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Deadly Delays: The Decline of Fire Response
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Map of Palmer fires
THIS MAP shows locations and response times for building fires from 1990-2002
Building fires: Green diamond  1-5 minute response Fire stations: Fire truck icon
Yellow diamond  6 minute response Click here for an interactive map
Red diamond  7-29 minute response

See also: Three Rivers Fire District No. 2 and Bondsville Fire District No. 3

Palmer Fire District No. 1


Community served: Palmer, Mass.
Department type: Mostly volunteer firefighters
Fire stations (department)1: 1
Fire stations (town): 3
Square miles (town): 32.0
Square miles per station (town): 10.7 [ See rankings ]
1 Some communities have more than one fire department.
 
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Deadly delays

An exclusive Globe investigation into fire response times.
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On-time response rates
SUMMARY:
On-time rate, building fires receiving a response within 6 minutes, 1986-2002: 66.4%
[ See rankings ]
   On-time rate, early years, 1986-1998: 76.0%
   On-time rate, recent years, 1999-2002: 45.7%
DETAILS:
1986-1998 1999-2002 1986-2002
Fires with on-time response 57 16 73
Fires with slower response 18 19 37
Total building fires studied 75 35 110

ISO insurance ratings
Insurance companies use ratings from ISO, a New Jersey company, to help determine fire insurance premiums. ISO rates communities on a scale from 1 (best) to 10 (no protection). The ratings are based on the community's fire department, water supply, and dispatch communications. The ratings are not based at all on response times. The same scale of 1 to 10 is applied to the effectiveness of building codes. In a split fire rating, such as 4/9, the second number applies to properties more than 1,000 feet from a hydrant.
ISO fire protection rating, Nov. 2004: 5/9
ISO building code rating, residential, Nov. 2004: 5
ISO building code rating, commercial, Nov. 2004: 5

Municipal spending on fire protection
Fire spending FY 2003 (town only): N/A
Fire spending as percent of total budget, FY 2003 (town only): N/A [ See rankings ]
Fire spending as percent of total budget, FY 1987 (town only): 0.1%
Fire spending per capita, FY 2003 (town only): N/A [ See rankings ]
Fire spending per capita, FY 1987, in 2003 dollars (town only): $1
Change in fire spending per capita, 1987-2003 (town only): N/A
Change in other municipal spending per capita, 1987-2003, adjusted for inflation (town only): 75.3%
Fire spending per housing unit, FY 2003 (town only): N/A
Fire spending per square mile, FY 2003 (town only): N/A

Community information
County: Hampden
Population, 2004 (estimate): 12,674
Occupied housing units, 2000: 5,078
Median family income, 1999: $49,358
Population growth, 1990-2000: 3.7%
Population growth, 1980-1990: 2.5%
Tax base (assessed value per capita), FY 2004: $56,913
Total assessed value, FY 2004: $721,332,062
Single-family tax rate, FY 2004: $16.03

Three Rivers Fire District No. 2 (Palmer)


Community served: Palmer, Mass.
Department type: Mostly volunteer firefighters
Fire stations (department)1: 1
Fire stations (town): 3
Square miles (town): 32.0
Square miles per station (town): 10.7 [ See rankings ]
1 Some communities have more than one fire department.

On-time response rates
SUMMARY:
On-time rate, building fires receiving a response within 6 minutes, 1986-2002: 86.7%
[ See rankings ]
   On-time rate, early years, 1986-1998: 92.1%
   On-time rate, recent years, 1999-2002: 57.1%
DETAILS:
1986-1998 1999-2002 1986-2002
Fires with on-time response 35 4 39
Fires with slower response 3 3 6
Total building fires studied 38 7 45

ISO insurance ratings
Insurance companies use ratings from ISO, a New Jersey company, to help determine fire insurance premiums. ISO rates communities on a scale from 1 (best) to 10 (no protection). The ratings are based on the community's fire department, water supply, and dispatch communications. The ratings are not based at all on response times. The same scale of 1 to 10 is applied to the effectiveness of building codes. In a split fire rating, such as 4/9, the second number applies to properties more than 1,000 feet from a hydrant.
ISO fire protection rating, Nov. 2004: 5/9
ISO building code rating, residential, Nov. 2004: 5
ISO building code rating, commercial, Nov. 2004: 5

Bondsville Fire District No. 3 (Palmer)


Community served: Palmer, Mass.
Department type: Volunteer firefighters
Fire stations (department)1: 1
Fire stations (town): 3
Square miles (town): 32.0
Square miles per station (town): 10.7 [ See rankings ]
1 Some communities have more than one fire department.

On-time response rates
SUMMARY:
On-time rate, building fires receiving a response within 6 minutes, 1986-2002: 91.7%
[ See rankings ]
   On-time rate, early years, 1986-1998: 91.3%
   On-time rate, recent years, 1999-2002: 100.0%
DETAILS:
1986-1998 1999-2002 1986-2002
Fires with on-time response 21 1 22
Fires with slower response 2 0 2
Total building fires studied 23 1 24

ISO insurance ratings
Insurance companies use ratings from ISO, a New Jersey company, to help determine fire insurance premiums. ISO rates communities on a scale from 1 (best) to 10 (no protection). The ratings are based on the community's fire department, water supply, and dispatch communications. The ratings are not based at all on response times. The same scale of 1 to 10 is applied to the effectiveness of building codes. In a split fire rating, such as 4/9, the second number applies to properties more than 1,000 feet from a hydrant.
ISO fire protection rating, Nov. 2004: 5/9
ISO building code rating, residential, Nov. 2004: 5
ISO building code rating, commercial, Nov. 2004: 5

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