Since the beginning of 2022, till July of this year, the Airdrie Fire Department has been called to 925 medical co-response calls alongside Emergency Medical Services (EMS). While since 2016, there has been a gradual increase in the fire department's response to co-medical calls, there has also been an increase in how long fire crews are waiting for their first responder counterparts to arrive on the scene.
The longest EMS response time since 2016 was to a co-medical call that was attended by the city's fire department in June 2022, totalling nearly an hour. According to data provided by the fire department, the 9-1-1 call which was classified as a Delta would see fire crews on the scene at 6:12 a.m. EMS was recorded as being on the scene at 6:58 a.m. and fire crews didn't leave till 7:21 a.m.
While the June 2022 call was the longest fire crews waiting for EMS from all of the 9-1-1 calls since 2016, the average EMS response time to a co-medical call in 2022, thus far, has been 4 minutes and 21 seconds. Over 320 co-medical response calls have been longer than the average.
When comparing co-medical response calls in 2022 to previous years, there is a marked increase since 2016. In 2016, the fire department responded to 702 calls. By 2017, that number increased to 887 calls. In 2018 there was a minor dip to 884 calls. But by 2019, the calls increased to 903. In 2020, there was a slight decrease once again to 827 calls. But by 2021, the calls increased to 903.
In 2016, the average time for EMS to respond to a co-medical call with AFD totalled approximately two-and-a-half minutes. However, from a total of 702 co-medical response calls that year, over a third of the calls were over the average time. The longest recorded time it took for EMS to arrive on the scene was over 30 minutes for a Bravo call in 2016.
In a previous interview, Airdrie's Fire Chief, Mike Pirie noted that the fire department will respond to Alpha and Bravo 9-1-1 calls if EMS makes the request.
"Alpha and Bravo calls require EMS to request the service. Typically to help move patients, force entry into properties or if there is an extensive EMS response time. None of these are automatic and require a person to make the decision to attach us. We do not refuse requests and will always go if requested," Chief Pirie wrote in a previous correspondence.
A 9-1-1 event that is codified as a Charlie event will be responded to by fire crews if EMS is expected to be longer than 10 minutes. Delta and Echo calls (the highest priority and the most life-threatening) trigger an automatic co-response by both fire crews and EMS.
Since 2016, fire crews responded to 385 Alpha, Bravo, and Charlie 9-1-1 events in total. The bulk of those calls, 200-some were classified as Charlie 9-1-1 events. The longest time it took EMS to respond to a Charlie event was in 2018. EMS response time was logged at 48 minutes.
By 2017, the average response time for EMS to arrive at a co-medical response call was 3.7 minutes. In 2018, there was a slight decrease to approximately three-and-half-minutes. In 2019, the average response time was 2.6 minutes. In 2020, the average response time fell once again to 2.3 minutes. By 2021, the average response time was over four minutes.
On November 7, during a presentation to the city council, AHS EMS representatives stipulated that the benchmark for EMS response times should be measured by an eight-minute 50th percentile median response for Delta and Echo calls, which the city's fire department would have to respond automatically to. 578 of the calls EMS responded to alongside AFD would have failed that benchmark.
Since 2016, the Airdrie Fire Department has responded to a total of 6021 co-medical response calls.
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