Apparatus & Equipment, Fire EMS, Truck Company

End Overdispatching: Add Specialists to Curb Costs and Manage Resources

Issue 12 and Volume 167.

By BRENT BURGETT Innovation is a word bandied about in corporate boardrooms and municipal planning meetings to describe the goal of a select few who strive to do things better or more economically with the hope of improving outcomes. The need for some innovative thinking, coupled with the economics of 2006, prompted the Mesa (AZ) Fire and Medical Department (MFMD) to launch a pilot program into uncharted waters. Because of the economy, budget cuts had taken a toll. This is particularly problematic in a city where many services derive funding from a sales tax. Concurrently, there was an increase in response times citywide as well as in the demand from the city’s growing population. The department realized that more than 75 percent of its responses were medical in nature and approximately 10 percent were for behavioral health issues. Ignoring these facts cost money and resulted in missed opportunities to address…

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