EMS Newsroom

Louisville Metro EMS To Enhance Medical Response

Wednesday December 7, 2005

Mayor Jerry Abramson today outlined a new emergency medical services deployment strategy that will put up to 65 percent more response vehicles on the street and reduce mandatory staff overtime.

“This is the next step in building our medically driven EMS system - it will both save the lives of Louisville residents and improve our EMS team,” Abramson said. “Under this deployment, EMS will have medical responders on the scene of more emergencies more quickly.”

The new deployment strategy currently being phased in includes:
  • Adding rapid-response “fly cars” to the EMS fleet; 
  • Staffing fly cars with paramedics, so they can be dispatched independently from ambulances; · Creating a new rank structure to enhance EMS career mobility; 
  • Adjusting work schedules and shifts to allow increased flexibility in deployment and scheduling.
Fly Cars expand EMS capability
By staffing each of 10 fly cars with a paramedic, EMS can take a more tactical approach to dispatching crews, said its chief executive officer, Dr. Neal Richmond. Previously, those paramedics would ride in ambulances with emergency-medical technicians, tying up both a paramedic and EMT on all runs, when it may be an EMT-level professional that is required for a given call. The fly cars will supplement up to 30 ambulances deployed throughout the community. Previously, EMS would deploy 24 ambulances across Louisville.
“With the fly cars, we are expanding the number of medical professionals in this community available to respond to emergencies at any given time,” Richmond said. “We can dispatch with more precision by assigning the appropriate resources to a given incident and have others on reserve to respond elsewhere.”

Paramedics assigned to the fly cars will be become field training officers, responsible for overseeing newly hired employees and promoting education efforts in their divisions.

EMS purchased 10 new Ford Explorers to serve as fly cars. Each fly car is equipped with defibrillaters and a complete stock of medical supplies. Fully outfitted, the vehicles cost $239,100 paid for through the city’s vehicle-replacement fund.

Schedule to reduce overtime, accommodate specialized training
EMS staff also will transition from working 12-hour shifts seven times every two weeks to working 10-hour shifts eight times every two weeks. The change will enhance scheduling flexibility and will be an additional measure to reduce mandatory overtime.

In February, the Louisville Metro EMS was created by merging the emergency medical service of the Louisville Fire Department with Jefferson County EMS. At the time, inherited vacant positions required many EMS employees to work extensive overtime. In the three months following the EMS merger, the agency filled the majority of those vacancies with new hires, and Abramson’s budget for the current year added 46 new paramedics and EMT positions to put more medical responders on the streets of Louisville than ever before.

“We’re now coming full circle for our staff by minimizing overtime with the new shift structure and enhancing career mobility with the new rank structure,” Abramson said.

Richmond said the new shift schedule also will provide for continuing medical education and training for dive teams, explosives response, trench rescue, hazardous materials and other specialties.

The new shift schedule begins January 1, and fly car deployment begins immediately.
January 2003
Louisville and Jefferson County governments merge; emergency-medical service continues to be provided by two separate agencies,
Louisville Fire Department and Jefferson County EMS

February 2003
Mayor appoints task force to review EMS services

January 2004
Task force recommends merged EMS; Mayor conducts national search for a physician with emergency medical experience to implement a combined,
community-wide EMS system that is medically driven and data driven

August 2004
Dr. Neal Richmond named Louisville Metro EMS chief executive officer. Richmond is the former deputy medical director for the New York City Fire Department

February 2005
Emergency-medical service of Louisville Fire Department merges with Jefferson County EMS to create new agency, Louisville Metro EMS

Feb.-May 2005
EMS aggressively recruits and hires EMTs and paramedics to fill vacancies inherited when agencies merged

May 2005
Abramson proposed FY 05-06 budget that includes the addition of 46 new EMT and paramedic positions, 11 new ambulances and 7 refurbished ambulances

June 2005

EMS begins responding to emergency calls across former city-county boundaries

July 2005
EMS graduates first recruit class

September 2005

EMS dispatch opens at MetroSafe combined communications center at 768 Barret Avenue; communications functions integrated with 9-1-1, urban and suburban fire, police and other emergency response agencies

December 2005
EMS introduces deployment adjustments to put 65 percent more response vehicles on the street, utilize rapid-response “fly cars,” and adjust shifts to enhance scheduling flexibility and minimize required overtime