Ambulance response times in Dunwoody for November and December showed mixed results, according to a report from DeKalb County.
An agreement reached in October between Mayor Denis Shortal and DeKalb CEO Michael Thurmond created tiered response times. Basic life support calls, or BLS calls, require EMTs and 90 percent of those calls should be responded to within 15 minutes. Advanced life support calls, or ALS calls, involve patients in more critical conditions that require paramedics, and 90 percent of those calls should be responded to within nine minutes.
In November, there were 261 calls in Dunwoody. The ALS response time for 90 percent of calls was 11 minutes and 25 seconds, outside the nine-minute requirement agreed to by the county and city. BLS calls did meet the contractual agreement with 90 percent of calls responded to within 14 minutes and 47 seconds.
In December, there were 266 calls. Ninety percent of ALS calls were responded to in under nine minutes, but 90 percent of BLS calls were 20 minutes and 48 seconds.
Police Chief Billy Grogan updated the City Council on the response times at the Jan. 28 City Council meeting. He said the DeKalb E911 center in mid-December began dispatching AMR calls rather than having AMR dispatch its own calls. All Dunwoody emergency calls go through ChatComm, but AMR calls now go directly to the county E911 center rather than to AMR’s dispatchers. This allows the county to better monitor AMR’s response times, Grogan said.
Last year, the city declared an “EMS emergency” and asked to break off from DeKalb County to create its own EMS zone after city officials said complaints of slow ambulance response times went unheeded by the county. The state Region 3 EMS Council that oversees DeKalb County appointed a subcommittee to review the city’s request and DeKalb’s ambulance services. The subcommittee is set to meet on Feb. 7 at Dunwoody City Hall.