Percent of Time PFA Fire Personnel are on Scene Within 7 Minutes 20 Seconds in the Urban Area
The 90th percentile time in the second quarter of 2023 in the urban area (City of Fort Collins GMA) was 09:08 with an overall increase of incidents over the second quarter of 2022 (2022 = 6,174 / 2022 = 6,209 increase of 0.57%). The overall benchmark goal for the PFA Standards of Cover is to respond to emergent calls within the urban area is 7:20 minutes 90 percent of the time. This is a lofty goal that is designed to be difficult to achieve. This represents a 69.4% successful completion of this goal.
Several system changes have contributed to the performance of PFA units on this measure. PFA has seen an increase in all emergent call processing times with the re-establishment of Emergency Medical Dispatching (EMD). This process involves call screening through a nationally recognized protocol (software provided by the Larimer Emergency Telephone Authority, LETA) that allows for dispatchers to take emergency action with callers over the phone such as directing and coaching callers to provide Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). This contributes to PFA’s mission as “prompt” response begins with the call to 911. PFA and FC911 moved away from EMD and send in 2015 to specifically improve call processing (time from receiving the call in dispatch to sending response units) which is one of three components of total response time (call processing + turn out + travel = total response time). The need to return to EMD and send is for overall system efficiency and to “right size the response”. This involves sending more efficient units to specific incident types.
The second system change was in the definition/designation of the urban and rural response zones. The urban area is larger now moving from 48 square miles to 62 square miles. This includes far northeast Fort Collins which doesn’t currently have a fire station. The Center for Public Safety Excellence (CPSE) removed the suburban designation from its accreditation model. Most of the old suburban area became urban. The PFA has continued to develop a specific policy on the urban and rural designations which are:
Urban Zone: Within Fort Collins and Timnath city limits. Residential, commercial, and industrial zoning. 112 or more addresses per quarter mile. Rural Zone: Agricultural, rural residential, and open space. Small areas surrounded by an opposing zone are incorporated into the surrounding zone.
The PFA Standards of Cover compliance model as adopted by the Poudre Fire Authority Board of Directors designates the plan for improvement. The recommendations of the 2020 Community Risk Assessment and Standards of Cover specify the following analysis. Items two through five have the potential to improve this measure:
1) Analyze system improvement with an additional company and determine the optimal location.
- In January of 2023, the Poudre Fire Authority added a third support company (truck functions) to the system, operating out of Station 4. Ongoing analysis will be conducted to determine overall effectiveness of this apparatus and impacts to system reliability.
2) Analyze the impact of an additional RAM unit in the south/southeast portion of the jurisdiction.
- In 2022 the single, existing RAM in the system was deployed to split their time between the south part of the system in the morning hours and north part of the system in the afternoon and evening hours. Ongoing analysis will help determine ongoing effectiveness and the needs for additional RAM units in the system.
3) Analyze the impact of an additional static planning zone in the southwest or western portion of the jurisdiction.
4) Analyze the optimal static planning zone station location in the northeast portion of the jurisdiction.
5) Analyze the impact of the current training schedules and rotations to ensure optimal coverage of the entire jurisdiction.
PFA outcomes measures (specifically flashover and fire loss data as well as cardiac arrest survivability) continue to be at a high level. The cost of improving response time performance will need to be weighed against possible improvements in outcomes.