PHOENIX — It was a historic year for the Phoenix Fire Department in 2022 as the overall call volume was the highest ever recorded.
"Our fire men and women were super busy in 2022," Phoenix Fire Captain Todd Keller told KTAR News. "They ran over 405,000 calls, that's 20,000 calls more than they ran in 2021.
"They're working and they're doing an absolute fabulous job. We couldn't be more proud of every single firefighter that gets on an engine, a ladder or any kind of rescue or any kind of apparatus in general. We are all busy."
Phoenix Fire Engine 7 near 7th Street and Hatcher Road was called upon the most in the city, finishing with just over 6,000 calls for service, according to a press release. Six other Phoenix fire engines also had call unit volumes over 5,000.
The busiest engines averaged more than 16 calls per day, Keller said, with each potentially lasting an average of 30 to 45 minutes. That only left about eight hours for engines that are operational around the clock to complete other tasks, such as driving back to the station and training.
"We have a saying in the fire department that every call is the most important call," Keller said. "Emergencies are in the eye of the holder, so we go on fall injuries, we go on people who are having cardiac issues.”
Keller said the hike in calls last year is due to the population of Phoenix being among the fastest growing in the nation.
"You have a lot of people moving here, 300 per day, and that is obviously going to generate more calls every single day," he said.
Despite the increase in calls last year, which is expected to continue, Keller said the Phoenix Fire Department is doing well with staffing.
He said the department, its union and the city of Phoenix worked diligently to project the needs of the community and build a response system to match.
The city in December unanimously voted to allocate $7.8 million in annual funding for 58 new sworn positions for the department, some of which will be dedicated to Phoenix Fire’s aviation and rescue unit as well as Fire Station 62 that is still in development.
KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Colton Krolak contributed to this report.