The performance of the regionalized system is evaluated on a call by call basis. A review of the first year of performance found that calls for service are answered with an average response time under 6 minutes. These statistics show that the regional system operates well under the 8 minute, 59 seconds "Gold Standard" response time goal adopted by the Board of Chosen Commissioners.
Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs)
At this time, many non-participating municipalities do not have Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) covering emergency calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and find weekday coverage being of particular difficulty. Prior to implementing regionalized Emergency Medical Service (EMS), the County assessed non-responses of the various EMS agencies in the County. A non-response is when a squad is contacted for an emergency and the squad does not respond to the call. Whenever this occurs, the next nearest squad by mutual aid is dispatched. Sometimes several squads have to be dispatched before the emergency is responded to.
This process wastes valuable time during an emergency. Significant cost savings have been realized by the participating municipalities, saving local tax dollars. For the first year of operation, participating municipalities reported 2.6 million dollars in avoided costs.
Improving Response Times
Most important of all, a full-time, paid service that is "in station 24-7" has improved response times and provided more reliability to the system because prior to regionalization many municipalities did not have this type of around-the-clock, reliable coverage. Municipalities that have not joined Gloucester County Emergency Medical Service (GCEMS) are encouraged to consider joining. Time counts with emergency medical services and being able to respond quickly can be a matter of life and death.