Slow 911 response times prompt change in ambulance coverage in Clark County

When you dial 911 Clark County ambulances have just under 12 minutes to respond.
Published: Dec. 29, 2022 at 3:47 PM PST
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - When you dial 911 Clark County ambulances have just under 12 minutes to respond. The ambulance providers are contracted to meet that mark 90% of the time, but in a 17-month period, the two largest providers in the county have not, according to the Clark County Fire Department.

“I think this is an emergency. There is no contract we have more significant than this one,” Clark County Commissioner Michael Naft said during the November meeting where CCFD Chief Jennifer Wyatt recommended redistricting the ambulance response map.

AMR averaged 85.2 and 85.6% on time in its two zones in the county. MedicWest, which is also owned by Global Medical Response, had successful response rates of only 76% and 83.3% in its two zones, according to CCFD.

With approval from county commissioners, Community Ambulance will now take over the area that covers the Las Vegas Strip. Community Ambulance said it’s the second year in a row they’ve gained 18% more territory in the county.

“It’s a huge responsibility. One that we’re not taking lightly,” Senior Director of Community Ambulance Glen Simpson said. “The moment that decision was made we kicked our work into hyper speed to increase our deployment and to increase our resources.”

Community Ambulance had 94.4 and 93.5% on-time responses in respective zones during the same 17-month period.

However, responding to 911 calls on the congested Strip won’t be an easy task.

“Will we be at 95% when we look to take on an additional 30,000 calls? No. Are we going to be above 90 percent? Yes. Are we going to be well above 90 percent? Absolutely,” Simpson said.

The regional director for AMR and MedicWest unsuccessfully asked for more time to review the recommendation by the Clark County Fire Department.

‘If we’re going to change the system let’s change it to a system that’s going to work for all the stakeholders including the community,” Regional Director Michael Johnson said.

Wyatt said its crews are running thinner when the ambulance companies don’t respond in time, and that’s why there need to be more changes to the response maps.

County commissioner Marilyn Kirkpatrick said specifically response times in the east valley must improve.

“If I don’t see any improvement I’m bringing it back myself, because someone has to service those people,” Kirkpatrick said.

The added coverage for Community Ambulance begins Jan. 3. Simpson said they’re actively hiring, and the company has already brought on more paramedics and EMTs to prepare for the added volume.