Council Approves EMSA Response Time Change

Tulsa City Councilors approved EMSA response times change in the Thursday evening meeting.Councilors approved the two minutes added to EMSA response times, which also keeps the price down to four dollars instead of raising the rates to seven dollars.Councilor Skip Steele of District 6 said that the change is moving in the wrong direction. "They will tell you it makes no clinical difference and that's the argument and they are correct you are still going to be dead at eight minutes verses ten minutes just as dead at eight as you are ten, but if you can get that time under five then you can start saving those heart ache victims the shocking victims the not breathing victims the drug overdoses," Steele said. The additional two minutes given to medical responders will force Tulsa Firefighters to make up the difference. "Our fire department typically beats EMSA calls anyway so it looks like we will be putting extra deputies on our firefighters so hopefully we can take it up with the fire department their average response time is 6 minutes." Steele said. The toll it could take on the fire department is one reason why City Councilor Karen Gilbert of District 5 voted no as well."I pretty much saw it first hand one afternoon seeing a wreck one intersection and then just a few blocks south another wreck it was going to be the same company fire company that was going to have to respond to both calls," Gilbert said. Gilbert also said she doesn't like that there are times given to emergency calls everyone should respond as quick as possible and she isn't sure what this change will mean for the city."The impact isn't going to be, we have to go here, we have to go here, we have to go here. What the impacts are on the city is, do we have to have another fire station, do we need to get another truck, do we need to get more firemen, so it's going to be another financial burden for the City of Tulsa," Gilbert said. The Tulsa Fire Department on Friday did not want to speculate just yet on what this means for them. The Tulsa Firefighter Local 176 said they believe these new times will affect their call times because they have to wait on EMSA to get to them before they leaving. Meaning, you could have to wait for a fire truck to respond from further away because they are tied up waiting on EMSA.The change comes as EMSA signs on with a new ambulance service provider, allowing for a maximum response time of 10 minutes, 59 seconds -- up from the current standard of 8 minutes, 59 seconds.

The average response time is six minutes and the new change will go into effect on Nov. 1.

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