-service date spread. An exclusive picture of the engine itself was released to LLCS. Mid-month approached, and three brand new identical Battalion Chief vehicles were completed. One for Battalion 1, one for Battalion 2, and a Fleet reserve. Shortly after, Halloween arrived and Engine 15 entered service.
November cruised by, and here we are in December. Just this week, LFR has announced 7 new fire engine replacements will be put into service through the month. A Christmas present, you could say.
Some time in 2020, LFR will complete a new Station 16, near 98th & O Streets. There will for sure be an engine at the station, but any other details remain amiss.
2019 has hosted an immense amount of progress, but there is plenty more to be had. All in all, this opens the opportunity window up wider than it’s ever been, and I am excited to see how 2020 plays out.
A QUICK WRITER’S NOTE
I’d like to personally thank each and every one of you who follows LLCS. Without your support, this wouldn’t be possible.