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Missoula Fire Department seeks increased personnel through mill levy

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Missoula, Montana – In an effort to keep up with the city’s expanding population, the Missoula Fire Department is attempting to place a levy on the November ballot that would help them fund everything from new firemen to even building a new fire station.

A press conference was conducted on August 1 to present a new effort that hopes to give the City of Missoula Fire Department a significant source of financing. Mayor Jordan Hess and other city officials also attended.

Although the city’s population and emergency calls have grown, no new firefighters have been hired there since 2008. Since then, both the population of the city and the number of emergency calls it receives have climbed by 11.5%.

10,436 emergency calls were made to the city in 2022, a 78 percent increase since the last personnel expansion in 2008.

When several calls come in, engines must respond outside their designated station district to assist other stations because there is not enough staffing to handle the increasing call volume. This causes crews to be delayed and unable to respond to situations in a timely manner.

“We are two minutes behind the national average for response time,” said Gordy Hughes, the Fire Chief for the City of Missoula Fire Department.

The Missoula Fire Department’s station dependability averages are below the national requirement of 90%, according to data gathered by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

But if Missoula voters approve this levy in November, the funds would go toward the following:

• 20 more firefighters
• Permanent funding for the Mobile Support team
• Another source of revenue for fire operations
• Competitive firefighter wages

 

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