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operations research and emergency services management

Managers of police, fire, and emergency medical services face a challenging uncertain environment. They must develop strategic plans and allocate resources on a daily basis to handle randomly occurring calls. These calls for assistance and emergencies occur at all hours of the day. They have different levels of priorities and varying resource requirements. A minor police call may be handled by a single police officer in 30 minutes or less.  In contrast, an apartment fire might require several pieces of fire equipment and more than a dozen firefighters working at the scene for several hours. Major catastrophes such as a building collapse place even more demands on emergency service personnel. This talk will explore the role that analytic models can play in developing strategic and operational resource allocation plans. In addition, the presentation will highlight critical managerial issues related to staffing for worst case scenarios while not wasting resources on a daily basis. Widespread municipal budgetary crises across the US are forcing city officials to review and reduce their investments in emergency services and more effectively use the more limited resources. The discussion will draw on our experiences in helping city officials in dozens of cities in the US deal with these major funding shortfalls.