Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Urban and Public Affairs

Committee Chair

Simpson, David M.

Author's Keywords

Response time; Fire department; Sprawl; Fire; Equity


Fire fighters; Emergency management--Research


This dissertation is an examination of fire department response times in eight major cities of the United States including Houston, TX, Charlotte, NC, St. Paul, MN, Portland, OR, Seattle, WA, Louisville, KY, San Francisco, CA and Miami, FL. This study investigates and analyzes fire protection as an urban service as measured by response times, first through proportional access by looking at socio-economic status (SES), and secondly through spatial access by examining several different aspects of urban sprawl. Response times were regressed as the main dependent variable with SES and urban sprawl variables in the quantitative portion of the study. Results indicated that response times did vary by the SES nature of the fire district and that sprawl did affected response times. The quantitative results were followed by a qualitative study which examined the quantitative results from 3 local fire chiefs. This dissertation is divided into 5 chapters. Chapter one gives an overview of the dissertation along with stating the hypothesis, and significance of this dissertation. Chapter two is an overview of the literature which focuses on urban service provision, fire protection as an urban service, response times, the locations of fire stations, fire districts, urban sprawl, and the measurement of equity and sprawl. The literature is used as a guide in framing the study. Chapter 3 is the methodology section which discusses the data and how the variables were selected. In chapter 3 there is also a description of the statistical models and how the models were derived. Chapter 4 is the results section and provides an analysis of the descriptive statistics, regression results, and an spatial analysis of data for four cities. The results section also includes the qualitative section which has interview data from 3 fire chiefs in Louisville-Jefferson County. In chapter 5 I discuss the results, make recommendations, and list possible limitations to this study and areas for future research.