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  1. #21
    Forum Member Firegod343's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HotTrotter View Post
    Paid departments measure their response time from the time they leave the station with the apparatus until they arrive on scene.
    Actually, our combination department has a focus on response time, which is broken down into 3 parts;

    1) Time of call to dispatch
    2) Time of dispatch to time of first arriving vehicle response
    3) Time from first arriving vehicle response to arrival

    Using the first arriving apparatus response time provides a more accurate overall picture.

    The most important issue in measuring the response time is not really the "time issue" but the consistency in the data measurement. Strangely, 10 different engine companies will give you 10 different interpretations of the data.

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  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by FORTff View Post
    Traffic is not the reasons response times are so poor in the lower ends of these counties which are border Philadelphia. It's the excessive amount of time it takes members to respond from home (if they choose to do so) and then get the apparatus on the road. As far as I know, most do NOT have any form of daytime "duty crews" and many don't have it at night either.
    I read this article the other day, and find a lot of what everyone to be saying to be on point in this thread... except for the quoted comment above.

    The excessive amount of time it takes members to respond from home is due to traffic! Therefore, traffic is a major reason response times are poor. I work nights so I'm around most days, and it takes me AT LEAST 6 minutes to arrive at the station from my home. Most of the time this means I miss the first-out truck. On weekend nights (when I have off work) I get there in 3 minutes flat and I'm hopping on the first out truck.

    As for the duty crew comment, I would agree that "most" do not have them. However, I think there is a trend developing torwards hiring at least a day-time driver. I think this is a move in the right direction because the department does not need to worry about not having a driver show up during the day... but you still need a crew to show up to fill out the truck.


    Lastly, regarding the comments on subdivisions and "vollytics," I agree that just the existence of those two issues is absolutely ridiculous. When a truck from a responding company is passing two other firehouses to go to their response area something is definitely wrong. Its the people that hold on to their "kingdoms" (I think a previous poster used that term earlier) that not only harm the volunteer fire service's image, but its service to the community as well.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by hwoods View Post
    A PERSON NEEDING HELP IN AN EMERGENCY SHOULD GET THE CLOSEST HELP AVAILABLE, REGARDLESS OF POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS. PERIOD.

    Now, Move North a hundred miles. Townships and boroughs. An Engine from three miles away is called to a Fire while an Engine a half mile away sits in Quarters. The Closest Engine isn't in the same township as the Fire. Stupid.
    Agreed. I cannot/will not ride to the scene of a fire only to realize the dispatcher got the jurisdictions off by a quarter mile, and do nothing until the proper F.D. gets there, which might take another 5 minutes or more. Put the fire out, let the politicians/towns bill each other if they absolutely feel a need to justify the response.

    But one thing: it is not just a northern problem. Here in Georgia, it is way too simple for a city to annex county property without having first established proper fire, water, P.D., EMS coverage for the newly aquired area. So, you sometimes end up with a fire station that is located near the entrance of a neighborhood but the trucks responsible for that neighborhood have to come from 7 miles away!

    That puts a heavy weight on public perception, and you can be guaranteed that someone's fire department is going to get cussed.
    "Yeah, but as I've always said, this country has A.D.D." - Denis Leary

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    Same thing here.

    This is especially true around Shreveport, where the city has annexed high-value property "blocks" surrounded by the rural combination fire districts. It's not uncommon for Shreveport fire units to have to drive through the fire districts several times for them to get to the "blocks" in the city.

  5. #25
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    Question for FFFred. A small oven fire on the 70th floor of a building. Is the on scene time when you get to the 70th floor or when you get to the actual building?

    I'd imagine there is a little time difference there.



    For us, on scene time is the first vehicle to arrive at the address. But our chief's don't follow the "true" ICS system and stand outside setting up a command post, we'll investigate what we can. PD and Chief's have knocked down some fires with water cans before arrival of engines. (I know, bad us). Our on scene time is "not correct" at a few locations, like when the call is on the far end of the boardwalk pier but "signed on location" is transmitted at the end of the street.



    Some good discussion here on the different times people track.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

  6. #26
    MembersZone Subscriber N2DFire's Avatar
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    Well for once I seem to be in agreement with HotTrotter (are all the planets in a line today or something??) and others who have already pointed out that the only way to create a truly level playing field is by separating the "Response Time" into clearly defined segments.

    I like the one presented by Firegod343 the best (with an exception noted later).

    1) Time of call to dispatch
    2) Time of dispatch to time of first arriving vehicle response
    3) Time from first arriving vehicle response to arrival

    #2 we call "Reaction Time" and that is defined as time of dispatch till the time the first piece of Apparatus rolls.

