Sunday, February 20, 2011

Daily Poll Results: 6-8 Ambulances Enough??

The last daily poll question:  "Do you feel that 6-8 ambulances are enough to service our island properly as reported in the media recently?"
Results: Yes votes- 0
             No votes- 5
Though not many voted on this issue, the results were unanimous.

So how many ambulances do we really need to service our island?
Well if you think about it, that number really depends on response time. We need to ask ourselves a few questions. What response times are our administrators and leaders willing to settle for? What is the level of risk that they are willing to subject our residents to in the event of medical emergencies or other emergency responses? Are there any standards that we should consider in an effort to figure out what our response times should be?

That answer can be found in the standards of the National Fire Protection Association. Standard 1710, Organization and Deployment of Fire Suppression Operations, Emergency Medical Operations, and Special Operations to the Public by Career Fire Departments.

Within this standard the established response time to emergencies is 4 minutes 90% of the time. What does that  mean here on Guam. Well that means that we need to place our fire stations and have enough fire stations so that we can meet that standard.

In 1998, Fire Suppression Assistant Fire Chief Joe Tenorio and I drove around the entire island in in effort to figure out where these stations should be located. Our criteria was to drive the speed of 35 mph and record locations at 5 minute intervals.

We found that, other than the 12 fire stations we already have, the following areas were identified in need of fire stations:

Fire Station- Route 3 near Potts Junction/Machananao area. Covers the areas between Astumbo Fire Station and Yigo Fire Station.

Fire Station- Route 14A- Tumon Bay area, adjacent to the current Guam Police Precinct- Covers areas between Tamuning Fire Station and Dededo Fire Station.

Fire Station- Dairy Road- Mangilao area, adjacent to the Dept. of Agriculture- Covers area between Barrigada Fire Station and Yona Fire Station and Route 15 to Carnation Road.

Fire Station- Rt. 15 at Carnation Rd. Junction. Covers area between Dairy Rd Station and Gayinero Rd. Station.

Fire Station- Rt. 15 at Gayinero Rd Junction. Covers from Carnation Rd. Station to back gate of Anderson AFB. This anticipates military and civilian residential housing increase in area.

Fire Station- Rt. 4 near Mai Mai Rd. Junction. Covers from Sinajana Fire Station to Yona Fire Station and Mai Mai Road area.

Fire Station- Rt. 17 in Sinifa area. This area is just west of Tarzan Falls, Bishop Apuron area. This will cover the Cross-Island Rd between Agat Fire Station and Talofofo Fire Station which is in excess of 10 minutes from either Station.

Fire Station- Cetti/Cella Bay area. This area receives many wildland fires and is slowly building up with residences. This station would cover areas between Agat Fire Station and Umatac Fire Station.

Fire Station- Rt. 4 Asgadao, Malesso. This area is actually between Malesso and Inarajan. There are many residents in this area as well as family beach ranches. This station would cover the areas between Umatac Fire Station and Inarajan Fire Stations.

With the addition of these 9 stations, we can “plug the gaps” and ensure a much quicker response time. We would have a realistic opportunity to bridge those “gaps” and approach our goal of 4-minute response times.

So how many ambulances do we need? Well, the research has been done. It is up to the decision makers to determine the level of service they want for our people.

Until next time....

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