Locating fire stations: An integrated approach for Belgium
This paper illustrates the potential of a decision-support system developed for Belgium by a consortium of universities and a private firm, in the framework of a public call made by the Ministry of the Interior. The system is designed to provide the Belgian emergency management administration with a complete decision-aid tool for the location of fire stations. The originality of the project is that it includes a risk-modeling approach developed at a national scale. This analysis involves a multiscale GIS that includes a thorough representation of the physical, human and economic spatial realities, a risk-modeling approach, an adequate optimal location and allocation model (taking into account both queuing and staffing problems). The final result is an interactive operational tool for defining locations, equipment allocations, staffing, response times, the cost/efficiency trade-off, etc. This flexible tool can be used in an assessment as well as a prospective context. It has been used to draw a national reorganization plan for fire stations that started being implemented in 2010.
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