by: Kenley Hargett
AprIL 28, 2023
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Nashville Mayor John Cooper announced a pay increase for all Metro employees at this year’s State of the Metro address. This includes the Nashville Fire Department, which is now fully-staffed for the first time in more than 20 years thanks to a $15 million investment.
Since Music City’s growth isn’t stopping, first responders need the resources to stay prepared at all times. According to the Nashville Fire Department, crews have responded to 45,000 incidents so far this year, with an average of 3,000 incidents a week.
District 32 Councilmember Joy Styles hosted a community meeting on Thursday, April 27 to discuss the State of the Metro, saying she is encouraged about the future of Antioch and Nashville as a whole. “We had trucks going out with only three people, and the standard was four,” Styles said. “And so to know that now we’re going to have a situation where we’re going to have five. You’re going to have your EMTs, you’re going to have your firefighters, and we’re going out prepared, and we’re serving our constituents fully. I think, really our job in this term was to make good on promises that were made and not kept in the past.”
Nashville Mayor John Cooper included the following remarks about Nashville’s emergency response resources during Thursday’s State of the Metro address: Over four years, we’ve funded 131 new firefighters – including 39 more this year — so our department now meets the national standard of 5 per company responding to an emergency or a rescue situation. In fact, this year’s new $15 million investment for Nashville Fire will mean the department will be at full staffing for the first time since 2001.
We’re also paying firefighters more. The starting salary for firefighters has increased 28% over the last four years. And we’ve added 115 paramedics, who have also seen a 33% pay increase – or roughly $21,000. And they are needed.
Our emergency communications center is fielding roughly 3,000 calls a day. To handle that volume, we’ve added 54 new emergency communications staff. A new class of 39 new dispatchers will start this Monday. Despite the increase in call volume, our investments mean we’re staying ahead of the curve. Since bringing in Director Martini and fully staffing the E-9-1-1, we’ve seen a 12% improvement in response times.
We’ve also added 81 new firetrucks and ambulances, and 677 new police vehicles to better respond to emergencies. In this year’s budget, General Services will add 21 new positions and establish an overnight shift for servicing Metro vehicles – to keep these vehicles on the road instead of in the lot waiting to be serviced.
We must give our first responders the resources they need to continue responding with speed, efficiency, and professionalism – just as they are doing now.