To:                    Bryan Elliott, Tom Foley

 

From:                Dan Eggleston, Fire Rescue Chief

 

Date:                May 1, 2007

 

Subject:            Pantops – Fire Rescue Station Analysis

 

The justification to build the Pantops station is based on three primary goals:

 

1.       To support the County’s Land Use policy by providing a basic level of fire rescue services in the development areas[1].

2.       Position county fire rescue stations so as not to rely on the City for primary fire services in 2010.

3.       Achieve a higher quality of service currently not provided by the City.

 

During a previous budget work session, there appeared to be some questions regarding the need to continue planning for a fire rescue station in the Pantops development area. The questions centered around the need to adhere to 5 minute response time goal and whether timely services could be provided by Monticello FR or East Rivanna VFD.

 

Staff has researched the issue and has determined that:

 

1.       Based on research of national standards and like-sized communities, the 5 minute response time goal should remain a standard for development areas. The need to adhere to a 5 minute response time goal is supported based on the fact that the Pantops area is considered high risk due to age of population and facility types.

2.       Response time data shows that East Rivanna VFD, Monticello FR, or the City Fire cannot adequately cover the Pantops development area as a primary service provider. Response times from the aforementioned stations to the Pantops area range from 9-12 minutes.

3.       A 2-bay fire rescue station should be placed in the development area to meet the response time goals and backup services should be continued from East Rivanna VFD and Monticello FR.

 

Rational – 5 Minute Urban Response Time Goal

 

A 5 minute response time goal is a standard urban response time goal that was established by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the American Heart Association (AHA) for fire and EMS related calls.  The NFPA and AHA standards are based on an analysis of fire growth and survival rates from cardiac arrest. Most localities of similar size to Albemarle have adopted the 5 minute goal for urban areas.

 

National Fire Protection Association

5 minutes @ 90%

American Heart Association

5 minutes @ 90%

James City County

5 minutes @ 90%

Spotsylvania County

5 minutes @ 90%

York County

5 minutes @ 90%

 

Additional information regarding response time standards is listed in appendix A.

 


 

 

Pantops Risk Issues

 

The Pantops development area is considered a high risk area primarily due to the at risk population (over 27% of the Pantops population is over 65) and at risk facilities (640 elderly care units and a future 1+ million sq. ft. hospital).

 

For citizens 65 and older, the fire fatality rates are more than twice the national average. For those over 75, they jump to three times the national average, and for those over 85, they are four times the national average[2]. The majority of the Pantops senior citizens are living in elderly care facilities that have been constructed to meet recent building codes and include fire detection or suppression systems, but still pose a risk to the occupants. In a study of fires occurring in elderly care facilities, most of the injuries and deaths were attributed to relatively small fires that produced toxic fumes before fire detection or suppression devices were activated[3].

 

Additional risk information is included in appendix B.

 

Pantops Current Call Ratio

 

The 2006 response data shows that there were 858 emergency calls for service in the Pantops area. The ratio of the call types are listed below:

 

Fire Company Responses

(fires, accidents, critical EMS, etc.)

Ambulance Only Responses

(moderate to low priority EMS calls)

486

372

 

Current Fire Rescue Service Provided to Pantops – City Fire and East Rivanna VFD

 

The Pantops area is currently served on a primary basis by the City of Charlottesville under a fire service contract. Backup resources are provided by East Rivanna VFD. The following table shows that East Rivanna VFD or the City Fire reach the Pantops area within 9-10 minutes, well above our response time goal.

 

 

2006

 

2007

 YTD

 

Response Time @ 90%

Ability to Meet 5 Minute Goal

Response Time @ 90%

Ability to Meet 5 Minute Goal

 

East Rivanna VFD

 

12.5 min

4.35%

11.5 min

0%

East Rivanna VFD

(forecast based on daytime career staff)

10.5 min

4.76%

 

 

 

City Fire

 

9.0 min

 

25.99%

 

10.0 min

 

20.1%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Response time goal

5.0 min

90.0%

 

The response time data above shows that the average speed for City fire units along Route 250 is 33 mph. The 33 mph speed is due to the fact that the City must travel through 3 controlled intersections (McIntire, Long St, and Stony Point Rd) for calls to the center of Pantops. The average speed for East Rivanna units along Route 250 is 40.8 mph. The 40.8 mph speed is due to the fact that East Rivanna must travel through 2 intersections with stop signs (Steamer Dr/Glenmore, Glenmore/Rt. 250) and must travel through 4 controlled intersections (Milton Rd, Eastern I-64 on/off ramp, Western I-64 on/off ramp, and Peter Jefferson Parkway) for calls to the center of the Pantops.

