Number and percentage of emergency responses that meet established time standards for that type of response


In FY2020, the City of Austin responded to 80%, or 197,110 of the total 245,343, emergency incidents within the established time standard for that type of response. 
This is an increase of 1% from FY2019, where 215,824 of the total 271,625 emergency incidents were responded to within the established time standard. 
Emergency calls are received as calls made to 3-1-1, calls to 9-1-1, and calls made directly to a City department. When 3-1-1 receives an emergency call, the call is routed to the department responsible for responding to that emergency. The call is then categorized and documented in the responding department's system. Similarly when someone calls 9-1-1 and is asked if they need Police, Fire, or EMS, dispatch will triage the call to the appropriate department(s). Throughout the emergency response process, a department can re-categorize an emergency call type as more information becomes available. For example, a response to a call initially prioritized as a non-emergency may result in finding dangerous or potentially dangerous conditions that require emergency action.


There was a slight improvement from FY2019 to FY2020 in the percentage of emergency responses that meet the established time standards for the specific type of response. For 2020, public safety departments have been working directly in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, which may impact this measure. Other factors that may impact this measure include personnel staffing, attrition, and response to public demonstrations that occurred during the summer.  
Note: To see the underlying data for this chart, please select the "View Source Data" link.

Additional Measure Insights

Department Responses by Fiscal Year

This graph shows the total number of emergencies, the number of emergencies responded to on time, and the number of emergencies not responded to on time for each department. 

Use the filter on the top right corner of the graph to view by department. 
Trending insights by departments contributing data to this measure:
AUSTIN CODE DEPARTMENT: The Austin Code Department utilizes the Code Enforcement Response Matrix (C-TERM), an automated system, to determine call priorities and set clear expectations for response times to customer concerns. Response times are based on a variety of factors, including time-sensitivity and risks to life safety. For FY2020, the department response rate was 91%, a significant increase from the response rate of 71% in FY2019.   
EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES (EMS): EMS responses are based on the dispatch of the closest ambulance to the incident. Priority 2 - 5 calls may have an ambulance diverted to a Priority 1 if that available ambulance is closer to the Priority 1 call. EMS is currently meeting its time goals for Priorities 2 - 5. EMS was below goal for Priority 1 calls in FY2020 at 87%, but is actively exploring opportunities to improve this measure, such as  relocating and adding more ambulances to cover geographic areas that are not meeting response time goals. EMS is not currently meeting this target in part due to increased call volume, extended triage due to COVID-19, traffic congestion, and limited resources.
FIRE: In FY2020, Austin Fire Department (AFD) responded to emergency incidents within 8 minutes, 78.3% of the time. Within the core of the city, AFD has several fire stations within close proximity of each other, which allows AFD to have adequate backup unit coverage. When moving further into the periphery of the city, stations are further apart from each other and there is not as much depth of fire stations. Therefore, as a result, some areas within the periphery of the city are experiencing longer response times. Other factors that contribute to longer response times include distance from fire stations, road connectivity, and traffic congestion. As the City continues to build new fire stations, per City Council Resolution No.20180524-035, the department anticipates continuous improvement in response times. During the summer of 2020, the Del Valle/Moore’s Crossing Fire/EMS station was completed and is currently in operation.
POLICE: In FY2020, Austin Police Department (APD) was not on target for this measure. Factors affecting this measure include increased call volume, increased amount of time spent on calls, frontline staffing shortages, and personnel overtime.  APD’s emergency calls included in this measure are for Priority 0 (Priority zero or P0) and Priority 1 (P1).  For FY2020, the department response rate was 40% for Priority 0 calls and 59% for Priority 1 calls.
WATER: Austin Water continued to respond to water and wastewater emergencies within the expected parameters in FY2018, FY2019, and FY2020. In FY2020, Austin Water’s response rate for water related emergencies was 91.4% and 93.4% for wastewater related emergencies.
In addition to the five departments represented in this data set - Austin Code, Austin Police, Austin Fire, Emergency Medical Services and Austin Water - the Watershed Protection Department (WPD) and Austin Energy (AE) respond to multiple types of emergencies. 
WATERSHED PROTECTION DEPARTMENT (WPD) responds to after-hour service calls, such as requests to retrieve items (e.g., keys, phones) dropped in storm drain inlets as well as monitoring and closing low-water crossings during storms; investigating failing infrastructure; operating the Waller Creek Tunnel in wet weather conditions; and mitigating spills of hazardous materials.  For the Waller Creek Tunnel, staff have a defined target of arriving at the tunnel inlet facility within one hour after the flow in Waller Creek at 23rd Street exceeds 500 cubic feet per second. For Spills Response, staff have a defined target of responding within one hour for events that pose an active and immediate threat to water quality. Both targets are currently internal goals for the department and have not been adopted as formal performance measures. 
AUSTIN ENERGY responds to power outages, downed power lines, calls about unsafe equipment, and issues that disrupt the safe delivery of energy to Austin residents. The utility has operational/dispatch priorities for emergency response. Highest priorities (those that come before electric restorations) include, responding to fire and police requests for assistance and to responding to life threatening situations. If Austin Energy field personnel are overtaxed with high priority emergency requests, a standing process is triggered so that additional internal and/or contractor resources are called in to provide support. With the exception of those highest priorities, outages and restorations are measured through the System Average Interruption Duration Index (SAIDI) and System Average Interruption Frequency Index (SAIFI). Performance information for SAIDI and SAIFI is located in Austin Energy's Annual Performance Report, and the raw data within this report can be accessed here:

Measure Details and Definition

1) Definition: This is a measure of how often the City of Austin responds to emergencies on time.
2) Calculation method: The percentage for this measure was calculated by dividing the number of emergencies responded to on time by the total number of emergencies.
3) Data Collection Process: The data and narratives for this measure are collected annually by tracking systems within the following departments: Austin Code, Austin Energy, Austin Fire, Austin Police, Austin Water, Emergency Medical Services, and Watershed Protection.  Data includes emergencies under the criteria defined below.

