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Public safety collaboration leads to staff, resource efficiencies

Contact: Kate Flavin (316) 660-9370 |

(Sedgwick County, Kan.) – A City-County partnership has resulted in public safety improvements from using data-driven measurements, streamlining the use of emergency service vehicles, and creating other efficiencies.

The public safety improvements were shared during joint reports to the Sedgwick County Commission and Wichita City Council. The presenters were EMS System Medical Director Dr. John Gallagher and Wichita Fire Chief Tammy Snow.

The improvements follow a process change that uses information collected during a 911 call to create a different set of responses and then send only the most appropriate emergency vehicles and staff.

The collaboration involved the Office of the Medical Director (OMD), Sedgwick County Emergency Communications, Sedgwick County EMS, Sedgwick County Fire District 1 (SCFD1), and Wichita Fire Department (WFD). They reviewed data and responses and determined which calls could be managed with a more efficient type of response. The new responses were aimed at calls that could be reliably managed by either a first responder unit or a transport capable EMS unit, but were unlikely to require both. The change to modify responses led to better utilization of public resources, including emergency service vehicles, and kept fire units available for more serious calls.

“These efforts make great strides towards ensuring the correct resources are applied to each call for help in our community. Additionally, implementation of this program allows each agency to focus on their core missions to the community,” Wichita Fire Department Chief Tammy Snow said.

Work surrounding improving efficiencies in the 911 response system has been ongoing since 2015, but this newest phase has only been in place since October 2018. The first six months of the new protocol resulted in major efficiencies for SCFD1 and the WFD. SCFD1 was able to reallocate resources on average, 68 times per month. WFD experienced similar results; it was able to reallocate resources on average 329 times per month.

“It is important that our residents are safe and that our resources are able to respond when needed,” added Sedgwick County Fire Chief Doug Williams. “This collaboration is a step in the right direction for the future of public safety in our community.”

This new process has made a significant impact on the amount of resources used for public safety responses, allowing both fire agencies, EMS, and Emergency Communications to respond more efficiently to public safety calls. Based on the trend in 2015, OMD projected first responders would respond to more than 61,000 calls in 2018. By making this process change, first responders responded to 47,594 calls for service. View the attached chart for additional information.

Building on the collaboration, the partners plan to investigate further opportunities to partner with other areas of public safety, including local law enforcement and hospitals, to better respond to patients with behavioral or mental health needs or substance abuse crises. The intent is to continue to free up traditional resources, such as law enforcement officers, and treat people where they are whenever possible, potentially avoiding time consuming and expensive transports to local facilities.

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