    #3 is what we term "response time" to be. Time from first apparatus en-route till arrival on scene.

    Our major focus is on Item 2. We can't do much to change #3 The stations are where they are in relation to call location & we can only get there (safely) so fast. We are in the same boat as ChiefSquirrel. We are one of the largest Counties in the state @ ~796 Square Miles. My departments portion of this is roughly 79 Square Miles (of some of the more mountainous terrain too) - so Drive time can be quite lengthy - as much as 15 to 20 minutes in some of the more remote areas.

    I think that this is the only real portion of an overall "call to arrival" response time that any department (career or volunteer) has any effective control over and any Localities or Agencies that feel they have response issues should take a good hard look at this portion and make the necessary changes to shorten it.

    And now for my "catch" to Item #3.
    Edited to add that Bones brought up this same point while I was busy typing all this up.

    Currently it is defined as a broad catch-all for everything from Fire to Rescue to EMS to Service Calls.

    I think that for Fire or Rescue calls it should be further defined as Time from Apparatus marking en-route until time actual operations begin. This will further serve to even out the playing field and give more real world usable data for comparison.

    For example if Dept. A & Dept. B both mark en-route & arrive on scene at a working structure fire at the same time but Dept. A arrives with a driver only & takes 5 additional minutes to gather a crew and put a line in service while Dept. B arrives with a full crew and puts a line into service in 2 minutes (or less) - then who really had the best overall "response" ?

    Until we all start using the same well defined measurements and focusing more on the ones we have real control over - then the whole debate over "response time" is nothing more than a lot of useless noise.
    Last edited by N2DFire; 10-23-2007 at 09:42 AM. Reason: Typos
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  7. #27
    Forum Member DeputyMarshal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    But our chief's don't follow the "true" ICS system and stand outside setting up a command post, we'll investigate what we can. PD and Chief's have knocked down some fires with water cans before arrival of engines.
    FWIW, what you describe is entirely acceptable within most "true" ICS systems.

    The truth is, few fire departments really track the more important measure of "reflex time." (reflex time = how long it takes from the time a fire is reported until the FD puts water on it.)

    The whole "Reflex Time" response sequence includes "Dispatch Time," "Turn-out Time," "Response Time," "Access Time," & "Set-up Time." Many (most?) fire department's only really track "Response Time" based on some combination of when the first unit signs on the air until the first unit signs out on the scene.

    "Response time" is a vague term that can mean several different things depending on who you ask. It's technically supposed to be the time from when the wheels on the BRT start rolling to when they stop at the scene but they have been known to be anywhere from when the alarm is acknowledged (before anyone is even on the BRT) to when anyone -- BRT, Chief, or vollie in a P/U truck -- calls out "on scene" a block from the alarm address... IOW, Depending on how times are tracked, the reported "Response Time" can be wildly inaccurate.

    NFPA 1710 requires "Turn-Out Times" or 1 minute or less; "Response Times" of 4 minutes or less for the first arriving engine company; and 8 minutes or less for the remainder of the 1st alarm assignment.

    NFPA 1720 doesn't set limits for volunteer response times except indirectly by way of NFPA 1221.

    NFPA 1221 requires "Dispatch Times" such that the first FD unit responds within 3 minutes. i.e. effectively from call to dispatch within 2 minutes.

    That's 7 minutes allowed from call to arrival on-scene with "Access Time" and Set-up Time" still to be added to determine "Reflex Time" and not considering how long fire has developed prior to the call for help.
    Last edited by DeputyMarshal; 10-23-2007 at 10:19 AM.
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  8. #28
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    My good friend DeputyMarshall points out exactly part of the problem. There are requirements for response time. But it isn't well defined. So if my reaction time (the time between dispatch and enroute) is lowered by the chief walking out of his house and into his car that is what is done. And the on scene time is lowered in much the same way. This is why we need national standards and good definitions.

    On too the other topics. Around here the districts are cut up according to political boundaries (City, Town etc.). Most are square and it doesn't take into account who is closer. We have a neighboring department who has a station very close to our line, maybe within a mile or so. We also pay another department to cover part of our district, for some reason, part of our district is on the other side of this man made lake. I imagine at one time there wasn't a body of water separating everything.Anyway, we will often call in mutual aid from a department that is closer, especially for a confirmed fire. There have also been many times when departments have been toned out to a fire in the wrong district. It is usually a couple of radio communications to let the other department know this and you typically get the OK to go ahead and put the fire out. We tend to work together around here. The Hero wannabe attitude just isn't here for the most part (although we have a few of those chuckleheads). For the most part we don't have guys racing around so they can be the first one there to run the truck or save the day. Nobody really cares who does what, as long as it gets done.

