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Technology Improvements Lead to Significant Improvements to Fire and EMS Response Times

Post Date:07/14/2017

Following a change in fire and emergency medical dispatch processes, the Germantown Fire Department is recording significant improvements in response times.

Locution PrimeAlert, a public safety dispatch software application, was launched in Germantown in March. PrimeAlert provides automated dispatching of fire and EMS calls, which reduces the workload of dispatchers and allows calls to be processed at a faster rate. One example of this is the capability that allows first responders to be notified of the call while the dispatcher remains on the phone with the caller.

Since switching over to PrimeAlert, dispatch times have significantly improved, allowing first responders to reach customers with medical or fire emergencies more quickly which may sometimes mean the difference between life and death. Dispatch time has improved by 20%, while overall response time has improved by 8.6% from an average of 6 minutes 22 seconds to 5 minutes 49 seconds. The change in the dispatch technology system is having a positive effect on customer service. “The results of quicker response help us to provide assistance as quickly and effectively as possible, which is what matters most to our customers,” said Germantown Fire Chief John Selberg.  In the long-run, EMS staff hope that improved response times will also lead to an increase in the department’s cardiac survival rate, which is already one of the best in the U.S.

The PrimeAlert launch was the result of the City’s focus on process improvement and commitment to service excellence. A cross functional team from Information Technology, Fire and Police worked to make the project possible. Phil Rogers, Director of Germantown Athletic Club, conducted the Six Sigma project that identified the opportunity for improvement and led to the software change. Other strategies deployed to improve response times include use of computers in each fire engine and ambulance, use of a text messaging system that sends calls to Fire/EMS cell phones and installation of large monitors at each station that show call and unit status. The improvements came with a price tag of $188,761 which was supported by a grant from the Shelby County 911 Board.
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