EMS Agencies Call Into Question Survey Showing Poor Response Times
If you called an ambulance in the case of an emergency, how long would you expect it to take? A study conducted by an established consulting firm says some EMS agencies in Monroe County have taken up to 15 minutes to respond to a call.
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"I was a little taken aback that this particular study focused on a lot of negative things and suggested that the system is having a lot of trouble, and that's just not the case," said Chief Reg Allen of Henrietta Ambulance.
Allen is frustrated after the survey showed it took his department 15 minutes to respond to a call.
"Our data says that most calls we respond to within five or six minutes, and I believe that's a problem with the computer dispatching system and their ability to get accurate data out of that system," said Allen.
The county agrees that the dispatch system is the root of the problem.
"Some of the agencies may say the data is flawed, and they may be right, because we have not been capturing data consistently throughout the system," said Stephen Bowman, Director of Public Safety.
In the report, every agency took more than six minutes to respond to a call. It says the independently-run EMS system needs to be more regulated and work as a cohesive unit.
"We are going to attempt to put the data together in a consistent manner so we can truly see where we're at," Bowman said.
Each agency is licensed by New York State to respond to a specific area. Chief Matthew Jarrett of Scottsville EMS, which received the lowest ranking, says often times, the ambulance closest to the emergency isn't allowed to respond due to these restrictions.
"We think there should be a patient centered system and I think most agencies would agree with that," said Bowman.
"Anything that can better response times is always acceptable. I'm very comfortable with the fact in this county that if you call an ambulance you're gonna get one in a decent amount of time," said Allen.
In April, Fitch and Associates will be meeting with each chief to discuss their findings and develop ways to improve, like using an updated dispatch system.
The agencies YNN spoke with also expressed a great need for additional volunteers to decrease response time.