1. #1
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    Thumbs up Response Times.............

    In another Thread, the discussion turned toward Response Times. Since that wasn't the purpose of that thread, I've started this one to discuss the Good/Bad of Response Time Requirements, and compare those requirements from around the country, as well as look for ideas on how to make it work.

    Our County wants the dispatched unit to be up on the air and responding in 1 minute or less. We accomplish this by having at least one crew in the station all the time. We have 4 Full Time folks on duty 0700 to 1700 Weekdays, Volunteers at all other times. Quite often, there is also a Volunteer Crew during the day as well. We get it done thru several different means, each of which compliment each other. For one, there are members who "Live" at the station. Number changes a bit from time to time, but usually about 6. Everyone who actively Rides or Drives will spend a night or two (including sleeping) at the station each month. (I do every Friday night). We go to some length to make the station as accomodating as possible with space for 20 people without being crowded. There are 8 bunks in the Female Quarters and 16 in the Men's Quarters, Adequate showers, lockers, etc. are part of both rest areas. Kitchen is more home like, but still plenty of room. Apparatus includes a Tower Ladder, Heavy Rescue, Fire Engine, Rescue Engine, BLS Ambulance, Brush Unit, and two Command Vehicles. Those units have 42 seats total, and we can fill them all when something is really going downhill. On 9-11-01, we had 60 people in the station by 1600 hrs, and maintained crews on all apparatus for the next 60 hours. Same for Hurricane Isabel, and some other Weather events. The type of operation that we have is normal for this area. Can some of the posters from around the country tell us how you manage your operation? Do you have a mandated response time and/or minimum crew requirements? What works for you?
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
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    Harve,

    I think that most department strive to turn out in a minute or less. Our average in about 1 minute from the time the tones hit to the ride going out the door. We have MDC's on all apparatus so, once the tones start, the members head to the apparatus, since all the infomation is shown on the screen. All the Officer(s) has to do it to touch the screen where the feature "ENROUTE" is located! I have seen companies mark up enroute in less than 30 seconds and actually be going out the door!! We get a master print out every day on all responces for the 24 hours period. The comm center averages about 40 seconds on fire dispatches. This is great for them as well as us and the citizens. The really can process a call. We really don't like to drag our feet getting out, since we usually have traffic or some other problems once on the street. All our front end apparatus are 6 seaters, but usually ride with four. During the storms we get, as you get the same ones too, we will put 6 on the rig and also manned any other spare apparatus. The small units, brush, tanker, foam usually can get 3 in the front seat of needed. It is a little tight depending if you have big guys, like myself packed in there.
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

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    We're not normally staffed.

    When we do have people at the station, trucks can often be underway before the dispatch is done on their end -- well under a minute. It's not been unusual for me to be on the road already waiting for the dispatcher to stop talking (they give the dispatch twice on the dispatch channel, then once on the operational channel) to sign on the air.

    When we're not figure on 3-4 minutes for the apparatus to get on the road. Usually we'll have an officer on scene via POV around that same 3 minute mark. Daytime can be longer, especially on the side of getting every last apparatus out.

    Ambulance standard is 7 minutes for a re-tone; then another 5 minutes. People are kind of used to that 7 minute mark, and we get a lot of re-tones when people are walking from their car to the rig when dispatch response checks them. By the time dispatch finishes the retone, rig is rolling. Sorry, but I'm not hustling when it's 3am and we're going to pickup a drunk the State Police are on scene with.

    Our call volume -- and especially it's timing -- is such I don't see people being willing to stay at the station. Not a good use of your time...not that we can't get busy with 10+ calls in a day, but statistically a 10 call day means we'll see 5 more days without anything happening.
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    Default Turnout a.k.a. Scramble Time in this area

    Most of the career departments in this area also set the standard for scramble time at 1 minute.

    Now for an oranges to apples comparison: my volunteer department with no duty crew has an average scramble time of about 4 minutes give or take. A little faster for EMS calls and little longer for fires.

    The gold standard? Nope, but not bad for home response and most importantly we do it safely (around 300 times a year).
    FTM-PTB-DTRT

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    Baltimore County Career units have 90 seconds to be on the road from the time their tones drop. Volunteer units have three minutes at which point they are response checked and if not responding, the next closest unit is dispatched. Minimum crew on any major piece is four for a fire or rescue assignment and two for a MVC with no entrapment. Units that respond with less than minimum staffing are backed up with the next closest available unit.

