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Average Response Time to Emergency Scenes Improves

Thursday, September 5, 2013
Ambulances Get to Scene Much Faster After Special Order Issued

The D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department (DCFEMS) improved its average response time by getting ambulances to critical medical calls much faster. The department implemented a special order in March that required ambulances to leave quarters within two minutes and arrive at a scene within eight minutes.

In January, the average response time for the first arriving ambulance to a critical medical call took more than eight minutes. By July 2013, the average response time had dropped to 6 minutes and 35 seconds. Members of the department shaved more than 1 minute and 30 seconds off of their response times within a four month period.

“The members of the department have proven they are capable of doing great things,” said DCFEMS Chief Kenneth B. Ellerbe. “They have performed admirably despite the pressure that comes with working as a first responder.”

The response time is calculated from the moment an emergency call is received by the department until the time an ambulance first arrives at the scene. Critical medical calls are incidents when a patient’s health could be in jeopardy if immediate medical attention is not given.

For more information on the department’s improved response times, please click