How Is Peak Load Staffing, Unit Hour Utilization and System Status Management Used in the Fire Service and Ambulance.

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The majority of non EMS/Fire related people believe that the EMS and Fire calls are sporadic. In reality there is a predictable trend where the call volumes are higher and lower. There are 3 concepts that I will discuss further, first, System Status Management. SSM is simply what its name implies, the management of a EMS/Fire system’s resources before and between calls. It is the process of preparing the system for the best possible response to the next EMS or Fire call. Second, the concept is of Unit-Hour Utilization. UHU is an equation to find out what percent of the time a specific unit is being used on a specific day. Third, Peak Load Staffing will be discussed. PLS is a pretty simple topic to understand, For instance, Industrial areas and commercial office building usually have the highest call volume during the 9am-5pm business day when residential areas have a higher call volume after 5pm, lessen at night and start again around 6am the next day. The concept of PLS is to have more resources in the higher call volume times and areas.

I work as a Paramedic for the Medical Express Ambulance Service (Medex) where both SSM and PLS are used. First, the concept of System Status Management. Our 2 most northern posts at Medex are Swedish Covenant Hospital (northeastern chicago) and Resurrection Medical Center (northwest chicago). The dispatchers attempt to keep 2 ALS and 3 BLS ambulances around the hospital. However if all of our ambulances out of Swedish Cov. Hospital get dispatched, Our dispatchers will move a few ambulances from Resurrection over to Swedish Cov. to cover the area and decrease overall response times. There have been times where we have not been relocated to either hospital and had to travel more than 30-45 minutes lights and sirens to get to a patient. If SSM had been implemented appropriately, that response time could have been greatly decreased. “UHU, or unit hour utilization, itself is fairly straightforward. It's calculated by dividing the...
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