KEARNS — A pair of fire stations in Riverton and Kearns will close in a move that local officials say will actually speed 911 response times in those communities.
The Riverton station currently is underused, answering an average of less than one call per day. The Kearns station responds mostly to calls from other parts of Salt Lake County, according to Unified Fire Authority.
Starting July 1, firefighters, engines and other resources from those stations will go to other nearby stations as part of a larger Unified fire overhaul designed to cut costs and speed up service, the agency announced Wednesday.
Elected officials in the two cities are cheering the move.
"This is actually a very smart move for us to do this," said Kearns Metro Township Councilwoman Kelly Bush, who also is on the Unified Fire Authority board.
Bush said she was skeptical at first. But the change will bring more firefighters with different expertise, along with more engines, to a neighboring Kearns fire station, she said. She believes the bigger crew will help the station respond to several calls at one time, requiring less frequent help from other agencies.
Currently, the Kearns station responds to parts of West Jordan and West Valley City more than its own community: 60 percent of its calls are outside its jurisdiction, the Unified Fire Authority said in a prepared statement. Under the change, its three firefighters will serve other, unspecified areas in western Salt Lake County. Another Kearns station 2.7 miles away will take over its responsibilities.
The two stations set to close are: Station 120 in Riverton, 13000 S. 2700 West; and Station 107 in Kearns, 6305 S. 5600 West.
The Riverton station is flanked by two other stations that also can answer calls in the fire agency's goal time of four minutes or less.
Riverton Mayor Bill Applegarth trusts the Unified Fire Authority decision.
"I believe our response time is going be just as good. Our service is going to be just as good," Applegarth said Wednesday. "I don't have any concerns with it at this point."
The buildings will remain in Unified control but will be used for other purposes, the authority said in a prepared statement, but did not specify their new uses.
Unified officials say they will monitor the stations to make sure the changes are working well. The agency oversees 28 fire stations, as well as a bomb squad and search and rescue teams across Salt Lake County.