NFPA 1720

NFPA 1720
Standard for the Organization and Deployment of Fire Suppression Operations, Emergency Medical Operations, and Special Operations to the Public by Volunteer Fire Departments, 2010 Edition

The Department of Homeland Security, The Office of State and Local Government Coordination and Preparedness, has requested that NFPA make available the following excerpt to assist fire departments with the application process of the SAFER Act Grant. The following material is excerpted from NFPA 1720 and does not reflect the full requirements of the standard.

Chapter 1 Administration

1.1 Scope. This standard contains minimum requirements relating to the organization and deployment of fire suppression operations, emergency medical operations, and special operations to the public by volunteer and combination fire departments.
1.1.1 The requirements address functions and outcomes of fire department emergency service delivery, response capabilities, and resources.
1.1.2 This standard also contains minimum requirements for managing resources and systems, such as health and safety, incident management, training, communications, and pre-incident planning.
1.1.3 This standard addresses the strategic and system issues involving the organization, operation, and deployment of a fire department and does not address tactical operations at a specific emergency incident.
1.1.4 This standard does not address fire prevention, community education, fire investigations, support services, personnel management, and budgeting.
1.2 Purpose.
1.2.1 The purpose of this standard is to specify the minimum criteria addressing the effectiveness and efficiency of the volunteer and combination public fire suppression operations, emergency medical service, and special operations delivery in protecting the citizens of the jurisdiction.

Chapter 3 Definitions

3.2.2 Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ). An organization, office, or individual responsible for enforcing the requirements of a code or standard, or for approving equipment, materials, an installation, or a procedure.

Chapter 4 Organization, Operation, and Deployment

4.3 Staffing and Deployment.
4.3.1 The fire department shall identify minimum staffing requirements to ensure that a sufficient number of members are available to operate safely and effectively.
4.3.2 Table 4.3.2 shall be used by the AHJ to determine staffing and response time objectives for structural fire fighting, based on a low-hazard occupancy such as a 2000 ft2 (186 m2), two-story, single-family home without basement and exposures and the percentage accomplishment of those objectives for reporting purposes as required in 4.4.2.

Demand Zonea


Minimum Staff to Respondb

Response Time (minutes)c

Meets Objective (%)

Urban area

>1000 people/mi2

15 9 90

Suburban area

500–1000 people/mi2

10 10 80

Rural area

<500 people/mi2

6 14 80

Remote area

Travel distance ≥ 8 mi


Directly dependent on travel distance


Special risks

Determined by AHJ

Determined by AHJ based on risk

Determined by AHJ


a A jurisdiction can have more than one demand zone.
b Minimum staffing includes members responding from the AHJs department and automatic aid
c Response time begins upon completion of the dispatch notification and ends at the time interval shown in the table.

4.3.4 Personnel responding to fires and other emergencies shall be organized into company units or response teams and shall have required apparatus and equipment.
4.3.5 Standard response assignments and procedures, including mutual aid response and mutual aid agreements predetermined by the location and nature of the reported incident, shall regulate the dispatch of companies, response groups, and command officers to fires and other emergency incidents.
4.7 Sustained Fire-Fighting Operations.
 The fire department shall have the capability for sustained operations, including fire suppression; engagement in search and rescue, forcible entry, ventilation, and preservation of property; accountability for personnel; the deployment of a dedicated rapid intervention crew (RIC); and provision of support activities for those situations that are beyond the capability of the initial attack.

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