    With current traffic conditions in much of the county coupled with housing and lifestyle issues, it is becoming more and more difficult for volunteer units to get on the road in three minutes if a crew is not in the station at the time of dispatch.
    Chris Minick, P.E., Firefighter II
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    For an all Volunteer department we usually sign on teh air well w/in a minute during teh typical "working day". We have a house man that signs on just as county finishs up. We're a little slower on teh weekends and before and after the work day. Our SOP is 1st person to the FH signs us on teh air, second drives, and so on.

    Our Cheif works nights so he is usually around during the day. Same goes for a driver, retired guy. We have some stay at home moms who are EMTs, again usually around during the day.

    All in all, for ambulance calls we are usually on scene w/in 3-4 minutes of being dispatched. Same goes for fire related incidents.

    We usually run anywhere between 500-700 runs a year, mostly EMS. Our district is a mile square. Not to sure if we can get things done any quicker!
    Jim
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    With our volunteer dept we get about 20 calls a year, our scramble time is about 3 min never usually over the 5min mark.

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    Question Do you run code on everything?

    Dispatch: Respond to 1234 North Maple Street. Subject fell two days ago, possible broken ankle.

    Would you respond lights and siren to this?

    Dispatch: Respond to 1234 Center Street. Have a report of a live wire down at that address.

    Would you repond lights and siren to this?

    Dispatch: Respond to 1234 East Franklin Street. Caller reports a dumpster smoking. No exposurers.

    Would you respond lights and siren to this?

    Dispatch: Respond to the corner of Main and Oak. Public works is repairing a broken water line and requesting lighting.

    Would you respond lights and siren to this?

    Dispatch: Respond to Elm and Pinetree. Police on scene report a hydrant opened by vandals. Need assistance in closing hydrant.

    Would you respond lights and siren to this?

    Dispatch: Respond across the street from 1234 West 40th Ave. Caller reports flames showing from the roof.

    Would you respond lights and siren to this?

    I guess you get my point.

    Stay safe,

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    Chief Woods,
    Don't take this the wrong way, but most volunteer departments can't operate like Maryland does. it's just not practical.
    My department usually one engine on the road in under 5 minutes. However, there are times (in one of our 3 houses) where you will have a full crew in quarters, but lacking a driver. We are a totally voluteer department, and get about 750-800 calls a year, and do no EMS.
    The NFPA standard is to be out the door 60 seconds from dispatch. this is only realistic from paid departments, or volunteer department that staff their stations 24/7 and don't respond from home.
    The latter's case isn't done for the majority of the volunteer department in the US. This is primarily due to the relatively low call volume. for example, my department does about 800 calls a year. that's less than 3 per day. you really think we will get full crews for 24/7 shifts when they might get 2 or 3 calls in a day? our EMS squad gets abotu 4500 calls a year, and we do in house staffing, but again, it all comes down to call volume.

    The other thing is what Pete is referring too. are non-life threatening calls emergencies? should you rush to a cardiac arrest call the same way you would a sprained ankle? even in a POV, if the call is for a slip and fall, should I be rushing to get to the squad building? after all you got a good chance of having the person RMA.
    If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!

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    Default Re: Do you run code on everything?

    Originally posted by pete892
    Dispatch: Respond to 1234 North Maple Street. Subject fell two days ago, possible broken ankle.
    Would you respond lights and siren to this? NO Why should you?

    Dispatch: Respond to 1234 Center Street. Have a report of a live wire down at that address.

    Would you repond lights and siren to this? Yes there is danger to the general public.

    Dispatch: Respond to 1234 East Franklin Street. Caller reports a dumpster smoking. No exposurers.

    Would you respond lights and siren to this? NO Just get there safely and fill the dumpster with water.

    Dispatch: Respond to the corner of Main and Oak. Public works is repairing a broken water line and requesting lighting.

    Would you respond lights and siren to this? NO.

    Dispatch: Respond to Elm and Pinetree. Police on scene report a hydrant opened by vandals. Need assistance in closing hydrant.

    Would you respond lights and siren to this? NO. Have public utlities respond instead of the fire department. If the department responds, go silent and in service.

    Dispatch: Respond across the street from 1234 West 40th Ave. Caller reports flames showing from the roof.

