Q – “Our public safety Emergency Medical Services (EMS) is provided by our local fire department isn’t it?”
A – We have a for profit, public safety provider called National EMS. National EMS is owned by a larger company called Priority EMS which operates in 10 states and has corporate offices in Arizona, Indiana, and Tennessee.
Q – “The ambulance will get there quickly when I call 911, right?”
A – In the last four years over 31,000 EMS calls experienced delays (exceeded the response time standard of 8 minutes and 59 seconds).
Q – “Do emergency medical service (EMS) response times matter?”
A – There are many time sensitive, life threatening emergencies where a timely response by an advance life support ambulance can mean the difference between life and death. Other times it can mean the difference between a healthy future and one full of impairment due to an extended period of oxygen deprivation to the brain or heart.
Q – “If me or a member of my family experienced a time sensitive, life threatening emergency, can Priority National EMS assure me that the ambulance designated to cover our neighborhood will not have been pulled to run a non-emergency transport?”
A – No, their business model is to routinely pull their 911 ambulances from their state designated coverage zones to run non-emergency transports.
Q – “Are there any other ambulance companies in the county that could run some of those non-emergency transports?”
A – Absolutely. There are several non-emergency transport companies in Athens-Clarke County.
Q – “Does this critical area of public safety have an oversight committee?”
A – Yes. Shockingly, the EMS Oversight Committee meetings are not announced and are not open to the public.