Study shows slow EMS response in Monroe County

Posted at: 03/06/2013 5:33 PM
Updated at: 03/06/2013 5:44 PM
By: Joangel Concepcion

What would you say is an acceptable amount of time for EMS to arrive at your house after calling 911? 5 minutes? 10 minutes? A new study shows some EMS response times in Monroe County are more than 15 minutes.
According to the report, it takes an average of nearly 18 minutes in Brighton. In Brockport, the response time is almost 21 minutes. On the other side, ambulances in Chili typically got to an emergency in about seven minutes.

The company that conducted this study is called Fitch and Associates. They based their findings on three elements. A web based survey where agencies provided information on everything from financial information to operations. They looked at the county's computerized dispatch system for response times. They also did site visits to talk to EMTs. The results have EMS agencies around our area frustrated.

When a call comes in to the Brighton Volunteer Ambulance Center, EMTs spring into action. But according to a recent study, Brighton is one of several agencies in Monroe County that aren't moving fast enough.

The emergency medical services study found EMS agencies in Monroe County are not reliable. They do not operate as a system. The report also says more than 50 agencies do not always work in the best interest of patients. Also, the closest ambulance is often unable to respond, emergency medical care is not consistent and finally there are those slow response times.

Brighton Ambulance Director of Operations Johnathan Smith says the study is wrong and insulting.

Johnathon Smith, Brighton Ambulance Director of Operations, said, “We work very hard, we're very proud of what we do and this study suggests that we can't handle that job and that's frustrating to us especially given the fact that we're very confident that we can and we do. The data is inconsistent with what we know to be our true performance so we're interested to understand where that discrepancy lies.”

But when News10NBC told people in Brighton the study shows it took Brighton EMS 18 minutes to respond to emergencies, they didn't feel very confident..

Barbara Dodge said, “I think it would worry anybody. I think that an 18 minute response time is way too long when you can have a 5-10 minute response time.”
Torre Pinkins said, “I think it's a bit ridiculous especially for a town. It should be way less than that.”

News10NBC wanted to know what the Monroe County Director of Public Safety thought about the study.

Stephen Bowman, Director of Public Safety, said, “We're not doing a good job at how we're capturing data, so that's one of the first things I'm going to take away from this is we need to do a better job at that. Nothing is going to happen based on this study other than a good discussion about this study and how we can get good data going forward so we can make good decisions. So that's really what we found out.”

Bowman says he's asked the people running these agencies to get their questions ready. Fitch and Associates will be in town at the end of April to talk about how they can help the agencies improve and move forward.

The study cost $140,000 and was paid for by five different grants. The director of public safety says he feels the money was put to good use. He says the county needed this study. He calls it a starting point.

To see the study, click here.