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Deadly Delays: The Decline of Fire Response
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Map of Sheffield 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

Sheffield Fire Department

Community served: Sheffield, Mass.
Department type: Volunteer firefighters
Fire stations (department)1: 1
Fire stations (town): 1
Square miles (town): 48.5
Square miles per station (town): 48.5 [ 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: 58.3%
[ See rankings ]
   On-time rate, early years, 1986-1998: 65.4%
   On-time rate, recent years, 1999-2002: 40.0%
1986-1998 1999-2002 1986-2002
Fires with on-time response 17 4 21
Fires with slower response 9 6 15
Total building fires studied 26 10 36

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: 7/9
ISO building code rating, residential, Nov. 2004: 6
ISO building code rating, commercial, Nov. 2004: 6

Municipal spending on fire protection
Fire spending FY 2003 (town only): $17,869
Fire spending as percent of total budget, FY 2003 (town only): 0.3% [ See rankings ]
Fire spending as percent of total budget, FY 1987 (town only): 0.6%
Fire spending per capita, FY 2003 (town only): $5 [ See rankings ]
Fire spending per capita, FY 1987, in 2003 dollars (town only): $7
Change in fire spending per capita, 1987-2003 (town only): -31.8%
Change in other municipal spending per capita, 1987-2003, adjusted for inflation (town only): 32.3%
Fire spending per housing unit, FY 2003 (town only): $13
Fire spending per square mile, FY 2003 (town only): $368

Community information
County: Berkshire
Population, 2004 (estimate): 3,505
Occupied housing units, 2000: 1,369
Median family income, 1999: $50,944
Population growth, 1990-2000: 14.6%
Population growth, 1980-1990: 5.7%
Tax base (assessed value per capita), FY 2004: $125,870
Total assessed value, FY 2004: $441,173,299
Single-family tax rate, FY 2004: $12.08

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