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Athens for Everyone Requests Audit of National EMS Response Times

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Athens for Everyone is requesting an audit of National EMS response times. The activist group is asking the ambulance service company to release its full data from the 31,055 calls that they claim exceeded the response time standard between 2014 and 2017.

The group wants an open audit of the calls, including the nature of the 911 emergency, the zone in which these 911 calls originated and the location from which the ambulance responded.

In addition, A4E requests a full accounting of all the 911 call types that National EMS considered Priority 2, or nonemergency with no lights and sirens.

Sam Rafal (raffle) is an EMT and teacher, and member of the A4E member

“We hired an attorney, we got the numbers, they’re terrible” according to Rafal. “Now they’re trying to excuse the 31,055 ambulance delays, 9-1-1 emergency response delays as something we think other than it really is.”  

Friday, the Emergency Medical Service Oversight Committee released a statement of confidence in the company. Raffle says the Oversight Committee meetings should also be open to the public.

“It’s public safety, these calls come in through 9-1-1, they’re run in state-mandated 9-1-1 coverage zones they receive a public subsidy to do it but yet they get to meet in private.”

The committee is made up of representatives from St. Mary’s Health Care System, Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center, and Athens-Clarke and Oconee counties governments.

Don Cargile, National EMS Community Relations Director told WUGA the coverage area, which includes rural counties Oconee and Morgan in addition to Clarke, affects times; as does including emergency and non-emergency calls in the numbers.

“National EMS covers three counties in the is region,” Cargile said. "It covers Athens-Clarke, they cover Oconee and Morgan. Oconee and Morgan are rural counties so response times will be a little bit greater in those two counties. It also includes the priority one calls and the priority two calls. The emergencies with lights and sirens and the non-emergencies. The majority of our calls don’t require a time-sensitive response.”

Athens for Everyone claims National EMS takes ambulances out of emergency service for non-emergency transport.

Cargile says that National EMS’s dispatch center prioritizes emergency calls, and that that kind of prioritization is necessary for public safety.

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