Technology improves NJ emergency response time

The Jersey Journal

JERSEY CITY, N.J. — The Jersey City Medical Center emergency medical services unit has shaved its "phone pickup to wheel stop" response times to an average of 5 minutes, 20 seconds. The average two years ago was eight minutes, 24 seconds, officials said.

The biggest reason for the drop in time: the department's System Status Management, which features the MARVLIS — Mobile Area Routing and Vehicle Location Information System.

The system compiles historical data of emergency calls to determine where to place ambulances and what days and times they should be there. During times with a high volume of emergency calls — normally Fridays before rush hour because people are in a hurry to get home - as many as 15 ambulances are stationed throughout the Jersey City and Secaucus areas.

"We cover Jersey City and Secaucus for Basic Life Support (BLS) ambulance service and Greater Hudson County for Advanced Life Support (ALS) Mobile Intensive Care Unit (MICU) paramedic service," said Christopher Rinn, director of emergency services for the hospital.

In addition to stationing the center's ambulances strategically, the drivers now rely on GPS devices to give them the fastest route to an emergency.

The installation of the new technology and the training of the staff to use it totaled roughly $750,000, most of which was covered by federal grants, Rinn said.

The hospital's EMS unit responds to 80,000 emergency calls a year.

"Our EMS services look for ways to improve patients' survivability rates in the cost effective manner," Rinn said. "In this economy and with struggling health care, it's more important now to provide health care. Anyone can dial 911 and they deserve timely responses and good health care."

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