    Would you respond lights and siren to this? YES Hot and Heavy.

    I guess you get my point.

    Stay safe,

    Pete
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

  11. #11
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    I'm from a combo-department. We have 4 guys(myself included) + chief during the daytime(7-3). During the daytime when we get toned out, the truck is sitting at the end of the pad with us in it by the time they're giving us an address.

    After hours, without paid staff on duty, if it's a non-BS call(that is, not a sprained ankle, Public Works request for lighting, or something of that nature) we can have a truck on the road in about 2 minutes from dispatch.

    Our average response time from tones drop to on scene, establishing command: 5 minutes, 15 seconds.

    Average responders per call: 12
    "Captain 1 to control, retone this as a structure and notify the fire chief...."

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    We have 5 stations, handling approx. 1300 calls a year (82% are EMS first response) in a 125 mile primarily rural response area with 13,000 residents. All stations are unmanned except for the Central Station at the eastern end of our district. We staff it 24/7 with one (1) full-time firefighter per shift as well as the parish (county to the rest of the world) 2-man medic crew who are also housed at our station and are cross-trained to drive our apparatus, run the pumps and in some of the cases, fight fire. Daytime there is a paid chief officer either in the station or in the district, and starting Jan. 1 we are adding 1 weekday 8-5 paid person using qualified volunteer personnel. We have a bunkroom that can hold up to 4 ride-along personnal and on most nights there are 2-3 bunking in. We have no ride-along requirements. We currently have 30-40 volunteer firefighters and support personnel on the roster.

    The apparatus at Central Station are expected to be out the door in under 1 minute and responding takes up to 20 minutes due to the size of the district (usually there is a second driver hanging out... there are occasions where only 1 truck rolls initially and the 2nd and 3rd need to wait for additional drivers to arrive. They do not wait for manpower as many of our personnel go to the scene by POV, due once again, to the size of the district). On EMS calls one of the volunteers usually arrives on scene by POV in under 3 minutes. Engines from the satellite stations areusually are on the air within 5 minutes and arrive on-scene to fire calls in thier response zones within 5 minutes of leaving the station. We can usually get 2-3 unmanned appartus on the air for day calls and all (if needed) for night runs.
    Last edited by LaFireEducator; 12-09-2004 at 07:31 PM.

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    we have an on duty crew of 2 EMT's from 0800-1600 7 days a week and they go on every call. They are not required to be out the door in any certain time but it has to be pretty close to a minute or so. After 1600 the chief or myself are usually underway well within the minute as well, with the unit (s) 3-5 minutes getting enroute. While there is no doubt Harve has a good thing going on it isnt practical here as we do about 600 + runs a year.
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    Red face

    Funny you should ask..... this was just discussed last night on shift. What we have here is a 24hr. pd. duty crew that works with volunteers that work what they can, when they can on their assigned shifts. We have an expectation that when tones drop, we have under
    1 min. to be responding--which we usually make thanks to the precast. It's slower in the middle of the night, but hey, I don't think we need to be running in our skivvies, dressing in the halls to make a call. Our real issue here is on scene times. Our vision would be under 10 minutes(our portion of that all important golden hour), but we,ve been averaging 12minutes on my shift. That is until last month. Due to all sorts of extenuating circumstances, our on scene times almost doubled. Our EMS chief was NOT a happy camper. So we'll be working on that again, but that's how we run,and we run almost 2000 calls a year-about 85% of those are EMS and we have an ALS ambulance with atleast one medic(or two) on shift at all times, plus a platform ladder truck, an engine, a heavy rescue, a brush unit, a tender, a HAZ-MAT responce command center, and another back up ambulance that runs ILS. We also have two other stations we man up, one of those 24/7 with paid duty crew+volunteers, and one we staff after 21:00hrs with paid duty crew. This gives us access to three more tenders two more pumpers and one more heavy rescue, plus a brush unit at each station, as well as a third ambulance if necessary. We also have four other unmanned stations with apparatus. I think we have enough for now.

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    Over here we have a 5 minute response time from pager activation to the first appliance leaving the station. If there is no "mobile" message within 5 mins 30 secons, then the next available station is paged to the same incident.

    Most times, unless the traffic is bad we are in & out within 4 mins.
    United Kingdom branch, IACOJ.

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    Talking

    For those of you who manage to get out of the station in a minute or less, (especially at night) are you fully bunkered, or bunker up en route?