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    I live on the border of Philly and Montco and have a few friends that volly in the surrounding companies. I asked them about this article and they all basically laugh. They have many many stories of engines leaving the station with a driver and 1 other guy. They also believe that their departments count response times as when their chief (or other officer) responds. I can also count numerous times that while driving thru Whitemarsh Twsp. I see engines with lights and sirens with a driver and 1. If they get out the door in 1 min, thats great, but wtf are they gonna do? As usual, statistics are bs. And like Harve said, politics be damn, they need to send the closest company, to hell with responses based on age old boundry lines.

    The Chief that was interviewed for this story from Montgomery Twsp. FD (Brightcliffe) is a well respected retired Battalion Chief from my department and his son works in my company.
    Just another one of the 99%ers looking up.

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    Our trucks often roll with 1 driver and 1 passenger. At most we can fit three in the truck. There are usually those who respond directly to the scene so there is enough manpower to do something. Doesn't make sense to drive past the fire to go to the station first.

  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcaldwell View Post
    That is a significant percentage of the budget however for a small one-hall combo dept.

    And if I'm not mistaken, the literal translation of US-based 2-in 2-out allows for initiation of rescue action before all crews are assembled in cases of confirmed entrapment. Your volleys should be no more than 5 minutes behind, so that should be a minimal safety issue. By the time your hydrant is connected, size up complete, and lines stretched, your second truck should be very close by. It doesn't say that they need lines stretched and water secured, just "2-out".

    Here in BC, Canada, we are allowed to commence interior fire and rescue ops without 2 out, but must have a backup team assembled within 10 minutes of entry. Gives a little more room, but perhaps to some, less safety.
    I agree re “two in two out”. Can you do it ? Sure, happens every day. If someone gets hurt you have to have all the right answers.
    However, once it has been decided that volunteer response is no longer adequate & paid people are required. Why have the paid people run “lite” & depend on volunteer backup response that is not adequate in the first place? Money??

    I am a volunteer firefighter. I am a union man. I have worked union most of my adult life. The day my Dept. goes paid (even one person) is the day I hang up my gear. I will wish the career people well. I will not do anyone’s job for free.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HotTrotter View Post

    Doesn't make sense to drive past the fire to go to the station first.
    Ummmm....unless you need stuff like trucks and water and equipment.

    What happens when the engine rolls with 1 or 2 people and a bunch of POVs go the scene and all of a sudden, you need another engine or a truck or a tanker or an EMS vehicle? Are you going to tell someone to leave the fireground and go to the station and bring back another truck? If we're talking about wasting time, that's a huge waste of time right there and does a giant dis-service to those we serve.

    However, I'm sure your 'response time' looks great on the run report.


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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefSquirrel View Post
    Ummmm....unless you need stuff like trucks and water and equipment.

    What happens when the engine rolls with 1 or 2 people and a bunch of POVs go the scene and all of a sudden, you need another engine or a truck or a tanker or an EMS vehicle? Are you going to tell someone to leave the fireground and go to the station and bring back another truck? If we're talking about wasting time, that's a huge waste of time right there and does a giant dis-service to those we serve.

    However, I'm sure your 'response time' looks great on the run report.

    We have debated this endlessly. Our district is about 20 miles by 20 miles. We have guys responding from all directions. All trucks call enroute on the county fire frequency so it can be heard on the pagers. For a real fire call we usually get 15 to 20 people show up. But in the words of a couple who shall remain nameless "It works for us" .

  14. #34
    Forum Member edge1317's Avatar
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    There was a call in my county a few days ago, 1 car MVA on fire, unknown if anyone is still inside. The dept. that responded had alot of people mark up "enroute to scene POV" I'd say 4-5 of them. Well they got on scene and twiddled their thumbs and watched the truck burn, all the while yelling over the radio at other responders "We need a pumper, can you pick it up?". Turns out the man was still inside the truck.

    If a few of them had gone to the station and got a truck instead of all of them go to the scene, would the man have been saved? Possibly, we will never know. It never looks good for personnel to be on scene and watch something burn.

    IMO the man would not have been saved he either suffered a heart attack or died upon impact, the casualty required significant extrication to be removed. Still nonetheless unexcusable, it could have easily just been a man trapped by his leg.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PFDTruck18 View Post
    I live on the border of Philly and Montco and have a few friends that volly in the surrounding companies. I asked them about this article and they all basically laugh. They have many many stories of engines leaving the station with a driver and 1 other guy. They also believe that their departments count response times as when their chief (or other officer) responds. I can also count numerous times that while driving thru Whitemarsh Twsp. I see engines with lights and sirens with a driver and 1. If they get out the door in 1 min, thats great, but wtf are they gonna do? As usual, statistics are bs. And like Harve said, politics be damn, they need to send the closest company, to hell with responses based on age old boundry lines.

