An Hour Wait for an Ambulance After 911 Call

I usually write about 911 response time and police, but this hits the topic of “socialized medicine.” EMS staffing emergency results in response time delays.


So this is from Eastern Kentucky, but once you get away from major metro areas, the same conditions apply in a lot of the country. Long waits for ambulance services in response to a 911 call.

One aspect many may not realize, is the reimbursements ambulance services receive.

“Oftentimes, your 911 provider, and it doesn’t matter if it’s our company or if it’s the company in the next county over, we operate at a loss. It’s because of some of our Medicaid reimbursements,” said Absher.

After the cost of medical supplies, trucks, and other important items, outweigh the profit of a call.

So the .gov doesn’t pay the cost of an ambulance ride, and then people are surprised that there aren’t 100s of companies lining up to be put out of business by the .gov. Only someone in government could set up a payment system designed like this. Someone with no contact with the real world.

“Medicare for all” would sink every one of the ambulance services that try to cover medicare patients with the profit from other patients. Unintended consequences? At some point you have to believe that the idiots in government (while clearly idiotic) are not that completely stupid. They want something to fail, so there’s an excuse to take more control.

They Blame Technology When It’s Really Management

What happens when you micromanage people to the nth degree? Minneapolis drops controversial 911 answering software.

They quit.

Management of Minneapolis’s 911 call center spent $730,000 dollars on a system, and training, to take all humanity out of the 911 call center.

ProQA prompts dispatchers to ask specific questions, in a specific order, based on different emergency situations.

Which might be fine if it worked OK.

Sampson-Spande said her two decades of experience often told her to ask different questions, in a different order, than what the software was giving her. And, she worried not following the program would have eventually led to losing her job.

“I felt like I was deciding, do I want to keep my job and be compliant?, Or, do I want to help somebody?, And I don’t feel like I should be in that position,” she said

So she quit. And she wasn’t alone. Turnover has become an issue because who wants to work under those conditions?

And the cops didn’t like it either, but for the simple reason that they were not getting the information they required.

Bob Kroll with the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis said the union also has concerns about ProQA. Kroll said he’s most alarmed by officers arriving at scenes without knowing suspect descriptions because dispatchers haven’t gotten to those questions yet in the line of questioning.

Because why should the management of the 911 center talk to cops about what questions need to be asked in what order? That’s just CRAZY talk. The manager of the 911 center (bet’s on if they were brought in to “fix” something?) knows best. No one else gets any input whatsoever.

They blame technology up one side and down the other, but it is management who bought that software, spent money on training, and held on for two years while things went downhill. (Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.) They do mention an “interim manager” for the 911 center, so maybe they canned whoever had this brainchild.

When you call 911 you are interacting with a system of people and software, radios, computers, etc. Sometimes that system will work well. But when the management sets things up so that people don’t want to (or are unable) to do the job, then things might not work out for you. This could be because the software is awful, the people are untrained, whatever. In this case, the software was clearly awful, and high turnover meant that the people were not experienced. And Minneapolis didn’t meet 911 national standards for answering calls.

Never Underestimate the Power of Human Stupidity

What is so hard about understanding when you should, and when you shouldn’t, call 911? 911 misuse rate hits 23% in Peel Region.

On Tuesday, police received a 911 call about a water leak from a resident’s refrigerator who expected the police to help with the cleaning up.

If 23 percent of calls to 911 are of insanity like this, then they have to pay more people, and they are slower dealing with real emergencies.

Do people really think the cops are going to deal with a plumbing issue?

“While we understand that a water leak from your refrigerator is concerning and annoying, it’s definitely not a call for 9-1-1 and no we won’t come and clean it up,” Peel police tweeted. “Instead, shut off the water and call a plumber.”

It isn’t hard. Crime. Fire. Medical emergency. For these things for which you call 911. Plumbing. Problems with your fast food orders. Not so much.

90 Minute Wait for 911 “Unacceptable”

They will try to get better. At least no one died. Communication breakdown caused ‘unacceptable’ delay: Edmonton police.

A woman who waited more than an hour for emergency responders after she was assaulted and found outside covered in blood will be getting an apology, Edmonton police said.

Supt. Darrin Balanik said in a statement Friday that there was a breakdown in communication with police and ambulance staff, resulting in an “unacceptable delay.”

So medical has to wait for cops at a crime scene, but no one seems to know how to talk to the cops when the issue comes up. Good systems design.

The original story on this incident is at this link.

90 Minute Wait After Calling 911

Paramedics won’t show up to crime scene without cops. Because safety. ‘She had blood all over her’: Edmonton man says 911 response took 90 minutes.

John Saunders was on his way to the gym at Londonderry Mall early Wednesday morning when he heard a cry for help coming from a nearby walkway, where he found a woman on the ground, covered in blood.

