Vancouver Fire Improves Emergency Response Times

December 5, 2012 | Engaged City

All Vancouver families and residents count on the knowledge that in their time of need, emergency services will be in a position to urgently respond and assist.

Today’s details on improved fire response times demonstrate what many Vancouver residents have seen first-hand: Vancouver Fire & Rescue Services (VF&RS) are providing our citizens with exceptionally efficient and effective emergency services and pre-hospital care.

From 2009 – 2012, VF&RS improved response times to fire calls by 44 seconds, with average response times now being 7:00 minutes. Response times to medical emergencies have also been reduced by 20 seconds, with average response to a medical emergency being 6:00 minutes.

Improved response times can be credited to a few factors, one of which is increased ‘tactical district study’ by fire crews. These tactics assist Vancouver Fire & Rescue Services in determining the most efficient route to an emergency regardless of traffic volume or traffic related obstructions. The strategic re-deployment of fire trucks when necessary has also assisted in achieving reduced response times.

New Fire Medic trucks have also been instrumental in reducing response times to medical emergencies. These pick-up sized trucks carrying medical equipment and crews, have replaced the use of much larger fire trucks that previously performed these tasks. The Fire Medic trucks use less fuel, offer increased maneuverability and result in less wear and tear on the larger trucks.

Vancouver Fire has also seen a significant improvement in the annual number of fire prevention inspections that fire crews and inspectors have performed. This increase is a result of intense proactive work in fire education and prevention, the result being safer structures within our city for our citizens to live and work in. This approach has also resulted in a significant drop in the number of fire safety violations encountered, demonstrating that citizens are also doing their part to ensure that their premises are kept safe and orderly.


No. of Inspections

% of Violations










2012(to date)



To further improve on these numbers, Firefighters will continue to focus on fire inspection programs, conduct on scene safety checks at incidents when applicable, and carry out the Sidewalk Safety and Home Safety Check Programs. The goal of these initiatives is to encourage all residents to keep their homes, neighbourhoods and workplaces safe.

The proposed 2013 City of Vancouver Budget provides an additional $700,000 for Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services, with funding for additional firefighters and the Urban Search and Rescue Team. For the first time, the budget also includes detailed service metrics for every department, tracking everything from fire response times to ice rink usage to garbage pick-ups.

To learn more about Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services, click here

To view the City of Vancouver’s proposed 2013 Budget, click here