EMS presented their 2022 report on number of calls and call times at the Pike County Commissioners meeting on March 1, 2023.
Aaron Rohn, who is the Bureau Director for the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Bureau of Emergency Medical Services; Pike County Emergency Management Director Tim Knapp and Director of Operations Jordan Wisniewski detailed a report that showed what the effect a year of county funding had on response time.
“The findings were very positive for us,” Knapp said.
It was explained that the difference between basic life support (BLS) and advanced life support (ALS) was a matter of how much they can accomplish. In order to fix issues with ALS, issues in BLS needed to be fixed first, according to Knapp.
“You have to fix the basic level before you can fix the advance level,” he said.
As of 2022, existing services within the county and surrounding areas have one to three existing capable transport units. The number of calls that were reported in 2017 was 6,685, while there were 7,625 in 2022. The increased number of calls within that five year span has increased the number of paid services that are capable of handling the volume Knapp said.
He added that the number of calls that came in to dispatch was around 12,000, which represents completed calls from either patient contact or patient transport to the hospital.
The county’s average response time - the time between dispatch of services to when EMS is on the scene - has gone down in the past five years. In Milford Township, it decreased from 16.2 minutes in 2017 to 12.4 minutes in 2022. In Dingmans Township it went from 18.9 minutes in 2017 to 11.2 minutes in 2022.
“We are all strong now,” Commissioner Matthew Osterberg said.
Since Pike is part of a tri-state area with Wayne, Monroe, Orange and Sussex counties, the do go out to areas outside of Pike County, which is part of a mutual agreement between them.
“Because we have other rigs out there between Milford Borough, it has taken all the strain off of the larger areas and now we are a much safer community. And protecting the community is the most important part of this,” Commissioner Osterberg said.
“By having these ambulances that are there, that are staffed and are ready to respond and to help out, that’s what makes everything kind of ease and work,” Knapp said.
The amount of county funds that were used totaled about $1.8 billion. That would be $30.79 dollars per county resident and $30.56 dollars per taxable parcel Knapp said.
“It’s not the county’s responsibility to do this, but we feel it is our responsibility to do this,” Commissioner Ronald Schmalzle added.
Rohn said that they use Pike County as an example to show the other counties in the commonwealth and other parts of the region to explain what a county can do to assist the cost of emergency services.