County Ambulance Response Times Far Exceed National Standards

May 17, 2011
For more information, contact:  
Rhonda Ellis, Media Representative
(410) 280-1932;

County Ambulance Response Times Far Exceed National Standards

Task Force Being Formed

A recent analysis by Joanna Conti, the 2010 Anne Arundel County Executive Democratic Nominee, shows that ambulances in Anne Arundel County are taking far longer to arrive than national standards require.
“For the majority of calls, this slow response is probably not critical,” says Conti.  “However, if your child is choking or your spouse is having a heart attack, these delays could make the difference between life and death.”  
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) sets a series of standards regarding dispatch and ambulance arrival times, none of which are being met in Anne Arundel County.  For example, the NFPA requires that an ambulance dispatch order be sent within 60 seconds of receipt of a 911 call 90% of the time.  Anne Arundel County is dispatching within 60 seconds only 3.3% of the time.  Separately, AAC has first responder medical personnel on scene with an automatic external defibrillator within 5 minutes of dispatch 42% of the time, well below the 90% standard set by the NFPA.
Combining standards, the NFPA requires that first responders arrive on scene within 6 minutes of a 911 call 90% of the time.  In the fourth quarter of 2010, AAC first responders arrived on scene within 6 minutes only 20.7% of the time.  First responders were on scene 90% of the time within 12.5 minutes, an interval more than twice the standard.
Conti is in the process of forming a task force of key stakeholders.  

“Our hard-working emergency medical personnel are responding to the best of their abilities to 157 calls per day for medical assistance.  My belief is that the task force will be able to identify inexpensive, systemic solutions which fairly dramatically speed up ambulance response times,” says Conti.  “Top emergency room physicians and nurses from the two major Anne Arundel County hospitals have agreed to be involved in the task force, the Annapolis Fire Department has agreed to meet with the task force in an advisory role, and we have requested the participation of the Anne Arundel County Fire Department.”
More than 14,000 ambulance calls during the fourth quarter of 2010 were analyzed using data provided by the Anne Arundel County Fire Department under a Public Information Act request.  The analysis is available at  


Important Update

After working on this problem for several more months, Joanna proposed that Anne Arundel County dispatch their calls the same way Howard County does.  This would shave one to two minutes off of most ambulance calls at no cost.  Unfortunately, the Fire Chief refused to implement this change.  Learn more here. 


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