The EMS Oversight Program worked with County GIS partners to create a heat map of regional response times, independent of which agency arrived first, a fire partner or REMSA, the private ambulance company.
The times illustrated in the map are calculated from the time a 9-1-1 call taker answered the phone to the first arriving responder on scene, as illustrated below.
This link provides 4 maps to help depict emergency response in relation to population density and first responder response time expectations. A description of each map is provided below:
Map #1: Heat Map-Priority calls
This map shows the response times for ALL priority 1 & 2 EMS calls in Washoe County, NV for the one-year period from July 1, 2015, through June 30, 2017.
- These maps SHOULD be used in conjunction with population density to understand why the outskirts of the metro area have longer response times.
- Includes matched calls for service where an EMS responder arrived on scene, however DOES NOT mean both fire and REMSA had to complete the call (either agency could have cancelled en route).
- Only REMSA priority 1 and 2 calls are included. Priority 1 and Priority 2 calls are deemed as emergency calls, warranting a lights and sirens response.
- The fire partner data is limited to Sparks Fire Department, Reno Fire Department, and Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District, with a handful of calls from the Gerlach area. This means calls into mutual aid areas such as Mount Rose Highway may appear to be artificially long since North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District (First Tier responder) response data is not available for inclusion.
- These maps DO NOT show response times to individual addresses.
- These maps DO NOT reflect the type of call, i.e. cardiac arrest versus back pain versus earache.
What is a heat map?
The heat maps in this series were created from emergency calls for service (points). Each point contained a time value, in minutes, indicating how long it took an EMS responder to reach that location. An interpolated surface, or heat map, was created from these time values, using an Inverse Distance Weighted (IDW) algorithm. The results were clipped to show only areas that were within 2 miles of an actual emergency call for service.
Map #2: Population Density
The population density is provided as people per square mile and is based on the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2010 Census data. Population density is an important factor to consider as the majority (75%) of Washoe County’s population resides within the City of Reno and City of Sparks (metropolitan), and the metropolitan region is where approximately 80% of EMS incidents occur in Washoe County.
Map #3: REMSA Zones
REMSA, a private ambulance company, provides ambulance transport for City of Sparks, City of Reno, and the Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District service areas. This map illustrates the designated response expectations for Priority 1 and Priority 2 calls within those service areas, also known as the REMSA franchise response zones.
Regional stakeholders evaluated the REMSA response map throughout 2015, which resulted in a new proposed REMSA response zone map. With the District Board of Health approval, the proposed response zones went into effect July 1, 2016.The new REMSA response zones were re-designed to account for recent population growth and population density.
Moving forward, the revision process for the REMSA response maps will include annual reviews, a five-year assessment, and a 10-year Census revision. If warranted, the District Board of Health may elect to revise the REMSA response zone map during an annual review or five year assessment.
Map #4: Compare Day vs. Night Calls
This map splits the calls from Map #1 into 2 categories, Day calls and night calls. The reasoning behind comparing day calls to night calls is that the population shifts as they commute to work locations during the day and shifts again once they return home during the night. The shift in population, as well as resulting increases and decreases in flow of traffic on major arterial roadways, may result in a difference in response times.
- Day calls are those calls occurring between 0600 (6:00 AM) and 1800 (6:00 PM).
- Night calls are those calls occurring between 1801 (6:01PM) and 0559 (5:59 AM).