Health & Safety

West Palm Beach Fire Rescue Average Emergency Response Times

Below Target Below Target

7:55

minutes, average
Result for Sep-17

Below Target Below Target

Health & Safety

West Palm Beach Fire Rescue Average Emergency Response Times

Below Target Below Target

7:55

minutes, average
Result for Sep-17

Measure Description

This indicator shows the time it takes from the activation of the 9-1-1 system to the arrival of the first West Palm Beach Fire Rescue unit. Response time is comprised of three factors: alarm handling time, turnout time and travel time. The data is received monthly from Palm Beach County Fire Rescue Dispatch. The calls are documented in the Intergraph System each time a 9-1-1 call is received. The target emergency response time is 6 minutes or less, 90% of the time. This target is based on National Fire Protection Standard 1710.

Measure Importance

Having quick response times creates better outcomes for medical patients. When the heart stops, brain death can occur in as little as 4-6 minutes. For every minute that passes, a fire grows hotter and more dangerous. Firefighters need to be on scene quickly to control fire spread and minimize the loss from disasters both small and large.

Measure Chart

Explanation of Performance

The average response time for the Fire Department for 2017 was 6:27 which falls below our target expectation.  Over the past 10 years, average travel times from the station to each emergency have increased by 42 seconds. During that same time frame, call volume increased 43.8%.  West Palm Beach Fire Rescue reviews response times by each station's response zone or region of the city.  In recent years, longer than acceptable response times were occurring in the Haverhill and Roebuck Road corridors. When a temporary fire station opened in 2016 to improve those times, we saw immediate improvement with an average 1:49 faster responses to that zone.
                                                                                                                           
The September 2017 data seems to be an outlier.  We believe this higher than average response time is due to the impacts from Hurricane Irma. Debris covered roadways, downed power lines and high call volume were contributors. The long term goal is to reduce Fire Department response times citywide. Potential solutions include adding additional firefighters and emergency vehicles to meet the demands of a growing city, adding timers in the stations for firefighters to monitor their turnout time and ensuring compliance with mutual and automatic aid agreements. Proper placement of Fire Stations and assignment of emergency response zones throughout the City will help to provide efficient utilization of emergency vehicles.

Status Indicator Definitions
On Target: Meets or exceeds expected performance
Watch: Falls close to expected performance
Below Target: Does not meet expectation; being monitored for improvement
Other Data: Data gathering only, no target

City of West Palm Beach | 401 Clematis Street | West Palm Beach, FL 33401 | 561.822.2222