Frequently Asked Questions About the Increase in EMSA's Response Times
[July 24, 2013]
Why are response times increasing?
Based on best practices of evidence-based medicine, and at the recommendation of the Medical Control Board and the ambulance provider selection committee, EMSA is increasing emergency response times for 911 calls. Scientific data has proven a quicker response time does not guarantee survival, but rather CPR administered at the time of the 911 call provides the life-sustaining care in those early minutes of an emergency. The reason for the increased response time is to increase the safety for medics and the general public when medics respond to 911 calls.
How long will it take EMSA to respond to my emergency?
In Oklahoma City, Edmond and Tulsa, the response for Priority 1 calls will be 10 minutes and 59 seconds and 24 minutes and 59 seconds for Priority 2 calls. Priority 1 calls are critical situations, such as heart attacks, strokes, drownings and traumatic motor vehicle collisions.
When will this change take effect?
The response time requirements will start November 1, 2013.
If minutes matter in an emergency, why is EMSA increasing response time?
Will ambulances still run hot to emergencies?
Ambulances will continue to run hot (drive with lights and sirens on) for Priority 1 calls. However, for Priority 2 calls the ambulances will run cold (no lights and sirens on). Most accidents involving ambulances occur when ambulances run hot. To increase traffic safety for medics and the general public, EMSA will only run hot on life-threatening emergencies.
Does this mean I need to pull over every time I see an ambulance?
How often do accidents occur involving ambulances?
What was the research behind this decision?
EMSA commissioned an independent, third-party study of best practices for emergency medical service providers from across the country. The OU School of Community Medicine authored the study and recommended EMSA increase allotted response times. The Medical Control Board, which oversees all aspects of patient care provided by first responders, has reviewed the recommendation and has also endorsed the change. Clinical outcomes or mortality rates, in relationship to response times, are most affected by patient care starting within the first five minutes. In light of the latest scientific research, ambulance services across the country are increasing response times. This is why we have a robust system of 911 dispatchers who give pre-arrival instructions and first responders who are required to respond within the first five minutes.