14 Municipalities Served by Gloucester County EMS in 2009 Average Response Time Reduced to 5 Minutes and 50 Seconds
(Clayton, NJ) - Gloucester County Emergency Medical Services (GCEMS) had a strong finish to their second full year as a regional EMS provider. GCEMS, New Jersey's first and only county based EMS agency, was launched by the Freeholders in 2007 with ten participating towns. The regionalized system was created as a response to local concerns about ambulance response times.
In 2009, South Harrison Township became the 14th municipality to join GCEMS, which in addition to South Harrison, now provides EMS services to Clayton, Glassboro, Pitman, Mantua, Logan, West Deptford, Paulsboro, Swedesboro, East Greenwich, Woolwich, National Park, Greenwich, and the City of Woodbury.
"The Freeholders are proud of the regional GCEMS program, the professionalism of the staff and the efficient response times they have been able to achieve on behalf of their patients," said Freeholder Director Stephen M. Sweeney.
"There is no doubt that regionalized EMS works, it has saved the participating towns over $2.8 million in avoided costs and more importantly, when someone calls for an ambulance, one will arrive in a timely manner," Sweeney stated.
GCEMS responded to 14,180 calls in 2009 with an average response time of 5 minutes and 50 seconds. In 2008 GCEMS responded to 11,382 calls with an average response time of 5 minutes and 58 seconds.
Freeholder Jean DuBois, Liaison to GCEMS, said that the GCEMS staff is constantly working to increase their knowledge base to provide outstanding care to their patients.
"Regionalization has provided standardized responses and training across municipal boundaries, something that was not happening before GCEMS was launched," said DuBois. "The staff holds itself to very high standards, and we are always receiving accolades about their level of knowledge, training, and professionalism," the Freeholder said.
Freeholder DuBois said that GCEMS has over 170 in its staff that operate from 11 stations throughout the county. GCEMS was awarded the 2009 Achievement Award for Regionalized Medical Services by the National Association of Counties (NACo). GCEMS was one of only three New Jersey programs to win the national achievement.
A minimum of 11 ambulances are staffed around the clock. A twelfth and thirteenth ambulance is staffed during peak call volume hours each day. Additional ambulances are staffed as needed for community events, foul weather or periods of increased call volume. Each ambulance is staffed with two certified Emergency Medical Technicians. Supervisors are also on-duty, 24 hours per day.
"One of the main reasons that GCEMS was studied and then implemented was due to mayors concerns about long response time by local ambulance services that often ended in a DNR - or did not respond," said Freeholder DuBois. She said DNRs would then be assigned out to another ambulance service until a response was made.
"We now have a system that is ready to respond, around-the-clock, to 9-1-1 emergency calls. Other counties throughout the state have been studying our success and we are happy to show them how well it is working," DuBois concluded.