In a service industry like Fire and Emergency Medical Services the numbers only tell part of the story. You simply can not put a value on saving the life of a loved one or the quiet confidence that paramedics offer to reassure family members that the person they care so much about is in good hands. You really can’t so we don’t even try, but we do keep track on how many calls we run and where they are coming from. Those are important indicators that we use to manage the performance of our emergency services. The Fire Chief has provided a short summary of calls comparing 2006, 2007 and 2008.
When you read through the Chief’s numbers you’ll see that we are serving calls beyond the Kent boundaries, e.g., Franklin Township and Sugarbush. Our contract service area includes about 5,400 people and it is provided on a cost-reimbursement basis with the township so it is a break-even arrangement for the city.
As professional fire and emergency medical services have become more and more sophisticated, with more and more advanced life support technology, it increasingly makes sense to pool resources together which is exactly what we’ve been doing in Fire and EMS for years. People like to say government’s don’t like to work together but as you can see here that’s certainly not the case for our Fire and EMS.
If you do a little back of the envelope math you can see that we get between 300 and 350 calls a month and roughly 70 to 75% of those are medical services calls. Emergency medical services are clearly the core of our service which means your Fire and EMS employees today have to have a much higher degree of medical and health care knowledge than ever before. Keeping those medical skills and knowledge current is a challenge and requires constant training and re-training. Yet with the numbers of calls up as high as they are this year the department is hard pressed to take people off line for training. It’s a constant struggle.
Overall the City gets about 24,000 calls for help a year and some 20,000 of those are Police related with the remaining 4,000 routed over to Fire & EMS. That means that Kent Fire & EMS employees are running about 110 calls per employee a year while Stow has been running roughly 60 calls per employee, Aurora 65, and Cuyahoga Falls 90. The Kent crews are a hard-working bunch and we’re all better because of it.