Models for fire station location : a review and improved distance estimation method tested for Winnipeg

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Kersey, Lenore Sigurdson
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Over the last two decades, researchers have developed several models which can be of help in determining how to locate and allocate fire fighting units in such a way as to best meet emergency service objectives. This thesis begins by reviewing these models. The fire station location models measure performance in terms of response times to emergency incidents. The largest and most variable component of response time is the travel time from source to destination points. Various methods have been suggested and used for estimating travel times, but they tend to either be insufficiently accurate or require very large amounts of data. In this study, some simple methods for estimating travel time which have been used in models are tested for Winnipeg. A new algorithm is developed and tested which provides more accurate travel times for a city which has some major barriers to travel, while at the same time having small data requirements. The review of available models revealed that most of the models developed for fire station location assumed that units are always available when an incident arises. In order to test the validity of this assumption for Winnipeg, incident data was studied to determine utilization rates for fire service units and the distribution of inter-arrival and service times for fire incidents. Finally, a model is suggested which would be helpful for fire service planning in Winnipeg, and the procedure for implementation is outlined.