Red Deer City council adopts provincial standards for fire response

Previous response time guidelines dated back to 2002

At tonight’s regular City council meeting, council formally adopted the High Intensity Residential Fires (HIRF) response time guidelines for Red Deer Emergency Services.

The HIRF standards call for a total response time of 10 minutes 90% of the time, including call handling, assembly or chute time, travel time and set up. Red Deer Emergency Services has been following the HIRF guideline since 2014 to comply with the Alberta Building Code, and has been meeting the response time guideline since then.

“The HIRF guidelines tell us we need to be on scene and have water on the fire within 10 minutes of receiving the initial call,” said Brian Makey, Emergency Services manager. “Our previous local guidelines only specified travel time, which is just one component of response times; it’s important that we look at how we’re responding from the minute the call comes in to when we’re set up and ready to fight the fire so we can provide the best possible outcome for citizens.”

The previous response guideline for fire calls, which dates back to 2002, specified only travel time as follows: four/six/eight minutes, 90/75/75% of the time. This meant the first responding vehicle should arrive on scene within four minutes, 90% of the time; a second within six minutes 75% of the time; and the third within eight minutes 75% of the time. However, it’s important to note this does not include the time for call handling, assembly/chute time (the time from the notification sounds in the station until when the first vehicle leaves the station), and set up.

“Under the previous standard, our total response time was around 11 minutes,” said Makey. “With the introduction of the HIRF standards, which also triggered the relocation of Stations 3 and 4, we are consistently achieving a response time of 10 minutes.”

– Fawcett