Emergency Medical Services to the Southern Rural Area




Decision on placement of 3 Fire fighter/ALS staff to provide service to the southern rural area of the County



Tucker, Foley, Davis, Eggleston





June 1, 2005


ACTION:     X                           INFORMATION:   



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During the FY05/06 budget work sessions, the Board considered a budget request from Scottsville Volunteer Rescue Squad for 5 additional Fire Fighter/Advanced Life Support (FF/ALS)  personnel in order to provide 24/7 coverage out of the Scottsville Volunteer Rescue Squad building. As an alternative to the 5 additional FF/ALS staff for Scottsville Rescue, Fire/Rescue staff presented a proposal for 3 FF/ALS personnel to provide 24/7 advanced life support (ALS) response services out of the Monticello Fire/Rescue station. Staff demonstrated that the new personnel placed at Monticello Fire Rescue station would meet the service needs in the southern rural area of the County.


The Board approved 3 additional FF/ALS positions, but chose to defer the decision on the placement of personnel at either Scottsville Rescue station or Monticello Fire Rescue station.  




Strategic Direction 3: Enhance the Quality of Life for all Albemarle County Citizens




Based on actual response data, Fire Rescue staff believes that the combined efforts of the 3 additional personnel placed at the Monticello station, the existing 2 FF/ALS daytime career staff at Scottsville Volunteer Rescue, and the existing Scottsville Rescue evening and weekend volunteer staff would provide an appropriate level of emergency medical services to the southern rural area of the County.


An analysis of the Scottsville Volunteer Rescue response time data (evening and weekends) shows an average of 28:45 minutes between the dispatch of a medical emergency call and the time the ambulance marks en-route to the hospital from the scene.  Furthermore, the average response time from the Monticello station to the southern area of the County is 16:36. Therefore, the data shows that in the event a call is dispatched and both units leave their respective stations at the same time, the unit from Monticello will, on average, meet the Scottsville ambulance on scene and be able to provide ALS care en-route to the hospital. 


In addition to addressing the southern rural area EMS needs, there are additional advantages to placing the FF/ALS first response personnel at the Monticello station rather than at the Scottsville Volunteer Rescue station:


  1. The personnel stationed at the Monticello station would be available if needed in the southern urban planned development area (PDA) as well as the entire County.
  2. The resources are placed in a more central location and thus benefit a larger portion of County citizenís verses placing resources in the lower portion of the County near the Fluvanna and Buckingham County lines.
  3. The decision to place the resources in the PDA (i.e. - Monticello station) is in line with the Community Facilities section of the Comprehensive plan.


In order for the quick response vehicle at the Monticello station to be effective, a change to the existing EMS response policy is also required. The current EMS dispatch policy states that a rescue squad is given 4 minutes from time of dispatch to respond to high priority calls and 6 minutes to respond to mid and lower priority calls. If the squad is unable to respond within the time defined, the next closest response agency is dispatched.


Fire Rescue staff proposes a change in the dispatch policy above. The proposed policy would eliminate the wait time based on the actual staffing of the Scottsville Volunteer Rescue building and would immediately send the first response ALS staff from Monticello, if needed.  The proposed policy would require that Scottsville Volunteer Rescue notify the Emergency Communication Center (ECC) of their daily staffing so that the dispatch algorithm could be setup to dispatch the appropriate level of resources. Based on the staffing report, ECC would eliminate the wait time and send the appropriate level of care based on the following criteria:


1)         An EMS call is received for Scottsville Volunteer Rescue and the building is not staffed.

2)         An advanced level call is received for Scottsville Volunteer Rescue, the building is staffed, but the squad does not have ALS personnel available as noted on the staffing report


The policy above will better ensure that assistance is immediately sent to a call and ALS services are sent to high priority calls.





Staff recommends that the Board approve placing the 3 additional fire fighter/ALS first response personnel at Monticello Fire/Rescue station and approve the change in the dispatch protocol.




EMS Staffing Attachment

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