By FRANCSCA CONSTANTINI
ABC 7 WWSB
Back in April, the Sarasota County Fire Department started a Rapid Response EMS truck pilot program as a new way of saving lives. Since then, the department has expanded to neighboring cities, including Venice.
With more people in Sarasota, it means more 911 calls. Sometimes some of those calls don’t need an ambulance, fire department officials said.
“It’s an emergency but it’s not something that needs to be transported to the hospital,” Division Chief Carson Sanders said.
Medic 20, an SUV, has the same equipment and personnel as an ambulance, but its purpose is to get to the scene faster, and it frees up the ambulance for life-threatening incidents.
“They ran over 700 calls over the course of 90 days. Half of those were transported to the hospital, so we called rescue, and the other half they were able to mitigate those emergencies without the use of other trucks,” Sanders said.
Now it’s being tested in Venice.
“We wanted to basically gather the same data that we were collecting here: how many calls can they run, can they keep the engines slower, can they cut the rescue response that we have with longer responses down there,” he said.
While fire officials say it was mostly successful in Sarasota, they’re still looking to improve.
“What we want to be able to do is refine our calls we’re sending the truck to,” he said.