New Tampa has dangerously long emergency response times with a median response 90-seconds longer than anywhere else in Florida's third-largest city.
But, at the urging of Tampa City Council member Luis Viera after a Tampa Bay Times story on the problem this week, the sprawling communities in the city's northeast are working to solve one contributing factor: providing security codes for the many gates that wall off the entrance to many of the New Tampa developments.
Viera said before Thursday's City Council meeting that he had posted the Times story on Nextdoor, the neighborhood-focused social media portal, prompting a discussion of how to lower the response times.
A solution? Provide Tampa Fire Rescue with security codes for the various subdivisions and community development districts that dot New Tampa.
Often, Viera said, emergency vehicles are slowed by locked gates, adding to the response times already lengthened by sprawl and traffic.
Viera said he met recently with Fire Chief Nick LoCicero to coordinate the effort.
"It won't completely solve the problem, but it will help," Viera said.