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City probes response time


Published: Mon, March 13, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.


GIRARD -- City leaders have investigated an elderly couple's complaint of slow ambulance services and say changes are planned to ensure it doesn't happen again.
John DeCianno, of McDonald, said he and his wife, Joann, came to the city Jan. 23 to pick up prescription medication from Brine Pharmacy on North State Street.
While waiting in line, DeCianno turned to see his wife's fists tightening and recognized the early signs of a seizure. With the help of an off-duty Weathersfield Township police officer, he managed to lay his wife on the floor inside the store.
DeCianno said the store's pharmacist called for a paramedic immediately, but after 20 minutes no ambulance had arrived. He said it took three calls for an ambulance before the paramedics arrived.
The city had once operated ambulance service, but that ended at the close of 2003. The city now contracts all its ambulance calls through Rural Metro Ambulance Service.
Safety-Service Director Jerry Lambert has been in communication with Rural Metro about the situation and said a time line has been established. He said the ambulance company was called at 11:08 a.m., arrived at the drugstore at 11:19 a.m., and began transporting the woman to the hospital at 11:45 a.m.
Lambert said the time from call to arrival was about 11 minutes. That, he said, is a little longer than officials like to see for emergency service.
"We don't like it over nine minutes," he said. "Nine minutes is the standard. Hopefully, in the future, we will get that remedied."
Councilman Dan Moadus said the city should be doing more to act as first responders. He has said firefighters should be responders to such calls.
Lambert said when the city began contracting with Rural Metro there were no provisions for the fire department to be part of the responder process. He said there are preliminary plans to get the department involved as limited first responders, and council should have something to review at the next council meeting in two weeks.
jgoodwin@vindy.com


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