Investigation Prompts S.F. Mayor To Order Changes to 911 System
On Monday, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom (D) ordered city officials to recruit and retain more emergency dispatchers and to regularly review all cases where emergency medical services failed to meet their standard for responses, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The response came after a Chronicle analysis of 911 dispatch logs found that in 27% of the calls, first responders arrived later than the city's 6.5 minute goal response time.
Newsom directed the Human Resources Department to work closely with the Department of Emergency Management to recruit and retain dispatchers. Newsom also called on the department to recruit more multilingual staff and review the current system for responding to calls from people who do not speak English.
Newsom also demanded that the heads of the Department of Emergency Management, the Department of Public Health and the Fire Department within 60 days submit a report containing recommendations for improving response times. Newsom ordered the heads to meet four times annually to review the instances of delayed medical responses.
The city's first responders currently arrive to emergencies in about eight minutes or less in 90% of high-priority medical calls, the Chronicle reports.
Newsom's directive also requires the Department of Emergency Management within 60 days to adopt a computer-based system for evaluating callers' symptoms and to complete a program that places ambulances throughout the city, rather than in fire stations.
The heads of the city's departments said they support Newsom's directives (Buchanan, San Francisco Chronicle, 4/15).