Pilot Program Successfully Decreases Emergency Response Times

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – When getting to an emergency, every second can be crucial to Sioux Falls Fire Rescue.

That’s why they’re proud to say they’ve cut down response times by 11 seconds in the last few months.

They say it’s all thanks to better communication between dispatchers and first responders.

It’s the staff at Metro Communications who answer the phone when someone calls 911.

They are also the ones to call Sioux Falls Police, Fire and Rescue and Paramedics Plus sending them out to a scene.

“There doing a lot of different things in a short amount of time,” says the Director of Metro Communications Paul Niedringhaus.

This is why communication between these agencies is key.

But Paramedics Plus Chief Operating Officer Michael Bureau says it hasn’t always been practiced in the right way.

“We were always giving them feedback as responders, but we weren’t giving them the important information they needed.”

Until Now.

During an informational meeting, Bureau shared with Sioux Falls City Council members the success of their ‘Resource Allocation Pilot’ program.

It started back in October, and has taught first responders what type of patient information they need to relay back to Metro Communications.

So for example, “a rollover accident with multiple injuries is going to get everyone started because that could be a really serious call,” explains Bureau.

However, when police or fire and rescue get on scene they might realize the patient has no injuries and is fine.

Something they need to relay back to Metro right away.

“We might be able to change the priority level and downgrade it, get the right people there or maybe they don’t have to go,” says Niedringhaus.

This is how Sioux Falls Fire and Rescue has been able to decrease their emergency response times by more than 10 seconds.

They aren’t getting called out to scenes that have been downgraded, so they’re able to focus their resources on true emergency calls.

Something the Fire Chief says is a huge accomplishment.

“When we can shave off 11 seconds especially in a cardiac arrest or delivering a baby; when it’s really critical, every second is really precious to us,” says Jim Sideras.

The fire chief says their goal is to get from the fire station to the patient in 5 minutes and 12 seconds.

Categories: Health, Local News

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