Fire Response Time

Goal: Average response time of less than 5 minutes 20 seconds.

  • What is this?

    The speed of response for residential fires.

  • Why does it matter?

    Responding quickly helps save lives, reduces injuries and minimizes property damage.

  • Who is responsible?

    Memphis Fire Department

  • How do we measure performance?

    We measure our performance by the speed of our response to fires and by comparing that speed to the national standards. The National Fire Protection Agency sets standards for response time and how that response time is measured. The national standard is 5 minutes and 20 seconds.

How is the fire response time calculated?

Fire response time is calculated as the total elapsed time between when a fire company receives the order from the dispatch center and the moment when the first-assigned engine company arrives on the scene.

What is the state of fire response times in Memphis?

Our goal is to respond within an average of 5 minutes and 20 seconds, which is the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) standard for response time to structural fires. We watch this metric closely and evaluate our performance monthly to make sure that we stay within the standard. We are currently meeting the goal.

But isn't prevention important as well?

Preventing fires from happening in the first place is a key part of our work to keep citizens safe. We do this by dedicating some of our fire staff to inspecting buildings, providing education on fire safety, and reviewing fire safety plans. The Memphis Fire Museum located at 118 Adams Ave is dedicated to educating the public in fire and life safety. Our goal is to connect with 200,000 people through the fire museum each year, giving them the information they need to keep their families safe.

This year, we are also re-establishing fire management zones for fire companies. Fire management zones allow the Memphis Fire Department to proactively reduce the risk of fires in the community by using firefighters to identify hazards in their assigned zone. For the hazards they identify, these firefighters notify the appropriate party to address the issue. They also engage homeowners in assessing their risk of fire and help to reduce that risk by installing smoke detectors in those homes. Our goal is to install 2500 or more smoke detectors in homes each year.

More information