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Fire Response Time

"Respond to fire calls within six minutes and 20 seconds at least 90% of the time" is a target to measure our success in minimizing loss of life and property due to fire.

How are we doing?

Overall in 2017, the Saskatoon Fire Department responded to calls within six minutes and 20 seconds 80% of the time.

Data Table
First Fire Unit is On-Site within 6 minutes, 20 seconds
  2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 ...2023
On-Site under 6 minutes, 20 seconds (%) 81 83 84 83 82 83 80 81 80 90


The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), a body of professionals that develops best practice models for fire services, recommends the following response times for emergency fire calls in urban settings, to be achieved 90% of the time:

  • 60 seconds to receive and process the call
  • 80 seconds for responders to don protective clothing
  • 240 seconds (4 minutes) for travel time for the first arriving unit to arrive at the incident after leaving the station
  • Eight minutes travel response time to have a full complement of at least 16 firefighters on-site 

The map shows the present location and coverage of the nine fire stations and the travel time required to respond to a fire in the service area. 

Fire Service Map

How are other cities doing?

Fire Departments have different allowances for time in three categories (dispatch, reaction and travel) within their total Fire Response Time, thereby making direct comparisons with other jurisdictions challenging.  The following chart compares Saskatoon allowances with Calgary's and Edmonton's allowances as well as each city's performance in the current year. Allowance and performance information for Regina and Winnipeg is not available at this time.






Dispatch Time (Seconds) 60 60 90
Reaction Time (Seconds) 80 90 90
Travel Time (Seconds) 240 270 240
Total Time (Seconds) 380 420 420
Total Time (Minutes) 6:20 7 7
2016 Performance 81% 83% 87%

What do we need to do to achieve this target?

Strategically located fire stations which maximize the service area that can be reached within a four minute travel time are key to meeting the total response time target.   New fire stations, with appropriate funding plans, must be incorporated in long-term planning strategies.  Minimizing overlap of service areas will increase operating efficiencies while continuing to provide effective coverage.

What are the benefits of achieving the target?
  • Due to the dynamics of fire growth, seconds count in saving lives and property. 
  • Increased densification, new building and insulation materials, and modern furnishings which contribute to quicker fire spread and release of toxic chemicals make a timely response even more important to protecting citizens and their property. 
  • By achieving timely response time targets, “quality of life” is enhanced by the knowledge that life and property have a reasonable, quantified chance of success. 
  • Fire protection levels are a key driver in the establishment of insurance rates within the service area. Quicker response times can lower insurance costs.

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