Clout highlights a report PICA has just released on the Fire Department, taking measure of its efficiency, highlighting problems and recommending solutions. The bottom line on current performance:
The Philadelphia Fire Department does a reasonably good job of serving Philadelphia residents, visitors and businesses. The department's performance in responding to fire emergencies falls only slightly short of the standard established by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). The department's performance regarding response to medical emergencies is less good, however. In particular, the response of the first unit (typically fire engines) to medical incidents falls far short of NFPA recommendations.
The NFPA says first responders should arrive within 5 minutes 90 percent of the time; in Philly they do that 45 percent of the time.
One other observation in the report that jumped out at us:
Despite the fact that the Fire Commissioner is committed to using data and analysis to drive decision making very little analytic capacity exists within the department.
We've heard this before about city government, in other contexts: It's not that someone objects to improvement, per se, it's that they don't see a path from here to there, given bureaucratic routines.
You can find the whole report here.