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CITY OF LINCOLN   •   NEWS RELEASE   •   FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date:
April 6, 2001
For More Information Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, Citizen Information Center, 441-7831
Don Herz, Finance Director, 441-7412

Fire and Rescue Releases Preliminary Report on Performance of Ambulance Service A preliminary report on the Lincoln Fire and Rescue Departmentís ambulance service for the first quarter of this year shows that the number of ambulance calls was higher than expected, and the average response time to life threatening emergency calls was about two-and-a-half minutes less than required. The Department assumed all ambulance service for Lincoln and Lancaster County on January 1, 2001. "I am very pleased with our performance during the first three months of ambulance service," said Chief Mike Spadt. "Having only six weeks to get our emergency and non-emergency service up and running was a challenge, but we met it and are now meeting the needs of city and county residents for ambulance service." Spadt said the Department projected that it would respond to 8,800 emergency ambulance calls a year, or about 24 per day. So far, the Department has responded to an average of 38.7 emergency and 7.5 non-emergency calls per day. The city requires a response time of eight minutes or less to 90 percent of the emergency calls, with a goal of responding within six minutes. Spadt said the average response time for all life threatening calls was 5 minutes and 34 seconds, and he said nearly all of the responses that took more than eight minutes were for calls outside the city limits. "I am very pleased with the Departmentís performance during the transition, which is the most difficult part of the process," said Mayor Don Wesely. "The initial report shows it has been a success. I have every confidence we will continue to provide quality patient care to the citizens of Lincoln and Lancaster County." Because ambulances could not be ordered until a November 2000 public vote on ambulance service, the Department has been using rental ambulances. Its new ambulances are expected to start arriving in mid-April. Finance Director Don Herz said the ambulance service is generating about $500,000 per month in revenues. Expenses are estimated about $333,000 a month, excluding bad debt expenses. "If the Department did not have to rent ambulances to begin service, the margin between revenue and expense would have been even greater," said Herz.

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