Episode 39: Where Should We Put the Firehouse? ESRI Answers

Should we relocate the firehouse? This question is what Chief Lambel of the Mount Prospect fire department has been wrestling with for some time. In the past fire departments and cities relied on their assumption when deciding where the firehouse should be located. Today cities have access to a plethora of information that can help them make their decision. Chief Lambel takes Kevin through the process and what they discovered when they looked at the data.

One of the reasons Chief Lambel felt their firehouse needed to move was because of their response times north of their station. Their response times in this area was upward of 7 or 8 minutes. The NFPA 1710 standards require the initial arriving company’s response time to be within 4 minutes for 90% of calls. Chief Lambel knew, based on how the town was developing that in the future his fire department might not be within those standards. He had a hunch that moving the station north would improve the response times in the north, but he wasn’t sure if it was the right decision. To help him make this decision, he commissioned a study by the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association.

The Illinois Fire Chiefs Association employed ESRI software. ESRI software interpreted data using heat maps, the frequency of calls and call locations to determine the ideal location of the firehouse. The study confirmed that Mount Prospects response times would improve dramatically by moving north. Chief Lambel was quick to say that although his hunch was correct, he wouldn’t have moved the station without the data to back it up.