89.9% of first ALS unit arrival times fall below this time. The 90th percentile baseline goals are determined by MCFRS using past performance data and designed to conform to response time guidelines published by the Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI) in FESSAM 8th Edition.

Performance trends

Why is this measure important?

Response time is a common and useful metric to measure the performance of fire, rescue and emergency medical services. Performance can be compared to benchmark goals established by MCFRS as well as standards and best-practices established by the Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI), National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and American Heart Association (AHA), among others. Quick response to Advanced Life Support (ALS) incidents is crucial because ALS patients have life-threatening medical conditions that require prompt intervention by ALS providers in order to save lives and minimize the long-term, adverse effects of the conditions at hand.

Montgomery County population zones

Montgomery County has four population density zones. MCFRS sets response time goals based on the zones shown below. Rural areas are shown in green.

Factors contributing to current performance

  • On 4/15/18, all remaining three-person engines (i.e., E702, E720) were upgraded to four-person Paramedic Engines, and an ALS chase car (ALS725) was placed in service at Station 25. [Every fire-rescue station in Montgomery County now offers paramedic services.]
  • New roads offering more routes of travel (e.g., in the Cabin Branch area of Clarksburg) that help improve response time.

Factors restricting performance improvement

  • Call processing times exceeding standards.
  • Travel time impacted by weather, traffic, and traffic-calming devices.
  • Lack of four-person ALS staffing on 2 engines and 21 other primary suppression units (rescue squads and aerials) during most of FY18. [Four-person ALS staffing of the last two remaining three-person engines began on 4/15/18.]
  • Lack of peak-demand ALS resources in high call load areas.
  • Increased demand for service (1,589 additional ALS incidents, a 3.9% increase) compared to FY17.

Performance improvement plan

  • Reduce response time by: 1) implementing universal call-takers and EMS call-taking protocol systems to improve call-processing/dispatch time; 2) improving turnout time.
  • Reduction in travel time through strategically placed stations/resources and, whenever practicable, use of response routes lacking traffic-calming devices.
  • Strategic deployment of paramedic chase units in place of medic units to improve efficiency of ALS resources.


Average arrival time for first advanced life support (ALS) unit in rural areas of the county

90th percentile arrival time for ALS2 calls in rural areas of the county

ALS2 (Advance Life Support 2) calls are the highest level of emergency medical need.