  17. #17
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    Thumbs up Thanks......................

    Thanks for the responses, keep 'em coming...... Pete has a point, and quite valid at that. We have some types of calls that we handle as a NON-Emergency call. Pump outs, lock out/in, assist PD w/lights, Etc. fall in this group. We recently started a "Respond or Proceed" Program that is still being (Hotly) debated, where the first piece to arrive may direct the remaining units to switch to "Proceed" status, which means turning off your warning lights and sound, and flowing with traffic. But, that's fuel for another thread.

    One question, from a number of responses, if I may. Some of you tend to view being at the station as an unnecessary use of time, due to a low call volume. True, our call volume is at the top of the charts for Volunteer operations, (or so I'm told by folks from other parts of the country) But we have days with 2, 1, or No calls. Not often, but it does happen. But we don't sit staring out the windows, we're doing something most of the time, Training, Cleaning, and similar duties are ongoing. I'm heading to the station for my usual Friday duty shift within a few minutes, (I'm off work till late Feb. so I have time to do more at the FD) It's now 11:40 EST. I'll keep a log of how my time goes, and what we do, and get back here with it. Anyone wants to listen in on our radio, there are a number of websites with live PGFD radio feeds, I like the feed provided by our next neighbor to the West side of Glenn Dale, the West Lanham Hills VFD. They're at (what else?) www.WLHVFD.Com Operations in our area would include Companies 18 (us) 19,39,43, Bowie VFD 28,48, West Lanham VFD 33,46, Kentland VFD and a few others. Enjoy.
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
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    We don't have a manned house except on certain circumstances or on weekends.House manned,Engine out the door in under a minute.Unmanned,out the door in three minutes.And the rest of the apparatus at roughly 2 min. intervals.So 2 Engines and the Ladder in roughly 7 minutes or less.Weekends are "grillers"the troops get together and pitch in for "snack du jour"or catch of the day.Then appropriate "housework"is done(before and after)and whatever happens to catch our fancy for entertainment,be it a training film,Nascar race,Playstation,or whatever else shows up.I'm usually "houseboss"and sometimes the Big Bosses show up.It's worked well for team building as there is always an incident or issue we can chew over.The "town fathers"thought the Boss was paying us to be there and started a ruckus.They calmed down quick when the found out they were getting a staffed house for $0 dollars. T.C.

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    Any vol. dept placing a 1st resp truck with a driver at his home or work?

    We're putting together an new wildland truck (short WB CL6 IH 4x4 with 600gal tank/250gpm pump will carry our 1st Responder med gear). Thinking perhaps truck pass from member to member on a shift assignment rather than just adding it to the station fleet. Driver on shift stays in fire district has truck with him; in driveway/at work/etc, and responds direct to scene. We're rural district and 1/2 our guys respond directly to fire scene, so no real change there.

    Get a truck rolling in the golden 1min rather than 5min. ISO credit equivalent to manned station time? Station is wherever the truck is located.

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    Scratch time on standard calls is 4min, others like standby at hospital medivac and alarm system is 6min. The county calls you after scratch and if nobody goes on radio next unit is sent. My one department wouldn't be able not to run hot to BS calls because of traffic and size of the department they'd never get there! The other is 2 or so square miles so they can run cold to some calls. It all depends on where your from and what your going to....just get there safe!
    Bucks County, PA.

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    Any vol. dept placing a 1st resp truck with a driver at his home or work?

    None with water (or really close to me for that matter...). But I have seen several in CT that have an Officer's SUV or P/up that rotates among who has duty that night -- carries EMS equipment, command stuff, lots of fire extinguishers. I'd just wonder about freezing weather with the water, plus some of the more advanced BLS stuff can't freeze (EPI-pens).

    It all depends on where your from and what your going to

    Absolutely!

    Many times I've gone to fairly serious calls "on the quiet" 'cause I know lights & sirens won't get me there any faster -- and turn around to a not-so-serious call at a time of day I need them just to pull out of the station...
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    Commodore:

    My department has something similar. Guys volunteer to stay within five minutes of the station. In combination with the guys who live around the station, it keep response times low.


    And this budgetary year, we got an extra 60k from the township to pay the guys to do it!
    "Captain 1 to control, retone this as a structure and notify the fire chief...."

    Safety is no accident.

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