A proposal to share information between emergency agencies has been winding its way through Washoe County governments for months. This week the County Commission, Fire Board and Health District were the last to approve the plan and now the agencies can start collectively looking for patterns to identify problems and solutions.
Reno, Sparks, Washoe County and the local ambulance service respond to more than 40,000 emergencies a year. Until now, they haven’t shared information, like what kinds of emergencies, where and when they occur. Now, an "EMS Oversight Board" made up of 8 government and private emergency managers will collect that data and try to tease out patterns.
Reno Fire Chief Michael Hernandez has already started collecting the information. He isn't sure what he will find, but some of the problems in emergency response are already evident.
“We could have either gone non-lights or sirens or perhaps not even responded at all, and so this is going to improve the overall global service of EMS delivery in our region,” Hernandez says.
Hernandez adds that it will take at least 6 months to collect enough data for meaningful analysis. He hopes it will eventually help managers allocate resources according to what kinds of problems occur where. Hernandez says the next step is standardizing computer systems between agencies so they have access to the data in real-time, but that will take years.