Austin Code Department:
Priority 1 calls, defined as “Imminent Danger and Life Safety” concerns, are responded to within one hour and include Emergency Operations Center (EOC) activated cases including natural disasters, emergency responses, structural failures, evacuations and displacements. 
Priority 2 calls, defined as “High-Risk Hazards and Time Sensitive” concerns, are responded to within 24 hours and include Special Events-related code enforcement on temporary structures, over occupancy and blocked egress; open and/or accessible dangerous buildings and pools; potentially dangerous nuisances; occupied substandard conditions with reported plumbing, electric, gas and/or structural failures; and short term rentals. 
Austin Fire Department:
Priority 1 incidents as a major life threatening event.  These calls include, but are not limited to: Structure fires, outdoor fires, rescues (i.e. cave, technical, and water rescues), hazardous materials incidents, and medical incidents such as Unconscious Priority 1, Respiratory Priority 1 and Cardiac Arrest.

Priority 2 incidents are classified as a major life threatening event including, but not limited to, Chest Pain Priority 2, Respiratory Priority 2 and Seizure Priority 2. 

Priority 3 incidents are considered potentially life threatening and include Medical Assist Priority 3, Request Assistance EMS and Syncopal Episode
(fainting or loss of consciousness). 

Priority 4  incidents are usually considered a non-life threatening event such as a traffic injury (traffic accident with minor injuries), Sick Priority 4 or Fall Priority 4. 

Priority 5 incidents are considered non-life threatening and include, but are not limited to Fall Priority 5, Sick Priority 5 and Back Pain Priority 5.
Austin Police Department:
Priority 0: Emergency Calls (7:21)
*Assist Code 3, Attempted Suicide HS, Bomb HS, Burglary HS, Crash HS, Disturbance HS, Gun HS, Kidnapping HS, Missing HS, Officer Needs Assistance HS, Pedestrian on High Speed Roadway, Prowler HS , *Public Safety Assist Code 3, Robbery HS, Sex Crime HS, Shoot/Stab HS, Traffic Hazard HS, WMD CBRNE HS, Wrong Way Motorist on HSR
Priority 1: Urgent Calls (9:30)
Airport Assist, Alarm DV (Domestic Violence), Alarm - Glass Break, Alarm GPS Violation, Alarm Robbery, Bomb Threat Urgent, Check Welfare Urgent, Disturbance Urgent, Disturbance Vehicle Urgent, Gun Urgent, Manpads, Nature Unknown Urgent, Public Safety Assist Urgent, Robbery Urgent, Sex Crime Urgent, Shoot-Stab Urgent, Shots Fired
Emergency Medical Services:
Priority 1: (10 minutes) Medical Priority Dispatch (MPD) ECHO  - First Response and Paramedic Ambulance – No Diversion
Cardiac Arrest, Respiratory Arrest, Ineffective Breathing, Unconscious, Life Threatening Rescue Conditions (Swiftwater Rescue, HazMat)

Priority 2: (12 minutes) MPD DELTA- First Response and Paramedic Ambulance
Significant signs and Symptoms (Altered Mentation, Severe Hemorrhage, Cerebrovascular accident (CVA), Electrocution, etc.)

Priority 3: (14 minutes) MPD CHARLIE – First Response and Paramedic Ambulance.
ETA Modifier in City of Austin. If Medic Unit ETA is >4:59 Paramedic Ambulance response only without First Responders; Non-Life Threatening Complaints with Potential for Complications or additional personnel requirements (“Routine” Collisions, Generalized Sickness with Cardiac History

Priority 4: (16-18 minutes)MPD BRAVO – Paramedic Ambulance Only –
Non-life Threatening Complaints and no significant signs, symptoms, or history (Generalized Sickness, Abdominal Pain)

Priority 5: (18-20 minutes) MPD ALPHA – Ambulance Only –
Non-Life Threatening Complaints without Significant Signs, Symptoms or Pertinent History and whose illness/injury is isolated (Hand Fracture, Cramps, Earache, Surface Wound, etc); “Routine” Emergency Transfers

Priority 6: Special Events

Priority 7: Public Service / Information Only Calls
9-1-1 Caller requesting General Information, Non-Medical/Trauma Responses – (Medical Equipment Checks, Retrieve EMS Equipment left at a scene, etc)

Priority 8: Referred
Incidents referred to other agencies or entities with no response from A/TCEMS

All wastewater emergency-type calls are categorized as Priority 1 due to the possibility of a wastewater overflow. 
Priority 1 calls regard “sanitary sewer overflow” concerns are responded to within 1 hour or less and include “Emergency Type” categories for: Sanitary sewer overflow, odor from sewer line, and special billing – sanitary sewer overflow.
Priority 1 calls regard “priority leak” concerns are responded to within 3 hours or less and include “Emergency Type” categories for: Leaking air release value, leaking fire hydrant, leaking fire line, leaking valve, leaking water meter, leaking water service, leaking / check city cut-off, valve leak, water main leak, water meter leak, and water service leak.
4) Measure Target Calculation: a target for this measure has not been established
5) Frequency Measure is Reported: Annually (Fiscal Year)

Date page was last updated: May 2021