In life-threatening situations where every second counts, the timely presence of firefighter services can make the difference between survival and death. Motivated by this, in collaboration with Fire Department Amsterdam-Amstelland in the Netherlands, we developed a mathematical programming model for determining the optimal locations of the vehicle base stations, and for optimally distributing firefighter vehicle types over the base stations. The model is driven by practical considerations. It (1) allows for fixing any subset of existing base locations that cannot be relocated (e.g., for historical reasons); (2) includes multiple vehicle types, each of which may have a type-dependent response-time target; and (3) includes crews that consist of arbitrary mixtures of professional (i.e., career) and volunteer firefighters. Extensive analysis of a large data set obtained from the Fire Department Amsterdam-Amstelland demonstrates: (1) that a reduction of over 50 percent in the fraction of firefighter late arrivals can be realized by relocating only three of the current 19 base locations; and (2) that adding new base locations to improve performance is unnecessary: optimization of the locations of the current base stations is as effective, and saves money. The results show an enormous potential for substantially reducing the fraction of late arrivals of firefighter services, with little investment in relocating a small number of stations.

, ,,
ERIM Top-Core Articles
Interfaces (Hanover)
Rotterdam School of Management (RSM), Erasmus University

Van Der Mei, P.L. (Pieter L.), Legemaate, G.A.G. (Guido A. G.), & Van Der Mei, R.D. (Rob D.). (2017). Increasing the responsiveness of firefighter services by relocating base stations in Amsterdam. Interfaces (Hanover), 47(4), 352–361. doi:10.1287/inte.2017.0897