Trend and Analysis
This response time benchmark is based on the average time it takes for a fire in a modern and furnished home to reach the “flashover stage” which is generally unsurvivable. This measure has shown declining performance over the past several years. The balancing factors to improve this measure are primarily production of resources, deployment of those resources and demand for services.
The balancing factors for response time performance and reliability are (a) efficient production of resources, (b) effective deployment of those resources and (c) managing demand for services. The agency improved production through an improved staffing model (introduced February 2018) to ensure that at least two units are available in each station staffed by career personnel. Under the new staffing model, the agency doubled the probability that a request for service can be answered by the closest station, resulting in a 14% improvement in this measure in those communities. The agency intends to maintain this staffing model as the effective minimum staffing as it demonstrates the greatest return on investment.
This measure is dependent on the location of existing facilities. Only 34% of the land area of the County and 64% of the population are reachable within this anticipated response time benchmark. Future construction will be based on deploying in communities and near major transportation infrastructure to maximize the area and population served.
The number of structure fire incidents has remained reasonably consistent for the past several years. The agency responds to approximately 2,000 structure fire incidents annually. While this is a relatively small number of overall incidents, the resources, both personnel and equipment, and coordination necessary to bring such an incident under control safely is significant. These low frequency and high consequence events must remain a cornerstone of initial training, continuing education, quality improvement and performance measurement efforts for our agency. The budget includes staff at two additional stations to serve in those communities that consistently underperform in this measure with the intent of being equally, if not more, impactful on this measure.