Every Second Counts
Response time is calculated as a combination of Dispatch Time (answering the 911 call and assigning to a unit), Turnout Time (getting the unit out the door), and Travel Time (driving to the incident).
2021 EMS Response
County-wide EMS call data for 2021 from the centralized dispatch system indicates that the turnout time plus travel time for EMS response is less than 14 minutes, 24 seconds for 9 out of 10 calls (the 90th percentile) – shown in blue in the chart below.
Increase in Response Time
The report from Fitch & Associates recommends the adoption of standards from CFAI (Commission on Fire Accreditation International). Following the “rural” standards, the report indicates that the “goal time” for EMS unit response (turnout + travel) would be 15 minutes (the “benchmark”). The same standard also indicates an acceptable time of 19 minutes, 42 seconds (the “baseline” response time at the 90th percentile). In the chart above, the goal standard is shown in gold, the acceptable standard is shown in red.
Jefferson County Dispatch Time Doesn’t Meet Standards
Jefferson County’s 911 dispatch time is significantly above the 60 second and 90 second standards referenced in the Fitch report. The call data for 2020 (Table 5 of the report) indicate a dispatch time of 3 minutes, 24 seconds at the 90th percentile; for 2021 the corresponding time was 2 minutes, 54 seconds.
Adding the county’s 2021 average dispatch time of 1 minute, 48 seconds to the travel and turnout times to calculate the potential Total Response Time (the dashed lines to the right of each bar in the chart above) pushes the clock to more than 20 minutes for the proposed acceptable standard (red bar).
[READ MORE: Ambulance Proposal In Fitch Report Raises Alarms]By Steve Pearson