 

Currently, the fire service contract with the City of Charlottesville cost the County approximately $600,000 annually. Based on an analysis conducted by the City/County consolidation consultant, it cost the City approximately $1,983,959 to provide fire services to the County. If the County decided to renegotiate the fire service contract with the City, it is likely that the cost will approach if not exceed $2,000,000 annually.

 

If the Board decides to end the fire contract with the City, 350 emergency calls in the Pantops area will need to be picked up by either East Rivanna VFD or Monticello FR.

 

Estimated Service Provided to Pantops – Monticello

 

During the previous budget work session, the Board questioned whether Monticello FR could adequately cover the Pantops area. Because Monticello FR is not currently part of the initial or backup response to Pantops, little response data is present. However, staff measured the distance from Monticello to the Pantops development area and determined that Monticello is about 1.5 miles further from the edge of the development area as compared to East Rivanna VFD. Therefore, Monticello FR would not meet the Pantops response time standards nor would they help to reduce response times compared to East Rivanna VFD.

 

Forecasted Service Level

 

Based on a GIS time/distance analysis, it is estimated that a fire rescue station located on Pantops in the vicinity of State Farm Boulevard, will serve most of the area within the 5 minute response time as defined in the Comprehensive Plan. In addition, a Pantops station will also provide advanced life support services to the area (a much needed service to the elderly population) and will provide needed backup fire and rescue services to East Rivanna VFD, Stony Point VFD, and Monticello FR that will not be available when the city fire services contract ends in 2010.

 

Long Term Recommendation for Pantops

 

Based on the Pantops’ risk profile and the current level of service provided by the City Fire Department, East Rivanna VFD, or Monticello FR, staff is recommending that County continue with the planning of the Pantops fire rescue station. The final version of the City/County consolidation study concurs with staff’s recommendation.

 

Because the Pantops area is within a 10-12 minute response from East Rivanna VFD and Monticello FR, staff believes that the scale of the Pantops station could be reduced as compared to the Hollymead station. Staff is recommending that the Pantops station be configured to house an engine and a future ambulance and that ladder service to the Pantops and Southern development areas be provided from the Monticello FR station.

 

East Rivanna’s Chief John Hood and staff believes there is an opportunity to partner with East Rivanna to provide some level of volunteer staffing during nights and weekends for a Pantops station. Further planing is needed with the East Rivanna volunteers to better identify the opportunities.

 

Short Term Pantops Fire Rescue Station Options

 

Given staff’s recommendation to move forward with the construction of the Pantops stations and the fact that the County lacks the capacity to build a station by 2010, staff believes the Board should consider an alternative strategy.  Listed below are three options for the Board to consider:


 

 

Option 1

 

Option 2

 

Option 3

 

Option 4

Recommendation

Extend City fire contract for primary service

End  City fire contract for primary service

Build permanent stations on schedule

 

Cover Pantops with existing stations

Establish temporary station in Pantops

Reallocate career staff from existing rural stations to help staff Pantops

Hire staff for station

Advantages

Advantages

Advantages

Advantages

-          No stranded costs related to temporary station

-          No stranded costs related to temporary station

 

-          No contract costs for primary service

 

-          Improved level, quality, and timeliness of Pantops development area service

 

-          Reduces future operational costs by approximately $600,000 annually.

 

-          Best position for negotiation with City for elimination of existing contract and transition to mutual aid agreement

 

-          Benefits to County Fire Rescue system

 

-          Improved level, quality, and timeliness of Pantops development area service

 

-          Deferred operational costs (hiring 12 FTEs deferred at approximately $720,000 annually)

 

-          Best position for negotiation with City for elimination of existing contract and transition to mutual aid agreement

 

-          Benefits to County Fire Rescue system

 

Disadvantages

Disadvantages

Disadvantages

Disadvantages

-          Existing contract services do not meet quality standards in Pantops

 

-          Significant increase in cost for contract services anticipated

 

-          Poor position for contract negotiation for secondary services

 

 

-          Reduction in the current level of service in the Pantops development area due to end of Contract

 

-          Service from existing stations will not meet quality standards in Pantops

 

-          Service from existing stations will not meet response time standards in Pantops

-          Potential stranded costs associated with temporary facility

 

-          Potential stranded costs associated with temporary facility

 

Budget Impact

Budget Impact

Budget Impact

Budget Impact

Possible $2,000,000 annually for City contract

No immediate. Potential increase in Pantops ISO rating without City response

-          Approximately $90,000 in one-time costs associated with a temporary facility

 

-          Approximately $90,000 in one-time costs associated with a temporary facility

-          Approximately $680,000 in operational cost for 12 FTEs.   

 


 

Appendix A- Response Time Standards

 

The Pantops station analysis referred to a series of performance measures developed by the American Heart Association, the National Fire Protection Association and others for benchmark response time targets.  These targets are derived from a series of initiatives that examine the ability of first responders to address two issues: a typical room and contents fire and a cardiac arrest. 

 

Fire Response Time Standards

 

The research shows that response times are based on the agency’s ability to quickly respond prior to a flashover condition (>10 minutes – time from the start of the fire to initial extinguishment). In addition, the research shows that agencies must respond prior to the flashover condition with enough personnel to safely conduct a simultaneous rescue and fire attack (~15 fire fighters).

 

The NFPA 1710 standard defines a 5 minute “total reflex” time. The NFPA 1710 standard matches Albemarle’s current urban fire response time standard.

 

The objective is to mitigate the fire before “flashover” occurs – the point at which the fire leaves the room of origin and begins to impact the remainder of a structure or adjacent structures.  The objective is to enhance survivability for cardiac arrest patients (and by extension to improve the health outcome of those suffering from trauma or other serious illnesses).

 

The exhibit, below, displays a typical flashover curve for interior structure fires.  The point in time represented by the occurrence of flashover is critical because it defines when all of the contents of a room become involved in the fire.  This is also the point at which a fire typically shifts from “room and contents” to a “structure” fire – involving a wider area of the building and posing a potential risk to structures surrounding the original location of the fire.

 

Flashover_Curve

 

This graph, above, depicts a fire from the moment of inception – not from the moment that a fire is detected or reported.  It demonstrates the criticality of early detection and fast reporting as well as the rapid dispatch of responding units.  This also shows the critical need for a rapid and sufficiently staffed initial response – a response with a rapid initial attack on a fire prior to flashover.  The points, below, describe the major changes that occur at time of flashover:

 

•   It is the end of time for effective search and rescue in a room involved in the fire.  It means the likely death of any person trapped in the room – either civilian or Firefighter.

 

•   Portable extinguishers can no longer have a successful control a blaze after flashover.  Only larger hand-lines will have enough water supply to affect a fire after this point.

 

•   The fire has reached the end of the growth phase and has entered the fully developed phase.  During this phase, every combustible object is subject to the full impact of the fire.

 

•   This also signals the changeover from “contents” to “structure” fire.  This is also the beginning of collapse danger for a structure.  Structural collapse begins to become a major risk at this point and reaches the highest point during the decay stage of the fire (after the fire has been extinguished).

 

It should be noted that not every fire will reach flashover – and that not every fire will wait for the 8-minute mark to reach flashover.  A quickly responding fire crew can do things to prevent or delay the occurrence of flashover.  These options include:

•   Application of portable extinguisher or other “fast attack” methodology.

 

•   Venting the room to allow hot gases to escape before they can cause the ignition of other materials in the room.

 

•   Not venting a room – under some circumstances this will actually stifle a fire and prevent flashover from occurring.

 

Each of these techniques requires the rapid response of appropriately trained fire suppression resources that can safely initiate these actions.  In the absence of automatic fire suppression systems, access to interior fires can be limited by a safety requirement related to staffing levels.  OSHA and related industry standards require the presence of at least two Firefighters on the exterior of a building before entry can be made into a structure in which the environment has been contaminated by a fire.  In the absence of a threat to life demanding immediate rescue, interior fire suppression operations are limited to the extent that a fire service delivery system can be staffed to assure a minimum of four people actively involved in firefighting operations.

 

EMS Response Time Standards

 

The research shows that response times are based on the agency’s ability to quickly respond and treat a victim suffering from cardiac arrest or other type life threatening medical condition.

