Following News10NBC Investigation, City of Rochester commissioning an ambulance service study

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Following a News10NBC investigation into ambulance response times in the City of Rochester, Mayor Lovely Warren has announced she will hire an outside firm to conduct a full assessment of the City’s emergency management system.

The study will be conducted by an outside vendor under the direction of the Rochester Fire Chief, Felipe Hernandez Jr. He told News10NBC it will look at the local EMS system as a whole starting with the 911 center and its connection to the Fire Department, AMR and Police. The goal is to see how the agencies are currently working together and whether things can be done differently or in a more efficient manner.

As News10NBC Investigative Reporter Jennifer Lewke has been reporting, AMR failed to meet the response times it promised in its contract with the City during the first two months of 2021 it is also calling for outside mutual aid twice as often as it has in years past. The company says it was experiencing a staffing shortage before the pandemic that has only grown worse.

Currently, Rochester Firefighters are dispatched to most priority calls in addition to AMR. Most RFD Firefighters are trained EMTs and able to provide lifesaving care if AMR paramedics and EMTs are delayed getting to the scene. Of course, that begs the question of why hire an outside ambulance agency at all? If RFD can get there quicker, why not create an ambulance service run through the department? Chief Hernandez says a study similar to this 10 years ago showed an outside agency was still more efficient but he expects this topic to be re-examined as part of the new study.

Mayor Warren announced the funding for the study at her budget presentation on Friday, “to further ensure the safety of our residents this budget also contains funding for an ambulance service study, the goal of the study is simple…to make sure that anyone in need of help during an emergency gets the help as quickly and as efficiently as possible,” she said.