Rescue Driving: The Keys to Reduced Response Time

Written by Eric Jones,

In rescue operations, the time required to arrive on site from the moment of the first call is a critical measure of effectiveness. First responders work tirelessly to reduce response time which means more lives are saved and injuries can be treated before they become life threatening.

What are the components of response time?

The speed of response can be impacted by many variables, some of those are outside of our control. However, the following three key components can be studied and improved upon.

  • Dispatch time – This is the time it takes for an incoming call to dispatch to be routed to the responding unit.
  • Turnout time – Once the unit receives the call, this is the amount of time required for their response apparatus to depart from the station.
  • Travel time – The time it takes for the responding apparatus to reach its destination once it has left the facility.

What can be done to reduce response time?

Dispatch time is outside of the scope of the rescue driver since he or she is not yet aware of an incident. The time saving potential of this segment is dependent upon the dispatchers ability to understand the location and the exact nature of the issue – followed by the efficient notification of an appropriate unit. Training and computerized hi-tech systems can contribute to reduced dispatch time.

Reducing turnout time is much about awareness and behavior. First responders train regularly to minimize the time required to exit the facility. The industry is constantly looking for product innovations and continuous improvement techniques to reduce turnout time as much as possible.

Travel times vary greatly and are often different from one unit’s dispatch point to the next. Heavy traffic, weather and distance can all have a major impact on travel. You may be thinking that the most intuitive way to reduce travel time is to drive as fast as possible. However, rescue drivers are always at risk of being involved in an accident on the way to their destination even when traveling at moderate speeds. Technology such as GPS and AVL is being utilized to maximize the on road efficiency of responding units.

Is technology the key?

The short answer is yes and no. We know that technological advances can solve problems and make operations more efficient. Technology is often the key to complex issues that have previously eluded our ability to manage. However, reliance upon technology can leave us vulnerable when it malfunctions or becomes unavailable for other reasons. The right solution is a mix of continuous operational improvement and prudent technological investments.

We all know that eventually saving lives comes down to physically getting to the scene of the incident. Outside factors that technology alone can’t solve are often what makes the difference in this portion of the overall response time. Slippery roads, heavy traffic and construction delays can all have an impact on response time.

Check out our guide to driving efficiently in winter weather for more information on how Onspot helps drivers arrive quickly and safely to their destination.

5 ways to improve performance in slippery conditions


Rescue Vehicles

Eric Jones

About Eric Jones

Eric is the Global Sales Director for the Onspot brand. He has over 15 years of industry experience and received an MBA from Ball State University. Eric enjoys spending time with his wife and two children and being active outdoors. On the weekend, you can normally find Eric enjoying a craft beer with food sizzling on the grill.


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