TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Tampa Fire Rescue Chief Barbara Tripp spoke to the community and firefighters Friday morning at the Portico Cafe in downtown Tampa, answering more than a dozen inquiries about response times and department funding, among other questions.
“My goal is how can we help with the medical calls and make sure that we respond to the community the way that we should,” Tripp said. “My goal is to add some additional resources to the community and to the fire stations to be able to accommodate those.”
Tripp said she is working multiple angles to improve response times, which has been a concern of residents and the firefighters union. She said adding more cars and engines is the first step toward helping stations — which Tripp said has been paid for — then increasing staff, followed by updating technology, like their Computer Aid Dispatch system — which has not been paid for yet.
“I believe it’s going to come because it’s well needed,” Tripp said. “Basically, with all of the data that we’ve had over the last couple years, I have showed [city council] why it’s very important for us to have this.”
The firefighters’ union was at the meeting and asked questions about adding ambulances. The union has been pushing for more stations and people, but Tripp said building more stations is not the answer right now.
“It’s not a fact that we need to build more fire stations,” Tripp said. “Let’s use the fire stations we have and bring them up to standards and put the equipment we need.”
Chief Tripp said the key to success for the department was growing with the city. She said she hired 10 people in September and plans on hiring more in December.