Show/Hide

The City of Boulder welcomes your feedback. Use our Inquire Boulder customer service tool to tell us what’s on your mind.

  • Participate & Engage
  • Doing Business Over
  • Inquire Boulder
  • Explore Boulder
  • Contact City Council
  • Open Data Catalog
  • Public Safety
  • Emergency Alert Sign Up
  • Online Records Access

Fire Department Emergency Response Time

Fire Department Emergency Response Time

Definition

Fire emergency response time is measured from the time the 9-1-1 call is received to the moment when the first unit arrives on the scene. Fire emergeny response time (also described as total response time) is composed of 3 main components: alarm handling time , which is the time a call is received at the 911 center to the time of dispatch; turnout time , which is the time it takes responders to don protective gear and begin responding in their vehicle(s); and travel time , which is the time it takes from the vehicle rolling to arrival on the scene. Total response time is the measurement displayed here in the dashboard. 

Target

Total response time of 6 minutes or less, 90% of the time for all emergency calls. This target is based on national best practices and the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan.

Significance

Brain death can occur in 6 minutes or less in cardiac arrest incidents and a house fire can create untenable conditions in a home within the same timeframe. Consequently, quicker response times improve the likelihood of better outcomes for patients and fire victims alike.

Trend

Call volume has fluctuated over the most recent 5-year period principally due to a change in how 911 calls have been dispatched. Priority dispatching, introduced in late 2013, was intended to better match response units with the type of call. Under the new system, the 911 dispatcher sends only an ambulance or only a fire truck depending on the nature of the emergency rather than multiple vehicles for all calls. This has allowed fire companies to remain in service and available for other emergencies. Better alarm handling and more available units have contributed to decreasing total response times in 2015 and 2016. The city installed a new station alerting system for its 7 stations in September 2017.  The new system is intended to reduce both alarm handling time and turnout time; overall response time is expected to decrease by 30 seconds or more. Other deployment and response protocols are being explored to further reduce total response times.

This data is provided by the City of Boulder's Fire Rescue Department. This page will be updated quarterly.

View Full Site