As Milwaukee response times double, city allows up to 1 hour for low-acuity calls

Due to severe staff shortages, the city adjusted the required response time for low-acuity calls from 30 minutes to one hour


By EMS1 Staff

MILWAUKEE — A new city policy gives providers up to an hour to respond to low-acuity calls as determined by dispatch.

Due to severe staff shortages, the city adjusted the required response time for low-acuity calls from 30 minutes to one hour, FOX 6 reported

“I’m sure it’s quite frustrating being the person waiting for the ambulance, but we have to do what we can,” said Chris Anderson, director of operations for Bell Ambulance.
“I’m sure it’s quite frustrating being the person waiting for the ambulance, but we have to do what we can,” said Chris Anderson, director of operations for Bell Ambulance. (Photo/Bell Ambulance)

“The city of Milwaukee is 100 square miles, and we have, currently, just two ambulance companies covering that very large area of the city,” said Milwaukee Fire Department Assistant Chief Joshua Parish.

Bell Ambulance is receiving twice as many calls each day compared to four years ago, with less staff available.

“I’m sure it’s quite frustrating being the person waiting for the ambulance, but we have to do what we can,” said Chris Anderson, director of operations for Bell Ambulance. During the first two months of the policy, he said, there were three instances when the full hour was utilized.

“Our goal is to treat those calls the same as every other call, which generally means 15 minutes or less,” he said.

Anderson said he has been working with the MFD to mitigate the response time issues.

“It’s been really collaborative, and it’s been really great to see,” he said. “I really enjoy working with those guys.”

Bottom line, for Anderson, is that the city needs more EMTs.

“I think we are in a good place,” he said. “I think we could get to great.”

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