Administration and Leadership, Industry News

Richmond Ambulance Authority Celebrates its 25th Anniversary

Richmond Ambulance AuthorityRICHMOND, Va., September 20, 2016 – The Richmond Ambulance Authority (RAA) will celebrate its 25th anniversary on Wednesday, September 21. After a quarter century in operation, RAA has transformed from the nascent EMS service created by Richmond City Council and the city manager under dire circumstances in 1991, to become a preeminent world leader in pre-hospital healthcare.

“When RAA was created 25 years ago, EMS service in the City was in complete disarray with multiple ambulance companies competing for the best, highest-paying transports, leaving some sectors of the City without coverage,” said Chip Decker, CEO of the Richmond Ambulance Authority. “There was no accountability at all which is why the Richmond Ambulance Authority was created and given responsibility for providing EMS services in the City of Richmond. Over the course of these 25 years, particularly since we severed ties with our operations contractor in 2007 and became self-operated, the City of Richmond truly has a world-class EMS system.”

Today, RAA is renowned throughout the United States and internationally as a high-performance EMS agency and uses data and information systems to conduct demand analysis to ensure ambulances are in the right place at the right time to meet or exceed emergency response time requirements. Annual call volume has gone from 43,000 in 1991, to 66,000 calls in 2016 – a 50-percent increase.  Despite the surge in calls, the EMS system in Richmond has flourished in recent years, and RAA’s consistent level of excellent service, implementation of leading-edge clinical trials and impactful public education programs have not gone unnoticed. In 2015, RAA was named the Career EMS Agency of the Year by the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians’ (NAEMT) and EMS World magazine. RAA’s other numerous distinctions include being accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services (CAAS) and named an Accredited Center of Excellence (ACE) by the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch. Very few EMS agencies nationwide hold both of these accreditations.   

For years, RAA has had a significant impact on EMS internationally, most recently with its partnership with the Panamerican Trauma Society. Trauma surgeons from Central and South America come to Richmond to participate in this international observer program. They spend weeks at a time embedded with RAA to fully understand the role an EMS organization plays in the overall trauma system. These clinicians then take the lessons learned in the Richmond system and apply them in their own countries. 

Since becoming a self-operated system in 2007, RAA has hosted numerous visitors who want to learn more about Richmond’s EMS successes including government officials, doctors and EMS personnel from England, Scotland, Ireland, Sweden, Finland, Holland, Norway, Columbia, Chile, Brazil, Ecuador, Mexico, Australia, Turkmenistan and Taiwan as well as from throughout the United States. 

About the Richmond Ambulance Authority
In 1991, the Richmond City Council and the city manager implemented an Emergency Medical Services (EMS) system that placed the patient first and guaranteed its performance to the City’s residents.  Today, the Richmond Ambulance Authority responds to approximately 200 calls per day and transports, on average, 140 patients per day. RAA’s emergency response times are among the best in the nation with ambulances on the scene of life threatening emergencies in less than 8 minutes and 59 seconds in more than 90% of the time. RAA is one of only a few EMS agencies in North America accredited by both the Commission on the Accreditation of Ambulance Services and the National Academies of Emergency Dispatch. RAA is also a Commonwealth of Virginia Accredited Dispatch Center.  For more information, see www.raaems.org.