EMSA Asks Tulsa City Council To Up Recommended Response Time - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

EMSA Asks Tulsa City Council To Increase Recommended Response Times

Posted: Updated:
EMSA CEO Steve Williamson met with the city councilors for a couple hours on Thursday afternoon to discuss the possible change. EMSA CEO Steve Williamson met with the city councilors for a couple hours on Thursday afternoon to discuss the possible change.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

EMSA wants permission to take longer to get to your emergency. It said paramedics can drive slower, even without lights and sirens, and still save just as many lives.

EMSA is asking the city council to extend response times by two minutes, saying it won't affect patients' survival rate, but some city councilors aren't buying that.

We see them all the time, ambulances racing through intersections on a mission to save a life.

"It's dangerous, for not only the crew members in the truck, but the citizens around," said Jason Whitlow, of EMSA.

That's why EMSA is asking Tulsa city councilors to increase ambulance response times.

Under the current policy, paramedics have less than nine minutes to get to life threatening emergencies. They want to change that to just under 11 minutes.

Whitlow said the current recommended time was created 30 years ago, and since then, the national recommendation has changed.

"It's a nationwide thing, where we're trying to slow down the ambulances a little bit by keeping life safety in mind," Whitlow said.

Some city councilors worry other first responders, like the fire department, will have to pick up the slack if response times drop.

"I like the response times where they're at," said Councilor Skip Steele. "I think our goal ought to be to reduce our response times. That will be the goal to our citizens."

On average, EMSA ambulances in Oklahoma get in seven wrecks per month, while driving with their emergency lights and sirens on.

To lower those numbers, EMSA is also considering turning off emergency lights and sirens for all non life-threatening calls and increasing that response time from 11 minutes to 25.

"I don't think there's anything that should stand in the way of providing excellent service when lives are on the line," Steele said.

Whitlow said, "It's not that we don't care or it's all about money or anything. It's about safety and it's about us getting to the patients safely."

The fire department said it isn't sure how the longer times will impact them, but they support EMSA and the medical director's decision.

EMSA said part of the reason it can afford to extend response times is because all dispatchers are trained to give assistance while paramedics are en route.

City councilors say they're not sure when they will vote on this hot topic.

Special Features

Community Calendar

Find out what's going on around town and submit events!


See it! Shoot it! Send it! Share your weather pics and videos with NewsOn6.com!

iPhone App

Get breaking news, weather, sports & video directly on your iPhone.

Mobile Alerts

Get breaking news, headlines, weather alerts & more on your cell phone.

TV Schedule

Need to know what's on TV? Check out our television schedule.

Live Radar

WARN Interactive

Special Coverage

  • Bridge Tracker

    How safe are Oklahoma's bridges? Use Bridge Tracker to find out now.

  • Cold Case

    Join Lori and local homicide detectives as they search for Cold Case clues.

  • Fallen Heroes

    News On 6 honors our fallen Oklahoma heroes. View our interactive timeline.

  • Murrah Bombing Timeline

    Learn more about the events leading up to and following the bombing.

  • Storm Zone

    Watch tornadoes tear across Oklahoma and learn how to stay safe!

  • Turnpike Timelines

    View a historical road map of Oklahoma's turnpike system.

Powered by WorldNow
News On 6
303 N. Boston Ave.
Tulsa, OK 74103
Oklahoma's Own Newson6.com is proud to provide Oklahomans with timely and relevant news and information, sharing the stories, pictures and loves of Oklahomans across our great state including Tulsa's Own and Green Country's Own.
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014, WorldNow and KOTV. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.