Deputy Chief Largo Fire Rescue Clearwater, Florida, United States
The emergency medical services (EMS) system in Pinellas County, Florida has been regarded as one of the finest systems in the United States due to quick response times and the quality of care provided to the citizenry. It is designed of an amalgamation of 18 local fire departments, which deliver advanced life support (ALS) first response, and a private ambulance company, which provides emergency and non-emergency transport. As a whole, the system routinely surpasses its stated goal of arriving on the scene of an emergency medical incident within 7.5 minutes. However, Pinellas County has experienced an increase in population, tourism, homelessness, opioid-related 911 calls, and an aging baby boomer demographic. The EMS system has encountered a decrease in relative system capacity as the number of calls for service have steadily increased. Pinellas County’s dispatch center uses a form of emergency medical dispatch (EMD) called the Medical Priority Dispatch System (MPDS), which employs a series of questions to determine the nature of the medical emergency and to coordinate the most appropriate response. Nevertheless, up to this point, even many of the lowest priority incidents still receive both a fire department and an ambulance response. This retrospective quantitative analysis examined the more than 200,000 emergency incidents that occurred in calendar year 2018. Fire department response was then removed from the ALPHA, BRAVO, and OMEGA (A-B-Ω) determinant calls to simulate the expanded implementation of MPDS. Paired sample t-tests were used to determine how the independent variable (expanding the implementation of MPDS) influenced the dependent variables (apparatus commitment factor (ACF), CHARLIE, DELTA and ECHO (C-D-E) call concurrency). P-values <0.05 were considered statistically significant. After investigating impacts on apparatus commitment factor, call concurrency, and response time using inferential statistics, it was determined that the expanded implementation of MPDS in Pinellas County would have increased the relative response capacity and performance of the EMS system. The theoretical framework used for this research was Moore’s public value theory, specifically, the application of the public value strategic triangle theoretical model.