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Home > EMS Products > Communications
February 09, 2012
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EMS News in Focus
by Arthur Hsieh

Why EMS calls aren't always random

Consider this: Stationary EMS units parked inside stations are financially inefficient

By Arthur Hsieh

From the pages of a good sci fi book — except it's real. Posting units around a community is nothing new -- for better or worse, system status management has been around since the late 1980s.

Sitting on street corners isn't fun; it takes real effort to stay fit and not eat a ton of empty calories while parked at a convenience store.

I'd be more willing to do it if it somehow meant that I'd be closer to the incident and reduce my need to blaze through traffic.

In essence the ability to make that happen is becoming a reality. It's very intriguing that somehow the randomness of an EMS call is, in fact, not — at least not completely.

Some of it is intuitive — perhaps a greater number of crashes during heavy traffic periods, or a greater incidence of medical calls downtown during the weekday and in the residential areas at night.

I suspect that there is more to the concept, however, in order for greater precision in predictability.

Lest you think that this isn't a harbinger of future events, consider this: Stationary EMS units parked inside stations are financially inefficient.

It's convenient and helpful to the EMS provider, but may not be the best approach in managing the demands of a dynamic system.

The story on Houston considering the privatization of its EMS system is at least partially based on the financial capability of that system to pay for itself.

I mean, we don't expect physicians and nurses to sit around their departments waiting for patients to arrive, right? Not every hospital is a trauma center for the same reason.

The balance of this equation is that EMS providers are afforded as many creature comforts as possible while being mobile.

It's not always best to be parked in a fast food restaurant parking lot, nor is it to be driving for hours on end moving from one post location to the next.

We're human, too — and our grumpiness is just as predictable as the calls we run.

About the author

EMS1 Editor in Chief Art Hsieh, MA, NREMT-P currently teaches at the Public Safety Training Center, Santa Rosa Junior College in the Emergency Care Program. In the profession since 1982, Art has worked as a line medic and chief officer in the private, third service and fire-based EMS. He has directed both primary and EMS continuing education programs. Art is a published textbook author, has presented at conferences nationwide, and continues to provide patient care at a rural hospital-based ALS system. Contact Art at Art.Hsieh@ems1.com.
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