 

The American Heart Association (AHA) defines a 4 minute “total reflex” time for BLS calls and 8 minute reflex time for ALS calls. The AHA standard matches Albemarle’s current urban response time EMS standard.

 

The American Heart Association Chain of Survival outlines actions that must be taken in order to successfully resuscitate victims in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. The measure for EMS must be considered in two different ways.

 

The first consideration is how fast basic life support can be provided to citizens who suffer from cardiac arrest. American Heart Association studies have shown that cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) must begin immediately, and in all cases no later than 4-6 minutes of a cardiac arrest. Early defibrillation (AED) must then follow early CPR. These actions must be followed up by advanced life support in order to provide advanced coronary care. The combination of late CPR (more than four minutes) and late advanced life support (more than 12 minutes) is particularly lethal. Several researchers have called these time dimensions the resuscitation “failure zone.” The second consideration is early advanced life support intervention for patients that are not yet in cardiac arrest but have a cardiac rhythm that will become lethal if not treated rapidly.  The graphic below illustrates a patient’s survival rate compared to the time to defibrillation.

 

respon4

 

Fractile response times are generally used (i.e. the percentage of time that the response times meet the guidelines). Most organizations view a fractile response time within 90% of the time to be acceptable. A fractile measurement is considered a more realistic reflection of the system's overall performance than average or median response times.

 

Every national organization that publishes response time requirements or guidelines suggests a 90% level of response time reliability. These include:

 

·         The National Association of EMS Physicians
 

 Appendix B – Pantops Risk Profile

 

The Pantops development area contains Martha Jefferson Hospital (1,170,000 sq. ft upon completion) and over 640 units of progressive care, assisted living, and independent living. The area has over 850,000 sq. ft. of commercial/retail space with an additional 380,000 sq. ft. in various planning stages. Over 2,200 residential units are expected which will likely double the residential population[1].

 

There are four primary factors that are used to determine fire and medical risk: total population, at risk population, at risk facilities, and traffic volume. Listed below are the factors and a comparison between Pantops and Crozet development areas to show perspective[2]:

 

1.       Total Population

 

Life/Safety Risk

Pantops

Crozet

Residential total

*2,100

4,798

Daytime Population

4,050    

2,399

 

* residential population likely to double with the addition of planned residential developments

 

2.       At Risk Population

 

The Pantops area is considered high risk due primarily to the large population of senior citizens. For citizens 65 and older, the fire fatality rates are more than twice the national average. For those over 75, they jump to three times the national average, and for those over 85, they are four times the national average[3].

 

Life/Safety Risk

Pantops

Crozet

At Risk Population (> 65 yrs. of age)

830

686

% of population at risk

27%

19%

 

3.       At Risk Facilities

 

The majority of the Pantops senior citizens are living in elderly care facilities that have been constructed to meet recent building codes and include detection or suppression systems, but still pose a risk to the occupants. In a study of fires occurring in elderly care facilities, most of the injuries and deaths were attributed to relatively small fires that produced toxic fumes before detection or suppression devices were activated[4].

 

·         Martha Jefferson Outpatient 93,000 sq. ft. (Hospital will be 1,170,000 sq. ft upon completion)

·         Over 640 units of elderly progressive care, assisted living, and independent living

 

4.       Traffic Volume

 

During the 2006 period, fire and rescue were dispatched to over 65 traffic accidents in the Pantops area.  The large amount of traffic accidents are due primarily to the traffic volume. Listed below are the daily traffic volumes.

 

Traffic

Pantops

Crozet

 

Richmond Rd & Stony Point Rd

Rt 250 and Rt 240 through Crozet

Volume (daily traffic volume)

        52,000

      10,600

 


 

Appendix C – Monticello GIS Response Analysis

 

 

The image below shows the projected travel time from the Monticello Fire & Rescue Station (located on Mill Creek Drive near Monticello High School) to the Pantops Development Area:

 

Text Box: Legend (Time in Minutes)

 

 


 

[1] Pantops Master Plan, 2007

[2] United States Census, 2000 Data; Albemarle County GIS System, 2007

[3] Center for Disease Control, 1998. Located at http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/factsheets/fire.htm

[4] Vital and Health Statistics Series 13, No. 147, National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease

Control and Prevention, 2000.

 

Appendix B – Pantops Risk Profile

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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