Delaware's newest fire station at Cheshire Road and Glenn Parkway was expected to be fully operational last week after final inspections of the 9,000-square-foot building.
Funded by voter approval of a 0.3 percent income-tax increase to support fire services in 2010, Station 304 is designed to increase public safety in the southeast corner of the city, where the population has grown to more than 5,000 residents, said fire Chief John Donahue.
The goal was to reduce response times in the area to six minutes or less, he said.
During a heart attack, the risk of permanent brain damage rises if the patient is not resuscitated in six minutes, Donahue said.
In the event of a residential fire, quick response times are equally vital, he said.
Because of the types of materials used in modern construction, fires burn faster and hotter than in years past, he said.
"In the legacy-type construction you see in old Delaware," he said, it could take 30 minutes for fire to fully engulf a room.
Modern houses, by comparison, rely more heavily on such prefabricated components as adhesives and synthetic materials, in addition to wood.
That means such houses are loaded with hydrocarbon fuel, Donahue said, and can fully engulf a room with fire in three minutes.
The city earlier relied on mutual aid from Delaware County Emergency Medical Services and the Berlin Township Fire Department, the chief said, but distances involved meant the six-minute target rarely was met.
The new station is a near-duplicate of Station 303 on West Central Avenue, which city spokesman Lee Yoakum called a prototype for Station 304.
Three firefighters will man the new station around the clock seven days a week. The building will house an ambulance and a pumper fire truck.
One room is reserved for use as a work station by the city police department.
The police and fire departments "are a cohesive unit," Donahue said.
"Though we have different roles and responsibilities, we work seamlessly together," he said.
The fire department, Donahue said, now has a full complement of 66 employees: 64 firefighters and two administrative workers. Citywide, 15 firefighters will be on duty at all times, he said.
The new station represents the addition of nine personnel for the department.
Adding those firefighters and building Station 304 were two elements of the 2010 income-tax increase, he said. The others were construction of Station 303 and replacement of the department's vehicles.
The tax was designed, he said, "so we won't have to continuously come back to the voters and ask for more money. My commitment to City Council and the citizens is that this will be our last tax issue. We are going to manage our money. We've been able to do that and accomplish everything that we wanted as we continue to grow."
The new station is the city's fourth and is northwest of the roundabout intersection of Cheshire Road and Glenn Parkway.
The city in 2017 annexed most of the site from Liberty Township. The city earlier had annexed part of the 4.1-acre site when Glenn Parkway was constructed.
The station is west of Cheshire Elementary School and inside the Olentangy Local School District.
The city's fire stations each have a "30" prefix, in part, to identify the city in radio transmissions, Yoakum said.