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CRS running out of Antietam

The Hagerstown ambulance company is temporarily operating from the Summit Avenue fire station in an effort to improve response t

The Hagerstown ambulance company is temporarily operating from the Summit Avenue fire station in an effort to improve response t

July 20, 2002|by KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI

kimy@herald-mail.com

In an effort to reduce response times in the West End of Hagerstown, Community Rescue Service has begun operating an ambulance out of Antietam Fire Co. on a trial basis.

CRS Chief Chris Amos said Friday that an ambulance and a crew will work out of the station on Summit Avenue daily from 2 to 7 p.m. The service began Thursday, he said.

Typically, it takes an ambulance 9 to 10 minutes to reach calls in the West End from CRS' base on Eastern Boulevard, Amos said. Having an ambulance based on Summit Avenue should cut that time in half.

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After at least 90 days, CRS officials will review calls to determine if having an ambulance at Antietam is the best use of resources. Stationing a CRS ambulance there permanently would require approval by the Washington County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association, said Jason Baer, association president.

Baer said CRS' proposal was discussed at a recent association meeting and members agreed the company should give the experiment a try.

In June, Washington County Emergency Services Director Joe Kroboth said in a report that CRS was below national standards in response time and number of calls missed.

Kroboth was directed by the Washington County Board of Commissioners to evaluate the services provided by Community Rescue Service, which missed 61 calls out of 1,481 in February, March and April. Other emergency service providers responded to the missed calls, he said.

Kroboth said that despite being below national standards, CRS provides above-average services when compared with other emergency service providers in the county.

CRS goes on nearly 7,000 calls a year, and 80 percent of those calls are in the city. About 50 percent of the city calls are in the West End, said J. Michael Nye, Community Rescue Service executive director.

Having an ambulance closer to the West End would mean in some cases an ambulance could reach a scene in seconds instead of minutes, said CRS President Ron Horn. Ambulance drivers would also be able to avoid delays from construction, evening rush hour traffic and congestion on Dual Highway.

CRS is inquiring about basing an ambulance at other city stations on a trial basis, Horn said.

In addition to reduced response times, CRS is anticipating a 25 percent decrease in its $10,000 annual fuel costs and wear and tear on its ambulances working out of the Summit Avenue station, Nye said.

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