Standards of Response
In order to perform a complete assessment of a community's ability to respond to specific emergencies, National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1710 that community must establish standards for itself. These standards must be made based on an educated understanding of the risk faced both from the source and from the community.
In an emergency, time is of the essence. Whether it's a fire or a medical emergency, minutes count. Timely response is a critical measure of fire department performance.
The NFPA has established response time criteria for fire departments. The criteria accounts for whether the fire department is urban or rural and whether it is a career, volunteer or combination department.
NFPA 1710 outlines Standards for the Organization and Deployment of Fire Suppression Operations, Emergency Medical Operations, and Special Operations to the Public by Career Fire Departments. NFPA 1720 provides similar but more lenient standards for volunteer fire departments.
Enforcing Stricter Standards
As a combination fire department, the Edwardsville Fire Department (EFD) is required only to follow the standards outlined in NFPA 1720. However, in an effort to better serve our community, we aspire to meet or exceed the stricter NFPA 1710 standards.
NFPA 1710 is both broad and detailed in the recommended standards of response. It describes factors from fire department organization, to public communication, to all hazards responses on land and sea, to mutual aid agreements, timeliness of emergency response and much more.
A core element of NFPA 1710 is the timeliness of emergency response. Specific time objectives for each stage of emergency response are clearly defined and listed in the document. The stages of emergency response to are as follows:
One minute (60 seconds) is allotted for turnout time. This defines the period of time after a station receives an audible fire alarm tone and the moment when firefighters are in their apparatus and are under way.
- Four minutes (240 seconds) or less for the arrival of the first arriving engine company at a fire suppression incident and/or 8 minutes (480 seconds) or less for the deployment of a full first alarm assignment at a fire suppression incident.
- Four minutes (240 seconds) or less for the arrival of a unit with first responder or higher level capability at an emergency medical incident.
- Eight minutes (480 seconds) or less for the arrival of an advanced life support (paramedic) unit at an emergency medical incident, where this service is provided by the fire department.
According to NFPA 1710, "The fire department shall establish a performance objective of not less than 90% for the achievement of each response time objective specified..."