Why benchmarking?

In order to get somewhere, you need to know where you are. Darkhorse Emergency provides a service that allows Fire and EMS agencies to see how they compare against the industry and comparable services.

Performance reports alone don’t give your service the information it needs.  Where are you thriving?  Are you making good use of your resources?  Which areas need to improve?

By comparing your service to its peers, you can see how well you are doing in a meaningful way. This can direct your investments and performance improvement activities into areas where they will make the most difference.


The problem with benchmarks in our experience, has been that benchmarking initiatives tend to be onerous and untrustworthy. You are often asked to provide information that is not readily available (daytime population of your service area, mutual aid responses, etc.).  Or worse yet, you are asked to report things that are not clearly defined (response performance, call time, etc.).  As a result, you either give up on filling out the forms, or you don’t trust the results provided by your peers.

Most of the value of a benchmark occurs at the aggregate level. You want an apples-to-apples comparison on the major items (total call volume, units in service, population covered, response performance, etc.). These aggregate measures show what you’re doing and are not as susceptible to differences in definitions.

We therefore use a simplified set of questions that can be easily answered in one sitting.  We supplement this information with publicly available data so that you don’t have to waste your time running it down.

Finally, we compile and present the data in an intuitive and easily understandable way. At a glance, you can see where you stand versus a group of your peers.

Darkhorse has developed a benchmarking scoresheet based on standard service measures typically available through your dispatch or call center system.


The final outcome is access to this interactive visualization on an ongoing basis.  You will be granted login credentials so you can visit the report at any time, and you can download it to incorporate in your stakeholder reporting.  Each year, you will be notified when to update your data and when the newest benchmark scorecard will be released.

Cost & Timelines

The first Benchmarking Scorecard is available now at ems-benchmark.dha.io.

You can try it out with no commitment and register to save your data.

There is no cost for this service.