Life was quieter on the Perrysburg Fire Department when Jeff Klein was a rookie in 1991. It received only 600 calls a year, and three people worked a shift at a time.
Now, Chief Klein's department deals with about 2,000 calls a year and relies on seven people to work at a time.
It is public-safety growing pains in a community where, as neighborhoods and the Levis Commons area developed, the population jumped 20 percent in 10 years. Perrysburg's population was listed at 20,623 in the 2010 census. By comparison, the population was 16,945 in the 2000 census.
More people mean an increase in traffic crashes, crime reports, and other calls for service.
To handle the growth, the city is looking to build a second fire station, but officials said they need to hire a consultant to determine how many firefighters -- and police officers -- should be on the streets.
"It's expensive to hire police officers and firefighters," police Chief Daniel Paez said. "We want to make sure we're doing that correctly."
Without any in-depth discussion, the city council voted last week to pay $48,000 for a public-safety staffing study, which will analyze the personnel levels, calls for service, response times, best public-safety practices, and other information.
The money, taken from the city's general fund, will go to Matrix Consulting Group, a firm from Palo Alto, Calif.
At the city fire department, 23 firefighters/paramedics, as well as the chief, work full time. Thirteen paid volunteers also assist them on calls.
At the police department, there are 32 sworn officers, plus Chief Paez.
The study is expected to be completed in three months.
It will provide key information to help the city plan how many firefighters to hire as the city explores building a fire station in the Levis Commons area, city Administrator John Alexander said. The city's fire department is housed at 140 W. Indiana Ave.
The city is still looking for the right land on which to build the proposed $2.5 million station in 2013, Mr. Alexander said. He added that the fire station would be paid for with general fund dollars.
The new fire station could lower response times to the southwest part of the city, officials said.
Response times along State Rt. 25 can range from 6 to 12 minutes, Chief Klein said.
With a new station, that number could drop to three to four minutes, he added.
"It makes a difference, it really does," he said.
Contact Gabrielle Russon at email@example.com or 419-724-6026.