FIRE DEPARTMENT: STAFFING MODELS THAT RESPOND TO THE FLUCTUATING DEMAND FOR EMS

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FIRE DEPARTMENT:
STAFFING MODELS THAT RESPOND TO THE FLUCTUATING DEMAND FOR EMS

 

Problem Identification:
Baltimore City’s EMS system provides maximum coverage, 24 hours a day, seven days every week, with 18 medic units and excessive overtime expenses. When times of peak demand occur, the Fire Department’s response is to activate ‘Red Alert’ units that provide basic life support (BLS) and/or have fire suppression units respond with first-responder capabilities. This solution does not provide patients with the best care and is a short-term solution that has become permanent.

Recommended Action:
Develop EMS staffing models that conform to the fluctuating demand for service.

Classification:
Cost Savings, Service Improvement

Functional/Operational Area:
EMS

Estimated Annual Impact:
Cannot be Estimated

Estimated Implementation Costs:
None

Barriers to Implementation:
EMS and fire suppression personnel share a staffing model. Internally, the Department will need to separate the personnel and apply separate scheduling systems. Also, a system for regular evaluation will need to be implemented to ensure the staffing model is appropriately responding to the demands on the EMS system.

Projected Implementation:
1 year

Next Steps:
Analysis of the Communication Center’s computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system needs to be done to determine patterns of peak demand for the EMS system. A staffing model should then be developed that provides for the City’s minimum and maximum staffing needs, by both chronology and geography.

Analysis:
Initial patterns identified during this study indicate that there are times in Baltimore City when the EMS system reaches peak demand. Additionally, this demand is distributed unevenly throughout the City. EMS systems using computer-aided dispatch (CAD) have an incredible tool available for establishing patterns in the demand for service being placed on EMS. Jurisdictions that apply this analysis reduce staffing levels when demand on EMS subsides and increase staffing when demand peaks. This staffing model often reduces the overtime needed to fill any 24-hour schedule and places EMS units in parts of the city when and where they are needed the most.