Response times can be broken down into the following component parts:
1. Call-handling time
2. Time taken to get ready and leave the station.
3. Travel time.
At each stage, there are factors that can delay the response. The following list gives some examples as to what may affect response times but is by no means exhaustive.
Sussex Control Centre may not be able to immediately ascertain the location of an incident for a number of reasons including poor phone signals making it difficult to understand the caller, the caller doesn’t know the address or perhaps there being a language barrier
Call-handling time also increases if we hand the call to another Fire and Rescue Service to deal with or if an incident is handed to us.
There are also times where we will need to ask the caller questions to ensure that there definitely is a fire and it's not a false alarm.
2.Time taken to get ready and leave the station.
We employ on call (or retained) firefighters at a number of our fire stations. They typically need to live/work within 5 minutes of fire station. When there is an emergency, they have to come to the station first travelling at normal road speeds. This journey can be delayed affected by factors including traffic, road works and the weather.
Whether we already have firefighters on our station or whether they are on call, they still need to get ready once they have been alerted to an emergency. They have to put on their protective clothing and get into the fire engine before checking they know where they are going. This is known as the “turn out” time and can vary.
Travel time can vary by time of day, day of week, month of year for many reasons – the school run, rush hour, tree falls, flooding and the narrow roads making it difficult to overtake if needed. We may not have been given an exact address or we may have problems accessing the area.