Emergency Response in San Francisco Still Plagued by Delays
Statistics from May and June show that none of San Francisco's 11 emergency response districts succeeded in responding to at least 90% of potentially life-threatening 911 calls within 6.5 minutes, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The city report also indicated that dispatching 40% of urgent calls in May and June exceeded the goal of two minutes.
A report by San Francisco emergency officials traces most dispatch delays to language barriers, nonresponsive callers and callers who do not know their location.
In a special report in April, the Chronicle highlighted problems meeting emergency response time goals in San Francisco, drawing pledges of action from Mayor Gavin Newsom (D).
Since then, San Francisco has:
- Hired a new contractor to help respond to 911 calls from non-English speakers;
- Began reworking dispatch protocols for high-priority calls; and
- Laid out plans to begin testing a new computer system to track the location of fire engines and ambulances more accurately.
A recent study by MGT of America -- a consulting firm retained by the city -- faulted training procedures and management of the Department of Emergency Management, but city leaders say 911 dispatchers are showing signs of improvement.
According to the Chronicle, San Francisco paramedics said that the city does not have enough ambulances, medical equipment is inadequate and more paramedics are needed to staff fire engines (Doyle, San Francisco Chronicle, 8/14).