New system helps EMS crews respond effectively to 9-1-1 calls

Local News

Southern Alleghenies EMS Council is working hard to provide the best and most effective care for the people in the community.

Huntingdon County has used the ambulance availability system for the past two years. It lets 911 dispatch centers know which agencies have personnel ready to respond.

“There have been situations where the 9-1-1 center has had to go through two, three, even four agencies in order to get an ambulance to respond to something. So we’re looking to decrease that initial time and to make sure we get EMS to the patient as quickly as we possibly can,” Carl Moen, Executive Director of Southern Alleghenies EMS Council, said.

Since the system’s been in Huntingdon County, the EMS response time has gone down.

“What used to happen, especially with a volunteer agency, is the 911 center would get a call and would then page for the ambulance service, and the crew to respond, and hopefully someone was around. It’s called the page and hope process. It’s more and more difficult now for volunteer agencies to get personnel, so we’re finding that services aren’t necessarily getting to as quickly or as easy as they used to,” Moen said. 

 Agencies in Bedford and Fulton counties were added to the system Monday afternoon. The Saxton Fire Chief said he’s hopeful that the system will work for his company and community.

“I’m optimistic that there are parts that are gonna work, but we’re still all volunteer, and it’s tough to know exactly when people are available, but at least this way people can sign on and be ready, and the 9-1-1 centers will be able to save a lot of time by sending the next closest in a quicker amount of time,” Mark Taylor, Chief of Saxton Fire Company, said.

Somerset has already done orientation and education on the system. Moen hopes that they implement it in the next coming months.

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