Wednesday, June 22, 2011

EMS Report: Numbers Look Better

An ambulance will arrive at the scene of a life threatening EMS call in 9 minutes or less better than 80% of the time.

A fire truck will arrive at the scene of a life threatening EMS call in 9 minutes or less better than 90% of the time.

The most recent EMS response time numbers were discussed in committee meeting today down at city hall. I checked it out on the live stream "Channel 2" function. Compared to previous work, the fire department is improving.

My WiFi connection was having some trouble staying with the feed, but the figures appear as follows: for life threatening emergencies, where the expectation is that 85% of the time a paramedic ambulance will be there within 9 minutes, the city wide average was 86% for the paramedic response, and 95% for an EMT response. That compares with 82% and 87% respectively for February of this year. (Reports can be found on the city's web site [finally and hallelujah] but none more recent than February are displayed.) I kept losing the feed, but from what I could hear, no ambulance district area was under 80% for the 9 minute standard for a paramedic, and all were at least 91% for a EMT response within the 9 minutes. The number of ambulances on the street has been increased since the beginning of the year, with some changes in placement in the northland that are more cognizant of geography and traffic flow and this probably helped to improve times.

This sounded all fabulous and dandy, but I have questions: If we are putting more ambulances out on the static posts of the fire stations, all working 24 hour shifts (33 is the number now), are we saving the money we were promised to save when the merger idea was first conceived? How is the KCFD working with/around the labor law issue concerning 24 shifts for non-fire suppression personnel (technically non-suppression personnel can't work 24 hours without being paid overtime)? Finally are these numbers really pure or is someone tweaking them?

It's hard not to be overly critical of a system that never should have come to be as it is in the way that it did for the reasons that it did--more political than practical--and was horrendously understudied to boot. And there continue to be many other issues as well that have to work themselves out over time--pensions, which are probably going to result in some broken promises to the former MAST people; hiring and training, billing and membership for example. It is good however, to see that response times are coming down, and the system is more or less working as it was intended.


Bob G. said...

T.O.:That's the BIG thing for me when it comes to public safety...POLITICS.
You make a good point that it's more political than practical.
To me, it should aklways be preacticallity FIRST...and then (if we have time & interest) politics.
A 9 minutes (or less) response time seems good...then again, it depends on where YOU live and how close YOU are to a station with EMS.
I'm sure not everyone can live within shouting distance from a firehouse these days.

Sign of the times, I suppose.

Good post and commentary.

Stay safe out there.

The Observer said...

Bob G:
This was such a political move--all about elections and the IAFF union which is quite powerful. Even tho the EMS people had given up their own local to join KCFD's IAFF local, the fire department wanted those JOBs that the EMS had.

One of the promises that was dangled in front of the EMS workers was a full pension vesting. It does not appear as if that is going to happen (would cost $30 mil) and now people's eyes are starting to open that saving money,improving working conditions and providing better service were only side considerations to this merger/take over.

At this point, it's a bunch of lemons and we have to make lemonade. Next issue: non-fire suppression folks working 24 shifts w/o being paid overtime.

Show me the this taxpayer THE MONEY that this was supposed to save!

Thanks for commenting--have a great weekend--and check out the photo blog for more car pics.

The Observer

The Observer said...

Photo blog link: