Is EMS enhancement enough to tackle increasing calls for help throughout Cleveland?

Posted at 2:29 PM, Sep 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-18 16:32:25-04

The City of Cleveland announced Monday that they'll add three new bases to tackle increasing EMS calls for help. 

The announcement comes less than a month since News 5 discovered it took EMS nearly 17 minutes to respond to a drive-by shooting call, where a Lyft driver ended up dying from gunshot wounds.

We learned 19 ambulances were in service at the time and every single one was on a call. 

Their typical response time? The city says 11 minutes 58 seconds. 

They're hoping to change that and eliminate waits, like this one.

"Decreasing response time, that it takes to get to them, is paramount to the survivability rate, EMS Commissioner Nicole Carlton said Monday. 

Mayor Frank Jackson, EMS commissioner Nicole Carlton, and Assistant Safety Director Ed Eckart announced they'll add three new EMS bases, on top of the current plan for 47 news paramedics through the city's income tax increase. 

"This evening in council we will be introducing legislation to purchase 4 additional ambulances," Mayor Jackson said. 

The current plan includes increasing the number of ambulances to 25 during the day and 21 at night. 

"That's an unprecedented number of ambulances in the city of Cleveland," Assistant Safety Director Ed Eckart said. 

"I know that the average response time is just under 12 minutes, will this keep that steady or decrease that response time?" News 5 asked.

"Our goal, once we add the personnel and bring it up to 25 ambulances is under 8 minutes," EMS Commissioner Nicole Carlton answered.

The new bases are located in the 1st District police station at 3895 West 130th Street; the 2nd District police station at 3418 Fulton Road and the 4th District police station at 9333 Kinsman Avenue. The 2nd district location will operate 24 hours per day, and the 1st and 4th district bases will operate during the day shift.

The President of the Cleveland Association of Rescue employees, Daniel Nemeth, has been skeptical about the plan in the past so News 5 checked in with him. 

"This announcement today, is this enough to handle the spike in calls?" News 5 asked.

"It's a great start for the city, with issue 32 bringing in more ambulances, paramedics, and EMTs. But I don't think it's enough, I think we need to keep pushing forward," Nemeth said.