He called 911, and waited. Called 911 two more times. And still waited. 90 minutes later, support arrived.

While talking to 911 dispatch, he was told the fire department was waiting on police, and safety trumped emergency.

“I said, ‘What about my safety?’ And [the 911 operator] said, ‘Well, you don’t have to be there; there’s no obligation for you to be there.”

Calling 911 is fine thing to do, but the results won’t always be what you expect.

If You Call 911 By Accident…

Stay on the line and tell them what happened. 30% of Eaton County 911 calls are accidental and wasting resources.

“Don’t hang up, stay on the line,” said Stahelin. “These calls happen all the time. We’re not offended, we’re not upset, and no one’s going to be in trouble. Just stay on the line and explain that it was an accident. If you hang up, then we’re forced to follow our procedure, and potentially you could have a few officers showing up at your door.”

A hangup has to be treated like a possible hostage situation.

Calling 911 is now as easy as hitting a button on your phone, or tapping the side of your smartwatch. This simple access to 911 is meant to get you help in an emergency quickly. But it’s slowing things down for emergency workers. Emergency dispatch lines are clogged up with hundreds of accidental calls every day.

You can turn those features off. (When did calling a 3-digit number become such a problem?)

If 30 percent of their calls are bogus, you can see how that might impact their ability to actually handle an emergency.

Stahelin says Eaton County 911 gets around 13,000 unintentional calls a year, and that his estimate of 30% is very comparable with other dispatch centers around the country.

When You Call 911 You Expect the System to Work for You

The trouble is, that system is mostly people, and the procedures are designed by people. And people screw up. Audit shows structure, training problems with York County 911 center.

A detailed review of York County’s 911 center by an independent auditor shows that “the current organizational structure is not suitable for an operation of this complexity.”

Micromanagement. Improper training. Disorganized procedures. And more.

York County has had “publicized and longstanding challenges with its 911 center, contributing to public safety concerns among the emergency services community,” the release said.

So if your only plan in an emergency – of whatever kind – is to call 911, you might want to do a bit of work on that plan.

Is There Cell Coverage Where You Are Going for Vacation?

People from cities assume that everything is just like it is at their home. Good cellular coverage. Fast internet. Whatever. Then they go “to the country” for vacation. One person has used ‘text 911’ in Boise County. Could that change with more cell service?.

If you have no cellular service, you can’t call 911 in an emergency.

Take Boise County, for example. The county is nearly 2,000 square miles in size, and home to fewer than 10,000 people. But thousands of others visit the county every day to recreate on the rivers, mountains, lakes, trails, or open land.

“We are less populated, but we have anywhere from 20,000 to 60,000 people a day in the county recreating here or traveling through,” said Boise County sheriff Jim Kaczmarek.

Cell coverage is limited. If you get into trouble in an area, someone may need to drive quite a distance to get enough service to call 911. Texting is a bit more robust, but can still be limited in places.

So your assumption, day in and day out is, if I get into trouble, I just pull out my cellphone and call 911. But are you sure you will be able to do that?

Why Police Response Times Don’t Really Matter (in the big picture)

Because police rarely “prevent crime.” They clean up after the fact, take witness statements, secure evidence and investigate, but they rarely arrive at the scene of a crime before that crime occurred. Do police response times matter?.

They matter to people who are scared, but the numbers don’t show a huge difference in crime rate, just based around repsonse time.

Conventional wisdom is that response time is important, but most studies cast doubt on whether decreasing the time between the notification and arrival of police has little effect on arrest or clearance rates. Bennett, however, quotes a recent study declaring that a 10% increase in response time can have a 5% reduction in solving the crime.

What Will You Do While You Wait for 911 Response?

The call was initially priority 2, and it never got upgraded. Five minutes passed before police were dispatched to fatal attempted break-in.

5 minutes to dispatch officers, and 5 minutes for them to respond, all the while the caller was watching an individual try to break into her home. (Well, not quite. Total time waiting for police was 9 minutes and 17 seconds.)

The situation began to escalate 24 seconds later into her call. Andrews had started banging on Taylor’s door, yelling, shouting and throwing things.

“Do not approach the person,” the dispatcher warned. “We’re going to dispatch an officer as soon as possible.”

At 5 minutes, 33 seconds, the dispatcher told Taylor police were on the way.

By that time, the incident had escalated into what would be considered a Priority 1 call, but it was still classified as a Priority 2.

Expecting “The System” to save you is a losing bet. In the first place that system is mostly a bunch of people, and people make mistakes, like not reclassifying the severity of a 911 call. In the second place, if they had gotten the first bit correct, it still would have taken about 5 minutes for the cops to arrive. (Which was actually better than average response time in that area.) What will you do while you wait?