GERMANTOWN -- A big change starts this week for the Germantown Fire Department -- and that change cuts response time in half. That goes for both fire calls and medical calls.
A fire doubles in size every two minutes. And it takes less than five minutes for irreversible damage to a patient in a medical emergency. But now, Germantown firefighters may be able to respond quicker.
"There is always going to be someone on duty at a Germantown Fire Station -- 24 hours a day, 7 days a week," said Germantown Fire Chief Gary Weiss.
Until this week, the Germantown Fire Department relied on paid on-call firefighters between the hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.
"Forty percent of our calls happen after 6 p.m. or on the weekend," said Weiss.
A call that could have taken the department 12 minutes to respond to, now takes just six.
"If it is a medical call, they will get in that truck and go to the call and start care until paid on-calls come in and get in the ambulance," said Weiss.
The chief made room in the budget for eight full-time staff members instead of four.
"Now they're on for 24, [then] they have two days off. They are able to get some rest, recuperate, before they come back in for their shift," said Deputy Fire Chief John Delain.
The Germantown Fire Department could not do without some paid on-call staff, but this puts them on par with other department's their size.
"Other than West Bend and us, no one else has 24-hour coverage, but also they don't run the same amount of calls we do," said Weiss.