In particular, ACFD’s response times have been cut by 25 percent. These response times affect both funding levels and the insurance rates of city residents.
The main statistic that improved was “turnout time,” which is the time between the initial call and when the emergency vehicle leaves the fire station.
In 2016, ACFD’s average turnout time was three minutes, five seconds (3:05). So far in 2017, it has dropped to one minute, 29 seconds (1:29).
“We’ve got people shooting out the door,” said Fire Chief Bobby Wolfe.
In the first six months of 2016, the average response time for ACFD, which includes both fire and EMS calls, was 8:48. In the first six months of 2017, the average response time was cut to 6:34.
These calls include response times to mutual aid areas such as Strother Field and smaller townships such as Dexter.
Some of the year-over-year difference in response times is partially due to a dispatch error that occurred in 2016.
This error resulted in a single response time being more than 16 minutes, skewing the average dramatically.
However, due to a recent leadership change, errors by Cowley County Emergency Communications dispatchers largely have been eliminated.
Part of the training the dispatchers now take part in puts them in ride-along situations with the emergency departments they support. “They’re with us for 12 hours — they can see what we need,” Wolfe said.
“There’s noticeable improvement,” said Police Chief Dan Ward. “When we go to the (dispatch) director with something, he listens.”