Firefighting

Response Time

Issue 2 and Volume 162.

By RICHARD MARINUCCI Response time is an important issue for fire departments. We are in a business where, on occasion, seconds count. Response time is often used as a measurement tool for fire departments, as if a quick response translated into quality service. Yet it is accepted that there are certain benchmarks that are important, especially when the incident involves a significant medical emergency. Fire departments generally measure their response time based on their drive time, not the entire reaction to a 911 call. Many departments promote their response time in the three- to-six-minute range. But the entire reaction is more than that. Consider the processing time in the dispatch center, the need to select the appropriate fire station or stations. Once the fire department is alerted, there is turnout time, followed by the actual drive time. Also consider the time needed to get to a patient’s side or be…

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