Jan 26, 2022 - News

Des Moines firefighters see rise in calls amid worker shortage

Data: Des Moines Fire Department; Chart: Jacque Schrag/Axios

Calls to the Des Moines Fire Department have increased by nearly 50% in the last decade.

  • EMS accounted for about 65% of the nearly 31,000 calls last year.

Why it matters: The increase in calls comes as the city struggles to fill a firefighter shortage that's costing Des Moines thousands of dollars in weekly overtime.

Between the lines: Response times increased by about 14 seconds between 2015 and 2020.

  • Emergency crews arrived within 5 minutes and 22 seconds in 90% of calls in 2020.

Of note: Last year’s response time data isn’t compiled yet but it is expected to show increases, Des Moines Fire Marshal Jonathan Lund told Axios.

What to watch: Des Moines launched training for 30 firefighters this month, nearly twice the size of a class that graduated in December.

  • Some will complete their training in June, while others will graduate in December.
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