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Measuring Fire Dispatch Performance. Jim Long, Northwest Fire District Debbie Gilligan, First Watch Inc. Performance Measures. Absolute zero (0 K) equivalent to −273.15 °C (−459.67 °F).

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Measuring fire dispatch performance

Measuring Fire Dispatch Performance

Jim Long, Northwest Fire District

Debbie Gilligan, First Watch Inc

Performance measures
Performance Measures

Absolute zero (0 K) equivalent to −273.15 °C (−459.67 °F).

Lord Kelvin was quoted as saying – “When you cannot measure what you are speaking about, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meager and unsatisfactory kind, it may be the beginning of Knowledge, but you have scarcely in your thoughts advanced to a stage of science, whatever the matter may be.”

(CFAI, 1999,pp. 11-12)

Where do we begin
Where Do We Begin?

  • Identify your team / empower your experts

  • Define & understand your goals

  • Define what is important to measure

  • What can be accomplished with the resources and tools you have today?

  • Evaluate how well you are doing

  • Allow for periodic/incremental changes or “improvements”

  • How will you measure change/improvements? effectiveness?

  • Measure, Refine, Adjust & Adapt……

Why measure
Why Measure?


Adjustment of Strategy or Tactics

Discover Patterns/Trends

Alert to Developing Situation (Real Time)

Public Scrutiny

Return on Investment

What s worth measuring
What’s Worth Measuring?

Elapsed Times?

Performance of an Action? (Or Not)

Distance Traveled?

Frequency of an Event

Distribution of a Type or Class

Success or Failure


Standards of cover
Standards of Cover

  • Accredited/Re-Accredited This Year

    • Central Yavapai Fire District

    • Glendal Fire Dept

    • Mesa Fire Dept

    • Northwest Fire District

Nfpa 1221 call answering
NFPA 1221 – Call Answering

From NFPA 1221 - 2010

  • 3.3.1* Alarm. A signal or message from a person or device indicating the existence of a fire, medical emergency, or other situation that requires action by an emergency response agency.

  • 7.4.1* Ninety-five percent of alarms received on emergency lines shall be answered within 15 seconds, and 99 percent of alarms shall be answered within 40 seconds. (For documentation requirements, see 12.5.2.)

  • Compliance with 7.4.1 shall be evaluated monthly using data from the previous month.

Nfpa 1221 call processing
NFPA 1221 – Call Processing

From NFPA 1221 - 2010

  • 7.4.2* Ninety-percent of emergency call processing and dispatching shall be completed within 60 seconds, and 99 percent of call processing and dispatching shall be completed within 90 seconds. (For documentation requirements, see 12.5.2.)

  • Compliance with 7.4.2 shall be evaluated monthly using data from the previous month.

Nfpa 1710 response
NFPA 1710 - Response

From NFPA 1710 - 2010 Call Processing Time. See, Dispatch Time.* Dispatch Time.The point of receipt of the emergency alarm at the public safety answering point to the point where sufficient information is known to the dispatcher and applicable units are notified of the emergency.

Nfpa 1221 comparison
NFPA 1221 Comparison

  • 2010 Edition

  • Answer –

    • 15 Sec 90%

    • 40 Sec 99%

  • Process

    • 60 Sec 90%

    • 90 Sec 99%

  • 2013 Edition (proposed)

  • Answer-

    • 15 Sec 90%

    • 40 Sec 99%

  • Process

    • 60 Sec 80%

    • 106 Sec 95%

    • Exceptions:

      • Language

      • TTY/TDD

      • Criminal Info

1221 what didn t make it in 2013
1221 - What Didn’t make it in 2013

A. The AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction) of the responding agency can allow certain types ofemergency calls to be excluded from the requirements of 7.4.2 that require

  • extra call interrogation time. All emergency calls of these types will be

  • identified and reviewed by the AHJ on a monthly basis. Such calls could include but are not limited to:

    • (3) Dispatch equipment malfunction

    • (4) Unusually high call volume due to unpredictable scenarios (weather events, earthquakes, etc.)

  • Exclusions should be reviewed and trends identified that need to be addressed for possible operational or technical solutions.

Percentile vs average
Percentile VS Average -

Response TimeThe Philadelphia Fire Department prides itself on an average response time of 4.5 minutes for Fire Engines and 6.5 minutes for Medic Units.

Defining performance times
Defining Performance Times

  • Clock Start….a controversial topic (Smoke & Mirrors)

    • Time First Received at 9-1-1 PSAP

    • Time First Received by Responding Agency (Secondary PSAP)

    • Time Certain Info Obtained

    • Time Dispatched

    • Time Unit En Route

  • Clock Stop (Pretty Definitive)

    • Unit Staged

    • Unit on Scene

    • Crew at Patient

What is process time
What is Process time?

  • Dispatch Time – Answer Time

    • Answer = When the last Ring is picked up.

      • Ani/Ali to CAD Dump

      • First Keystroke

      • Manual Entry

    • Dispatch =

      • The time the ERF (Emergency Response Facility)

        • ERU (Emergency Response Units)are Notified

        • Tones

        • Pagers,

        • Radio Transmission



  • Uses a RANGE you want a percentile OF

    • (Talley up the numbers of occurrences

    • Parameters

      • “=“ tells EXCEL there’s a Formula Coming


      • (paren to enclose parameters)

      • Range (Top cell, to bottom cell like A1:A200)

      • “,” next Parameter

      • Percent Value (.1 = 10%, .25=25%, etc)

Live performance data demo
Live Performance Data Demo

How to Look at Data in Excel

Analyitics packages
Analyitics Packages

Sources to monitor vs reasons to monitor
Sources to Monitor vs. Reasons to Monitor





































What data sources are available to monitor

Which data source contains that data that matters?

If one data source is good, is two better?

Real time monitoring first watch
Real Time Monitoring – First Watch

Live Presentation

Northwest Fire Data

Dispatch stuff worth measuring
Dispatch Stuff Worth Measuring?

Example data source: FEMA

More fire dispatch measures
More Fire Dispatch Measures

Example data source: FEMA

Even more stuff worth measuring
Even More Stuff Worth Measuring

Example data source: FEMA

More for mayor and council
More for Mayor and Council

Example data source: FEMA