Percent of Emergency Incidents where the Amount of Time Between Call Receipt and the Arrival of AFD Unit is 8 Minutes or Less
This measure provides an overall picture of response time to fire and medical emergencies, from phone pick-up at Austin Fire Department (AFD) or Emergency Medical Services (EMS) dispatch centers to arrival of the first AFD unit on scene.
For each incident, total response time is calculated as first unit arrival minus time of initial phone pickup at the EMS or AFD dispatch center. The few seconds of time between the initial 911 call and the transfer to EMS or AFD dispatch is not included in the total time. The measure result is obtained by dividing the number of incidents with response times of 8 minutes or less by the total number of incidents with valid data. The selection criteria exclude non-emergencies, requests for assistance by law enforcement agencies, and responses outside the AFD service area.
FY 2015-16 Results
AFD responded to emergency incidents within 8 minutes, 83% of the time.
Assessment of Results
In FY 2014-15, AFD established a long-term goal of having its first-in units arrive within 8 minutes of call receipt in 90% of emergency incidents to better align with fire industry standards. In an effort to reach this target, AFD has begun to gradually increase the yearly goals. The increased goal this year was not met for a variety of reasons including the growing population, increased traffic, and distance.
In May of FY 2014-15, Austin/Travis County EMS made a change within the Computer Aided Dispatch system (CAD) to no longer assign fire units to lower priority medical incidents if the medic unit is within 5 minutes of the incident. This change within CAD significantly reduced AFD’s requests for service within the City of Austin for emergency incidents by approximately 1.3 percent. By reducing the overall call volume for AFD units, the apparatus (vehicle/truck) is able to remain at the station for higher priority calls. While this change did not immediately improve our response times, we expect that it will have a positive impact in the long-term.
While AFD strives to provide the best service delivery throughout all areas of the City, the challenges to maintaining adequate unit response times will continue to grow as the City expands geographically and increases in both population and traffic. In the summer of FY 2015-16, AFD staffed an apparatus at the Shady Hollow Fire Station located in District 8. This additional unit in South Austin helped relieve the surrounding stations’ workload as well as improve response times for residents in South Austin; however, there is still a great need for additional stations to serve residents in southeast and southwest Austin. AFD continues to monitor and assess its service delivery and mitigate risks if response times approach unacceptable levels.
For more information, contact Brian Tanzola, Assistant Chief, (512) 974-0148.