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(Denison, IA) – A recent report from the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) on Emergency Medical Services (EMS) response times shows Crawford County ambulance crews compare favorably to state and local benchmarks. All community and hospital-based EMS and Ambulance services in Iowa are required to submit reports on all emergency calls to IDPH.

Bruce Musgrave, Director of Crawford County Memorial Hospital (CCMH) Ambulance Services, said close tabs are kept on a variety of data.

“We are constantly evaluating how the Crawford County ambulance services are performing against state and national averages”, Musgrave said. “The most important benchmarks are those for the use of lights and siren when responding to calls, and the average response time to an emergency call.”

According to the IDPH report from April 1, 2019 through March 31, 2020, Crawford County crews responded 30% of the time to 911 calls with the use of lights and siren. This compares favorably when measured against the state of Iowa EMS average of 47% utilization of lights and siren. Similarly, the IDPH EMS data showed CCMH transporting patients with utilization of lights and siren only 11% of the time compared to the state of Iowa average of 13%. Based on national research and recommendations, a reduced utilization of lights and siren means more safety for patients, EMS staff, and the general public. 

Musgrave said IDPH reported an optimal EMS reaction time of 1.30 minutes, the time difference between when an emergency unit has been notified by dispatch until the time the unit is in route to the scene. He noted CCMH has set a departmental standard of less than 2 minutes.  During the period of January through March 2020, the report showed CCMH had an overall reaction time of 1.29 minutes.

Statistics are also kept for overall average response time for all EMS calls in Crawford County. Based on national data from an insurance study, the average emergency response across the entire United States is 15 minutes, 19.2 seconds.  A Crawford County departmental standard is set with a response time of less than 15 minutes.  According to the most recent data, the overall average response time for all EMS calls in Crawford County is 8.19 minutes.

Musgrave said the CCMH ambulance services continuously monitor the lights and siren, and response data, and reports to the Hospital Board of Trustees on a quarterly basis.  He said the Crawford County ambulance services are committed to not only ensuring a timely response to the scene of emergency, but ensuring the safety of the patients, public, and EMS providers when responding to each call.