Multi-Criteria Covering-Based Location of Volunteer Fire Departments
RUB Working Paper 2012-01
18 Pages Posted: 4 Apr 2013
Date Written: August 30, 2012
In Germany, a large number of volunteer fire departments (VFD) exist that have been founded in order to provide regional support for professional firefighters. The current locations of these volunteer fire departments might be suboptimal with respect to costs and availability. Due to historical developments the city of Bochum (Germany) also hosts a large number of volunteer fire departments. A mixed-integer linear program is presented in order to investigate the consequences of partial relocating or closing of volunteer fire departments. Timeliness is one of the most important objectives since it reflects the quality of emergency services such as firefighting systems. Timeliness means that in most instances the emergency can be reached within a predefined time limit after reception of the emergency call. A sufficient number of firefighting facilities have to be established and located in order to provide high quality services over a wide area with spatially distributed demands. Different criteria are taken into account in order to find optimal locations. Minimizing the average travel time and minimizing the maximum travel time are goals which are in conflict with minimizing costs for establishing facilities and for transport. A multi-criteria approach is applied and different solutions for an urban area with several volunteer firefighting departments are analyzed. The tradeoff between maximizing the quality of emergency services and cost reduction is illustrated using a real world case study with 18 existing volunteer fire departments.
Keywords: location problem, covering models, real world application, multi-criteria optimization, volunteer fire departments
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