911 response times vary across Central Virginia

Posted at 7:04 PM, Nov 08, 2013

RICHMOND, Va (WTVR) -- When you pick up the phone and dial 911, the time it takes for help to arrive can seem like an eternity.

Over the last few years, many fire departments in Central Virginia have been working to shorten the time it takes for them to respond.

Colonial Heights Fire Chief A.G. Moore said it started by examining the department's practices and procedures. From time the call is received, to when a dispatcher inputs the info and a fire station is dispatched all figures into that time.

As a result, response times in Colonial Heights have dipped more than 30 seconds over the last year.

For Chief Moore, the year-long process now has fire and EMS units averaging a response time just under 5 minutes and 15 seconds.

A recent fire in Chesterfield County, saw the fire department arriving about 7 and a half minutes after the first call to 911.

Chesterfield has 21 fire stations and their average response time is 6 minutes and 20 seconds.

Henrico County has 20 fire stations with an average response of 7 minutes and 20 seconds.

Richmond has 20 fire stations with an average response time of about 6 minutes.

"Compared to some of the other jurisdictions, we may have stations a whole lot closer than some of the localities that may be more rural in nature," said Lt. Robbie Hagaman with the Richmond Fire Department. "So the response times are going to be less for us."