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A recent Jimmy Kimmel episode poking fun at EMS response times in New York City where Uber response time averages beat out EMS may not be so funny.  In an era where consumers can locate the nearest taxi, private car or rideshare from their mobile phone, it would seem that 9-1-1 is a bit behind.  Nationally, very few of us can see the locations of our apparatus and virtually nowhere can 9-1-1 callers learn the ETA of their assigned responders.  Yet just last week, I received two complaints from citizens in my County who saw ambulances drive past the location of their 9-1-1 EMS calls while they awaited help for their loved ones.  Perhaps these were innocent events (ambulances returning to service from other responses), but they certainly should not have occurred.

Somehow, we need to improve.  The technology is there for us to know a lot more about our department apparatus and EMS response vehicles than we currently do.  We also need to start thinking about how simplistically easy it would be to incorporate some of the same technology and app originality used by Uber, FedEx and others to optimize customer service.  It's really not rocket science.

Mike McEvoy

EMS Editor - Fire Engineering

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