Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Fire station optimization: Part 3

Using GIS and five years' historical data, the workgroup studying how to optimize fire station locations produced three options, that call for building either three or four new fire stations. These new fire stations would be staffed using one of two ways: either moving an existing company from its current station to a new location, or;  breaking apart double companies from a station that currently houses both an engine and a truck.  In essence, these plans spread out LF&R's current resources to cover a larger geographic area, but without adding personnel and in a way designed to preserve unit reliability and effective response force to the greatest extent possible.

To be sure, Lincoln will need to add entirely new resources at some point in time (particularly medical resources.) But any of the three options presented by the workgroup provide a significant increment of improvement in our current configuration until that future tipping point.  The most aggressive capital construction plan, "Option A," builds four new stations, which we have labelled as C, K, M, and N--just to avoid confusion with the numbers used to designate the current fire stations.  Option A closes current stations 10, at 1440 Adams St., and Station 12 at 84th and South Street.

This final map shows the much larger area that falls into the pink polygon that represents four minutes travel time from fire stations in this new configuration.  The 4,182 yellow dots that were outside four minutes in 2010-2011, are now mostly covered.  Compare this map with the previous post, and note how much better we would now be positioned to cover some of those dark gray areas where Lincoln will be growing in the next 25 years.

Click image for larger view
Overall, building these four fire stations and redeploying existing staff and equipment would result in a 60% reduction in the number of addresses inside the city limits but currently more than four minutes travel time from a fire station.  That's a pretty nice increase in coverage.  The other two options are smaller capital improvement plans that build three new stations instead of four, but they both still represent a significant improvement in coverage. In today's dollars, it would cost about $2 million (plus the cost of land acquisition, if necessary) to build each fire station.

Fire station optimization: Part 1
Fire station optimization: Part 2
Fire station optimization: Part 3


Anonymous said...

Do the costs for the new stations take into account the revenue realized from the sale of the old stations? That could help to significantly cut the overall expenditure.

Tom Casady said...


No, but you are correct, that would offset at least a little bit of the cost of new land and facilities.

Anonymous said...

Are you considering peak activity units, especially regarding your medical unit needs? Sometimes moving units that aren't quite in optimal locations during the peak times can make a significant difference in response times.

Tom Casady said...


Definitely in the mix, as our capabilities to do quality spatial-temporal analysis continues to improve. I think dynamic deployment has some real potential. This is done routinely in policing, where departments endeavor to match the staffing to the days, times, and areas where the workload demand and the risk of suppressible crime and disorder is greatest.

Anonymous said...

One thing I have wondered about is EMS 1. That unit comes out Station 1, doesn't it?

This unit goes all over town on a variety of calls. Wouldn't it be more prudent to have two EMS supervisors on duty, much like having to Battalion Chiefs?

I'm thinking it would cut down on travel time, and perhaps be a little safer not having to drive as far. Is there or has there been any consideration of two EMS units?

Tom Casady said...


EMS 1 is stationed at Fire Station 9, N. Cotner and Vine. Staffing two EMS supervisors would be a huge expense, requiring three new positions.

Anonymous said...

I am not sure if I completely follow what your main goal is. Are you looking to augment the 4 minute response for medical calls or all calls?

Having long thought the far north end and southeast are not well covered as far as response times, it seems you might be able to piggy back with nearby rural departments.

Raymond has a station which is soon to be, if not already, inside the city as is the current situation with both southeast rural department stations.

Why not share facilities by adding to their existing buildings for LFR occupancy?

If you do separate multiple company stations like station 5,7 or 8 with a medic, truck and engine (sta 1. is too busy to consider splitting up) would this mean you would be sending an ALS truck and medic to medical calls rather than an ALS engine? If so, what does that do to your operational costs per response?

Tom Casady said...


All calls, not just medical. Raymond is too far out to accomplish the coverage profile we would get by moving 10 up to Superior Street, but both SE Rural stations are in good locations for us, and in there is enough land, that's certainly worth considering. Although not covered in this Series, we are also experimenting with an alternate response vehicle for truck companies, which could be used on at least some medical runs. Obviously, the operating cost of a truck is more than an engine, but on the other hand, separating these companies can give us a greater reach without adding more staff. Ultimately, I'd like the company officer to be able to choose the most appropriate apparatus for the job at hand. Equipment isn't cheap, but our real cost is personnel.