Did You Know?

Fire and Medical Facts

Standards and Averages

City of Surprise Facts

An entire room can be consumed by fire in 3 minutes

Every minute you are in cardiac arrest, your chance of survival decreases by 10%

On average, 7 people die in U.S home fires everyday

After 3 minutes without oxygen, the brain can suffer irreplaceable damage and after 5 minutes, death is almost certain


Studies show that Arizona children drown at nearly 2 times the national rate

The NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) Standard recommends a 

4 minute emergency response travel time, 90% of the time

The NFPA Standard recommends that the first unit should arrive within

7 minutes of dispatch being alerted of an incident, 90% of the time

In the United States, cities with a population of over 10,000 average 167 full-time firefighters per 100,000 people

Based on the City of Surprise's own Strategic Plan, the city needs to add 27 more firefighters (1.13 FF per 1000 residents)

The City of Surprise has an estimated population of 139,000


The Surprise Fire-Medical Department (SFMD) currently has 120 full-time employees and 7 Fire Stations

We are on pace to respond to

nearly 18,000 calls in 2019


SFMD experienced a 12% increase in fire calls between 2015 and 2018

In 2018, SFMDs response time for 

emergency calls, from alert to arrival, was within 8:53 minutes, 90% of

the time



In 2017, the City of Surprise hired Citygate Associates to conduct a Fire Protection and Paramedic Services Master plan for the Fire-Medical Department.


The study reviewed the adequacy of deployment systems, staffing, coverage, response times, and provided key findings and recommendations.


This plan cost taxpayers $150,000. Overall, the report made 34 key findings and provided 16 specific action recommendations.


To date, the City has failed to accomplish the top 3 recommendations.


The residents of Surprise deserve better.


The Public Safety Master Plan, conducted in 2017, made 34 Key Findings, and at the conclusion of the study, it was determined that the Surprise Fire-Medical Department had only partially kept pace with the growth of the city and are unable to meet NFPA response time standards to all neighborhoods. The report also stated that the department does not have enough crews to cover a city the size of Surprise today, much less in the future.  

Other critical findings:

  • The City does not have enough fire station coverage

  • High call volume in the Station 305 area requires adding a full time fire engine

  • Emergency response travel times are higher than the 4 minute standard

  • Total emergency response time (from dispatch being alerted to unit arrival) is higher than the NFPA standard of 7 minutes

  • Fire Administration is at its max capacity to lead, equip, train, and supervise firefighters

  • Station 305 has the highest number of stacked calls in the City, up 61% over the last 4 years

  • The existing fire engine and ladder truck model is NOT covering enough of the city



At the conclusion of the study, Citygate provided 16 recommendations for the Surprise Fire-Medical Department. The top 3 recommendations are vital to the safety of our community and the success of SFMD. Our Elected Officials and City Management have failed to take action on these critical items.

The top recommendations are:

  • Elected officials should adopt updated, clearly measurable response time goals for the City based on best practices and provide accountability for Department personnel to meet those standards (ie distribution of fire stations, multi- unit effective response for serious emergencies, hazmat response, TRT, EMS services).

  • Adopt a policy for the threshold point to add staffed fire stations (areas with population of 15k people and greater than 7 min travel time from a fire station).

  • Add a full time engine and crew to fire station 305 with 15 full time employees in Fiscal Year 2019 to help reduce response times and call stacking.

  • For response times to meet NFPA standards, the City should consider the addition of 4 more fire engines and 3 new fire stations, for a total of 10.

  • If the City cannot fund the much needed firefighter and administration positions, the Department should focus on fire administration first. The current administration is at capacity for its ability to train, supervise, and provide quality oversight.

  • Fire Station 308 should be built sooner than the proposed date of 2022, providing much needed emergency coverage and lower response times.

We are here to serve and protect our community. It's time to hold City Officials accountable for disregarding the study's recommendations and failing to take action.


With our increasing call volume and response time, lack of adequate fire station coverage, and need for more firefighters, these recommendations are vital to the safety of our City. In an emergency, seconds can mean the difference between life and death. 

The Surprise Fire Fighters are committed to keeping you safe.

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2019 by Surprise Fire Fighters Association