    The Chief that was interviewed for this story from Montgomery Twsp. FD (Brightcliffe) is a well respected retired Battalion Chief from my department and his son works in my company.
    Trust me, if it was up to Bill, there would be more than 3 on the truck.
    A Fire Chief has ONLY 1 JOB and that's to take care of his fireman. EVERYTHING else falls under this.

  16. #36
    Forum Member emtcsmith's Avatar
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    Scratch Time is 4min for 90% of calls and 6min for AFA's. That scratch time count goes from the point of dispatch, so a working fire is dispatched in Bucks and X number of companies are alerted. If nobody goes on radio by 4min the dispatcher moves down the box card. Like most areas day time calls have extra units/companies and such so 'scratched' calls are very rare.

  17. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by PFDTruck18 View Post
    I live on the border of Philly and Montco and have a few friends that volly in the surrounding companies. I asked them about this article and they all basically laugh. They have many many stories of engines leaving the station with a driver and 1 other guy. They also believe that their departments count response times as when their chief (or other officer) responds. I can also count numerous times that while driving thru Whitemarsh Twsp. I see engines with lights and sirens with a driver and 1. If they get out the door in 1 min, thats great, but wtf are they gonna do? As usual, statistics are bs. And like Harve said, politics be damn, they need to send the closest company, to hell with responses based on age old boundry lines.

    The Chief that was interviewed for this story from Montgomery Twsp. FD (Brightcliffe) is a well respected retired Battalion Chief from my department and his son works in my company.
    You are 100% right, this is another chronic problem here (I'm a volunteer in the area). In some areas/times, it is hard to avoid - there just aren't enough guys showing up period (it is my opinion though that even if nobody else shows up, you still shouldn't take a truck without a crew). However, some people have it in there minds that they need to get as many trucks out on the road as possible, regardless of how many firefighters are on them. For example, 5 guys at the station, BSing after a call when a second call comes in. Instead of putting all 5 guys on the first out truck, 3 go on the first out truck and the remaining 2 get on the second. Then the 2 guys on the second out truck only wait about 30 seconds before responding (without even waiting for more guys to show up!).

    I can't tell you how many times I've arrived at the station during the day only to find the first out truck gone without a crew. One day we got a fire alarm at a commercial building and the driver left in the first out truck by himself at the 5 minute mark. I pulled in to the station maybe 30 seconds too late, walk into the radio room and hear, "smoke showing from the second floor," from the driver who just left by himself! Its unbelievable how some people just don't get it. Unfortunately, I think its going to take someone getting hurt or killed before major changes are made.

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    The NFPA 1710 standard says 1 minute call handling, 1 minute turn out, 4 minutes drive time and that is for the first ENGINE, not Chief or staff car etc. Response time calculation stops when the first fire suppression piece staffed with 4 firefighters arrives on scene. Any other way of reporting is fixing the nuymbers to make you look good.

    Also how many of us report hours and minutes and not seconds? Keep in mind if you dont track seconds your response time could be almost 2 minutes slower or faster.
    10:00 - 10:05 = 5 minutes

    10:00:59 - 10:05:01 = 4 minutes 2 seconds

  19. #39
    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spegram View Post

    Also how many of us report hours and minutes and not seconds?


    If anyone needs to include Hours in their figures, they have a lot more issues than response times...........


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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    Question for FFFred. A small oven fire on the 70th floor of a building. Is the on scene time when you get to the 70th floor or when you get to the actual building?

    I'd imagine there is a little time difference there.



    For us, on scene time is the first vehicle to arrive at the address. But our chief's don't follow the "true" ICS system and stand outside setting up a command post, we'll investigate what we can. PD and Chief's have knocked down some fires with water cans before arrival of engines. (I know, bad us). Our on scene time is "not correct" at a few locations, like when the call is on the far end of the boardwalk pier but "signed on location" is transmitted at the end of the street.



    Some good discussion here on the different times people track.
    Our response time begins from the second the box is pulled or the phone alarm is recieved by our dispatcher to the time the company punches 10-84 (on scene) in the MDT or transmits it over the radio to the dispatcher.

    This built in delay you refer to is something we try to remind our politicians when they look to close and Engine Co. When Eng 26 is 10-84 it still might take 10 minutes to get to the floor if the elevators aren't working.

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