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SC County Response Times Faster Than National Average

It takes Beaufort County ambulances an average of 6.9 minutes to respond to an incident — well within the national standard of 8.59 minutes, emergency management services officials said Monday.

EMS director Donna Ownby and county public safety division director William Winn presented the response times, recorded between Aug. 1, 2008, and July 31, 2009, to the County Council Public Safety Committee.

“What we’re looking at is what we have basically called, ‘wheels out,’ … from the time when EMS was called, to when they get out on the scene,” Winn told the committee.

EMS has nine front-line ambulances, each assigned to a particular area of the county, Ownby said. Six back-up ambulances also are part of the fleet.

“I absolutely would love to have one more ambulance on each side of the river,” Ownby said, adding that she was generally pleased with the average response times but hoped to see them improve.

“We’ve never been to a point where we could not respond to a call, but there has been a little bit of a delay,” she said.

Councilman Jerry Stewart, committee chairman, acknowledged growing concerns among county residents about the quality of service provided by county EMS.Former EMS director Rusty Hollingsworth retired in June after media scrutiny of the department. Brian Lanese, a Bluffton resident who was severely beaten and whose treatment prompted questions about county ambulance service, filed a lawsuit against county EMS in October.

Read More, County EMS response times faster than national standards, director says