Fire Department Embraces Change Bit By Bit

Their lights express alarm, but its usually for someone else, not the fire department itself.

"I think there was some fear out there that the public was in danger because of what was going to happen," said TFD Chief Ray Driskell, addressing the city council over two big changes in procedures as a result of a new contract with EMSA.

The first change would have them responding to up to 30% more calls, starting at midnight Friday, but the city has decided to ease into that instead.

"They're going to phase in this change, this transition over a 6 month period of time," said Tulsa city councilor GT Bynum.

It's a change that could come with a hefty price tag.

"If you play it worse case scenario and you're looking at 15,000 calls you're talking about another 7 to 8 fire trucks, so you're talking about $7 to $8 million additional a year to implement something like that," said Driskell.

The second change will start at midnight Friday. More crews on duty to allot for EMSA longer response times. No one knows yet what, if anything, will change. But just to be safe, the fire department's solution?

"To put 10 people on each shift for at least 7 days and see the impact," said Driskell.

Putting out a fire of concern, as they head, like they always do, bravely into the unknown.

"I think the fire department, I think EMSA, I think everybody's on board now and I think the citizens don't have to worry," said Tulsa city councilor Jack Henderson.