Managing Volunteer Firefighter Response (ArcUser Online)

Using the OD cost matrix to model personnel availability
Emergency responders try to arrive on the scene of a fire or other emergency as quickly and safely as possible. Career firefighters respond on a 24/7 basis from fire stations or apparatus in the field. Volunteer responders, who include firefighters and emergency
medical technicians, typically respond from homes, workplaces, or random locations.
Depending on department policy and response parameters, volunteers may respond to incidents in privately owned vehicles (POVs) or drive in a POV to a nearby fire station and respond in emergency apparatus. The additional time required for a volunteer responder to travel to a station to pick up emergency apparatus must be factored into a response model. Volunteers are not always available on a consistent schedule, and this must be considered when mapping an effective firefighting force.
The ArcGIS Network Analyst extension has an Origin- Destination (OD) cost matrix function that allows public safety GIS personnel to accurately determine and map travel times and distances from volunteer locations to a fire station. The OD cost matrix also determines optimal apparatus travel time to historic incidents and to hypothetical or staged scenarios, thereby validating historic data and supporting the design of response alternatives.

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