PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Union members in Pasco County say the county’s fire department is not keeping up with the exploding population, and it’s impacting how quickly they can respond to emergencies.

“We have homes that are able to be fully engulfed in flames in less than 10 minutes, and we’re 15 minutes away,” said Robert Fuerst, a spokesperson for Pasco Professional Firefighters Local 4420.

In an emergency, seconds count. But according to a report compiled by the Pasco County Fire Rescue chief, it’s taking more than 10 minutes for emergency responders to arrive for 51% of emergency calls in Pasco County.

“Our response times are double what the national average says,” said Fuerst.

According to the report, the department is also experiencing an average of 20 minutes per day where no ambulances are available.

Fuerst and other union members are sounding the alarm.

“It couldn’t be more critical in Pasco County right now,” said Fuerst.

Union members spoke up at the county commission meeting this week.

“Relief is nowhere in sight. The county will continue to grow and the amount of emergency calls is increasing faster than we have all expected,” said JJ Martinez with the Pasco Professional Firefighters Local 4420.

Union members are asking officials for more funding and resources, such as additional staff and fire stations, to keep up with the county’s exploding population.

“It’s a multi-faceted problem. We have huge congestion and traffic issues currently in Pasco County, we have very large response zones for our fire stations and ambulances and we have bare minimum personnel to meet the needs of the community,” said Fuerst.