01/25/07 362 W - + 15 - 9 TriData

Who or what was TriData, you ask? In early 2004, the Wake County Fire/EMS Capital Facility and Equipment Study was released. TriData Corporation of Arlington, VA, performed an independent assessment of fire and EMS station locations and apparatus requirements out to a planning horizon of 2018. Read the 2004 report.

TriData had done two prior studies in Wake, one of the EMS system in 1999 and one for the fire system in 1994. The study presented criteria and models for making decisions about station locations, and made a set of specific recommendations for deployments from the present to 2018.

The study, based on information gained during interviews, observations, and data analysis, started with projections of population and the resultant demand for emergency service by traffic analysis zone (TAZ). The resulting workloads were compared with the capacity of the fire and EMS units.

Service goals were addressed for EMS and fire services in terms of response times in urban, suburban, and rural areas, by TAZ. The heart of the study was evaluating various station location scenarios to reduce current service shortfalls in various areas of the county. The apparatus fleet was also reviewed. A capital improvement plan was proposed for stations and apparatus based on the recommended scenarios for changing station locations.

Their findings? They recommended relocating four fire stations (HSPS 2, KPS, GFD 1, AFD 1) and constructing eight new stations (Knightdale, Garner, Apex, etc.) over the next decade to improve the ability to meet the Wake County service standards, particularly in growth areas. They also identified seven fire service areas that could be served as well or better by resources from nearby fire stations if their small service areas could be contracted out. For those seven stations (Falls, WWFD 1, WWFD 1, NHFD 1, EWFD 2, BLFD 3, MFD 3), they outlined a detailed closure process.

For EMS, they noted the system was closer to a seamless, countywide system than is the current fire service system. The recommendations for EMS included “unclustering” of the EMS units (close EMS 1 and relocate units, for example), spreading them out across more locations to obtain better response times (Cary EMS unit to SCFD, EMS 12 at SHFD 1, etc.), and establishing reliable staffing as an EMS system benchmark.

And thanks to the political agenda of a few self-interested fire chiefs, this report remains today on a shelf never adopted by the Fire Commission, nor presented for adoption to the Board of Commissioners. And none of the tax revenue sucking stations listed as needing closing three years ago been shuttered.
Guest - 01/25/07 - 18:39

How much did it cost to do the study?
Silver - 01/25/07 - 20:14

As memory serves, the report was presented to the Fire Commission and they voted by majority on either (a.) not endorsing or (b.) not sending to the County Commissioners. Who were the voting members, and who voted how? The publicly available meeting minutes should have that information, through the county Fire-Rescue office. They might even still have the audio recordings. That would be colorful listening! The voting members would have included the regular mix of chiefs, citizens, and other officials. The meetings involving the report were well-attended, and the contents of the report hotly debated. Though the WCFC “voted it down,” I suspect some of the report’s recommendations worked their way into official thinking. For example, investigating the closure of Western Wake Station 2. Alas, the blog wasn’t around back then. It would have been a good issue to have discussed. Long-after-the-fact comments do not do the issue justice.
Legeros - 01/25/07 - 20:23

Minutes for that particular WCFC meeting: http://www.wakegov.com/emergency/fire/co..
Legeros - 01/25/07 - 20:51

It’s funny to read that the study was shot down or “sent to committee” due to inaccurate data, and yet the fire commission is still trying to make decisions on closing stations now based on grossly inaccurate data and blind assumptions. Oh how the world turns…
CFP 7021 - 01/25/07 - 23:35

This study was a big waste of tax payer’s money. I am very unhappy my hard earned tax money paid for this crap.
Paul (Email) - 01/26/07 - 08:29

I have not read the entire report, but I do know some of the Tri-Data personnel who worked on it. I think one of the most emotional issue was the closing of stations, which no doubt can be just that, especially when it is your station they are talking about. We all feel like we fill a need, else we would not be here. I was particularly interested in the recommendations concerning Western Wake, since I was a member of Yrac for a number of years.

We all have toface the fact that, as time passes, so do needs. There was a distinctive need for fire protection when all of the departments were started and the stations opened. But we have to ask ourselves “Do we really need a station right here right now?” And no doubt that would be a hot topic.

Rest assured, the issues will come up again, and another report created. It probably will not be ‘Tri-Data’, but some other consulting group. And the same questions will be asked- “Do we need this station?”, “Do we need this many (fill in type of apparatus here)?”, “Does this ambulance need to be here or there?”, and more.

Waste of taxpayers’ money? Hmmm…good one. One man’s waste of taxpayer money is another man’s ‘gospel of how things should be’. No doubt some long-time readers/contributers of this blog would take offense at some of my ‘gospels of the way things should be’. Maybe I will start THAT one on the WatchDesk.
DJ - 01/26/07 - 09:41

Those with supporting evidence are encouraged to demonstrate the TriDate report’s accomplishments, failings, or neutrality.
Legeros - 01/26/07 - 09:49

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