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Deadly Delays: The Decline of Fire Response
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Map of Harvard fires
THIS MAP shows locations and response times for building fires from 1990-2002
Building fires: Green diamond  1-5 minute response Fire stations: Fire truck icon
Yellow diamond  6 minute response Click here for an interactive map
Red diamond  7-29 minute response

Harvard Fire Department

Community served: Harvard, Mass.
Department type: Mostly volunteer firefighters
Fire stations (department)1: 2
Fire stations (town): 2
Square miles (town): 27.0
Square miles per station (town): 13.5 [ See rankings ]
1 Some communities have more than one fire department.
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Deadly delays

An exclusive Globe investigation into fire response times.
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On-time response rates
On-time rate, building fires receiving a response within 6 minutes, 1986-2002: 43.4%
[ See rankings ]
   On-time rate, early years, 1986-1998: 48.6%
   On-time rate, recent years, 1999-2002: 33.3%
1986-1998 1999-2002 1986-2002
Fires with on-time response 17 6 23
Fires with slower response 18 12 30
Total building fires studied 35 18 53

ISO insurance ratings
Insurance companies use ratings from ISO, a New Jersey company, to help determine fire insurance premiums. ISO rates communities on a scale from 1 (best) to 10 (no protection). The ratings are based on the community's fire department, water supply, and dispatch communications. The ratings are not based at all on response times. The same scale of 1 to 10 is applied to the effectiveness of building codes. In a split fire rating, such as 4/9, the second number applies to properties more than 1,000 feet from a hydrant.
ISO fire protection rating, Nov. 2004: 5/9
ISO building code rating, residential, Nov. 2004: 3
ISO building code rating, commercial, Nov. 2004: 3

Municipal spending on fire protection
Fire spending FY 2003 (town only): $206,071
Fire spending as percent of total budget, FY 2003 (town only): 1.3% [ See rankings ]
Fire spending as percent of total budget, FY 1987 (town only): 0.6%
Fire spending per capita, FY 2003 (town only): $60 [ See rankings ]
Fire spending per capita, FY 1987, in 2003 dollars (town only): $5
Change in fire spending per capita, 1987-2003 (town only): 1148.0%
Change in other municipal spending per capita, 1987-2003, adjusted for inflation (town only): 427.4%
Fire spending per housing unit, FY 2003 (town only): $114
Fire spending per square mile, FY 2003 (town only): $7,641

Community information
County: Worcester
Population, 2004 (estimate): 3,442
Occupied housing units, 2000: 1,809
Median family income, 1999: $119,352
Population growth, 1990-2000: -51.5%
Population growth, 1980-1990: -6.4%
Tax base (assessed value per capita), FY 2004: $276,609
Total assessed value, FY 2004: $952,031,390
Single-family tax rate, FY 2004: $11.57

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