As our new Commission took office, we heard about high-profile cases in which county ambulances took too long-over 30 minutes in some cases-to respond to dire emergencies. As Mayor Wharton worked on devising a solution, I headed up a special Subcommittee on Emergency Response, which held hearings on the matter. We issued a report making a number of recommendations (Click here to access the County website) which either have been implemented or are in the process of being implemented. Among them:
(1) following Mayor Wharton’s recommendation, a new “performance-based” contract doubling the number of ambulances and tying payment to response time and other tangible results;
(2) filling a needed gap in emergency medical technicians (EMTs) with a new program to recruit volunteer part-time emergency medical technicians;
(3) increasing the availability of defibrillators and CPR-trained employees in county buildings and throughout the county.
The new ambulance contract has had proven results. Response times in both urban and rural areas have been substantially decreased.