Fire Department Wait Times

Team: 10

School: Multi Schools-CCP/CMS

Area of Science: Behavioral and Social Sciences

Interim: Team number: 10
School name(s): Cottonwood Classical and Cleveland Middle School
Team Members:
Kiara Onomoto
Ayvree Urrea
Sponsoring Teachers:
Patty Meyer
Karen Glennon
Area of science: Behavioral and Social Sciences
Project title: Fire Departments Wait Times

Problem definition:
Fire departments take too long to get to their Albuquerque destinations once they are called. In 2017, on average, it took around 6 minutes and 40 seconds for the firemen to arrive at their destinations. It is hard for fireman to get to some locations, like the houses by Arroyo Del Oso golf course, because there are not a lot of fire stations nearby. Traffic is very common when fireman are going to a location which slows them down a lot. Fireman also have to make extended travel to out of district calls when they are really busy which makes response time a lot slower. Another factor that changes response time is finding a way to a location and navigating. This leaves time for fires to get bigger and become more of a danger to the people nearby. Fires affect many people and those extra few minutes can make a big difference as fires can escalate rapidly.

Problem solution:
Our solution to this problem is to make two different simulations; one will represent the way emergency systems move normally with normal congestion, while the second will be how we want to design the area to accommodate the fire departments. To achieve the second simulation we have researched more about the traveling salesman theory, which is the problem that explains if given a list of locations and routes, which route is the fastest and most efficient way to get to that specific destination? This has helped us decide to change fire department locations to make them more efficient. For example, the area we are looking at is the south side of the Arroyo Del Oso Golf Course. This area needs improvement because the closest fire department to this neighborhood is Fire Station 15, which is north of the course. This causes the fire department systems to have a more difficult time reaching this region. Another factor that is important to add is fire trucks have a strobe light on each vehicle to attract the opticom systems, which changes the traffic lights, this is important part of our code.

Progress to date:
As of right now, we have done research on fire departments and traffic flow as they relate to each other. In our research, we have discovered that South of Arroyo Del Oso golf course is one of the hardest places for Fire departments to get to because Fire Station 15 is on the North Side of the golf course and engines have to go all the way around the golf course. With this, we have decided to base our project on the area on the South side of Arroyo Del Oso golf course. We met with Battalion Chief Justin Staley and learned more about the variables that affect response time, such as, traffic, extended travel, navigation, construction, geographical locations, etc. He also said more locations would be a good idea which is a possibility for our solution in our code. In addition, we met with Amanda Herrera from the Department of Municipal Development Traffic Engineering Division and learned more about traffic flow and how the roads are made/changed as it corresponds to fire departments and emergency systems. Opticom is a system that helps emergency systems change the traffic signals to get through quicker, however, we learned that they don’t always work and it would be helpful if they could detect the emergency systems from further away. We have decided to use the traveling salesman theory and this research to come up with a solution.

Expected results:
We expect to figure out a much quicker way for firemen to get to their destination once they are called. To make it quicker, we will explore new possible locations for Fire Departments and new routes that can be taken for faster response times. We expect to use the traveling salesman theory in our code to figure out the fastest way from one point (Fire department) to a location. We also plan on researching more about traffic flow and how to incorporate traffic into our code as that is an important factor that affects response time. We expect to lower response times by the end of the project.


Justin Staley, Battalion Chief Special Operations / FOC Albuquerque Fire Rescue

Amanda Herrera, Department of Municipal Development Traffic Engineering Division

Civil Engineering Designer, Sgt. Zak Cottrell, Albuquerque Police Department, Traffic Division/Motor Unit.

“Albuquerque Fire Rescue.” City of Albuquerque,

Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Traveling Salesman Problem.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 12 Nov. 2018,

Team Members:

  Ayvree Urrea
  Kiara Onomoto

Sponsoring Teacher: Karen Glennon

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