Ambulance Response Improving - @

Ambulance Response Improving

Officials credit cooperative backup system for 'significant' gains in reducing deadly delays, and novel funding at no added taxpayer cost


Jennifer Maloney | | Friday, October 10, 2008

ISLIP, N.Y. -- Ambulance response times are dropping in Islip because of a new backup system jointly staffed by the town's five ambulance districts, county and local emergency services, officials said yesterday.

Officials said the Tactical Ambulance Program, launched in January, has answered more than 500 calls with a median response time of 8 minutes. "It is a significant improvement," said Bob Delagi, acting director of Suffolk's Emergency Medical Services division. "We have had isolated cases [in Suffolk County] of ambulances responding to the scene in 18, 20, 40 minutes. The problem is acute all over the county."

A growing number of 911 calls and a dearth of volunteer emergency medical technicians available on weekdays had contributed to the response-time problem, officials said.

Town and county officials yesterday said they could not provide the average response times townwide before and after the program began.

Under the new system, a backup ambulance, staffed jointly by Islip's five ambulance districts, roams the town Monday through Friday, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., responding to emergencies when the nearest district's ambulances are occupied on other 911 calls.

A Tactical Ambulance Program unit responds to a scene if the nearest district can't get an ambulance on the way within 4 minutes of a call, said Jamie Atkinson, president of the Islip Ambulance Chiefs Association.

In the past, if a district couldn't muster an ambulance team in 9 minutes, the call was passed on to another district, which had 9 more minutes to act before the call was passed on to a third district.

That process sometimes led to dangerous delays, Atkinson said.

This is not the first joint effort among Long Island ambulance districts to reduce response times, Delagi said. But the Islip plan is unique in how it's funded, he said.

The Town of Islip paid the five districts $5.5 million last year to provide ambulance services. To fund the new program, the districts are now bidding together to purchase supplies - such as gauze, EKG machines, and blankets - at a lower price. They're using the savings to pay for the program, so it comes at no additional cost to taxpayers, Atkinson said.

Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: Operations and Protcols, Vehicle Operations

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS

Get JEMS in Your Inbox


Fire EMS Blogs

Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts


EMS Airway Clinic

Innovation & Advancement

This is the seventh year of the EMS 10 Innovators in EMS program, jointly sponsored by Physio-Control and JEMS.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Press Conference, East Village Explosion and Collapse

Fire is contained to four buildings; 12 people have been injured.
Watch It >

Multimedia Thumb

D.C. Mayor Adds Ambulances to Peak Demand Period

10 additional ambulances will be on the streets from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Watch It >

Multimedia Thumb

Utah Commission Privatizes Ambulance Service

Mayors in Iron County loose management fight.
Watch It >

Multimedia Thumb

Ambulance Delay Raises Concerns over Response Times

Officers give up after waiting 20 minutes for an ambulance.
Watch It >

Multimedia Thumb

Patient Carry during Snowstorm

Firefighters, medics and officers lend a hand in Halifax.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Terror Attack in Tunisia

19 people killed outside of a museum.
More >