"Understanding fire department response times requires the evaluation of the dispatch, turnout, and travel time components, each of which affects the ability of an organization to have a positive impact on the outcome of an emergency. The problem was that the South Metro Fire Rescue Authority's (SMFRA) turnout times exceeded the criteria of the Commission on Fire Accreditation International. The purpose of this research was to conduct a detailed analysis of current turnout time performance in order to identify where improvement efforts should be focused. The research questions were (a) what are the detailed turnout times for SMFRA, (b) to what extent do technical factors contribute to extended turnout times at SMFRA, (c) to what extent do behavioral factors contribute to extended turnout times at SMFRA, and (d) what is a reasonable turnout time standard for SMFRA? A descriptive research method was utilized that included an analysis of part turnout time data and a questionnaire. Common factors were derived from the literature and grouped into 3 technical factors (data transferring systems, facilities, and reaction processes) and 2 behavioral factors (perception and motivation). Comparisons were conducted of previous years' performance, station size, type of call, time of day, call volume, type of apparatus, location at time of dispatch, and personnel assigned to upper- and lower-performing apparatus. Only slight correlations were found between turnout times and station size (r=.19) or call volume (r=.22). Technology used in data transferring systems was shown to have the greatest benefit to turnout times. The questionnaire found that personnel perceptions did not match actual performance and that peer influence, personal satisfaction, and the potential outcome of the call were the biggest motivators. Recommendations included standardizing station alerting systems, adopting a new turnout time standard, and starting a focused campaign to improve turnout times."
United States Fire Administration: http://www.usfa.fema.gov/