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Panel: Darien Doesn't Need Its Own Paramedics

An ad hoc EMS Review Committee told the Board of Selectmen that it has concluded that paramedics arrive in town from Stamford in a reasonable amount of time, so the town doesn't need to hire its own.

Although Darien doesn't have paramedics on call in town, the average time they arrive at the scene of a reported emergency is well within national standards for response times.

That was one conclusion of a report to the Board of Selectmen from the Emergency Management Service Review Committee, set up by the town to review local public safety agencies' responses to 911 calls.

(Robert Gurliacci, a member of the committee, is a cousin of the writer of this article.)

Paramedics arrive on the scene, on average, 9 minutes, 21 seconds after the dispatching service for the town, CMED, receives a transferred 911 call from Darien Police emergency dispatchers, EMS Review Committee Chairman Jose Cara said.

Darien has no paramedics of its own, but uses paramedics from Stamford for emergency calls in town. Darien and Stamford have a mutual aid agreement for that. No similar agreement exists with Norwalk.

There, in a community more than four times the population of Darien, a commercial paramedic service operates out of Norwalk Hospital with three ambulances, the same number of ambulances that Darien has.

CMED could potentially dispatch a Norwalk paramedic to Darien, since it will dispatch the nearest available paramedic to the scene of an emergency, but that hasn't happened since at least the beginning of 2012, Cara said.

Cara spoke Monday night at the regular Board of Selectman meeting, presenting the committee's report. First Selectman Jayme Stevenson, who said she'd looked into the matter before the meeting, pointed out that nationwide standard response times are between 8 and 12 minutes, putting Darien well within the norm.

On Stevenson's prompting, Cara said the Darien time is from the time CMED receives the call to when the paramedic arrives on the scene. The national standard is taken from local statistics, some of which measure only the time that ambulances or paramedics leave to get to an emergency.

For Darien EMS-Post 53 calls in which no paramedic is needed, response times are even faster—6 minutes, 1 second in 2012. Of the 1525 calls to Post 53, calls also went out to paramedics on 506 occasions, or 33 percent of the time, according to the report.

"Our response times are terrific," Stevenson said.

Selectman David Bayne said, "I think on the whole, the report is very encouraging. It seems Post 53 is doing a great job. If we can find ways of improving, we should do that, as well."

CMED has dispatched Post 53 crews to Norwalk or Stamford 96 times in 2012, but no similar mutual aid calls from either of those cities were required by Darien all of last year, Cara said.

Cara said the committee still wants to explore some questions. For instance, in the five cases in 2012 where someone was dead after 911 was called, the committee wants to see if even faster response times might have saved the life.

When committee members spoke with Post 53 Director Ron Hammer, "he stated that he had no knowledge of any situations in which a delay in paramedic services had adversely affected patient outcomes," the report stated.

"The EMS Review Committee concludes that emergency medical services within the town of Darien are adequae and that EMS response times are, as a whole, within accepted national standards," according to the report. "As such, the committee does not believe additional paramedic services are justified at this time."

sebastian dangerfield February 26, 2013 at 04:12 PM
Not sure i understand the quote that says they will investigate if paramedic response time was involved when 911 called after the patient was dead. So just as a scenario - person has head on collision. They die. Someone calls 911. They need to do a study to understand how in-town paramedics would have altered the outcome? Maybe this is a misquote?
David Gurliacci (Editor) February 26, 2013 at 05:19 PM
Yes, you're misquoting: "where someone was dead after 911 was called." Now, it's entirely possible that in all those cases, the person was *also* dead before 911 was called. They want to find out. If not, they want to examine those situations to see if there's any way to get even faster response times. Even then, it doesn't necessarily mean the paramedics or ambulance system in Darien did anything wrong, but if there are any improvements to be made, they say they want to make them.
Diane Wilkinson Trefethen February 26, 2013 at 07:33 PM
@David Gurliacci As a journalist, you know the importance of sentence construction. If there are several ways to state a fact, it is prudent to chose one that is not likely to cause the reader to stumble and have to go back and reread what has been written in order to properly understand it. "...in the five cases in 2012 where someone was dead after 911 was called, the committee wants to see if even faster response times might have saved the life" is a case in point. Yes there is a difference between "after 911 was called" and "before 911 was called," but why not avoid the stumble completely with something like, "...in the five 911 cases in 2012 where someone was dead when paramedics arrived on scene, the committee wants to see if even faster response times might have saved the life"?
David Gurliacci (Editor) February 26, 2013 at 11:10 PM
Diane, thanks for your suggestion. I was a bit tired when I wrote that on deadline, late at night, after walking around the scene of the truck accident that night, taking pictures. That's journalism.
communityfirst February 27, 2013 at 01:11 AM
David, I want to point out that if YOU were tired after walking around the scene of an accident taking pictures......can you imagine the self discipline and level of intelligence it must take for the Posties who guard your life as if it was their own and then go and knock it out of the ballpark in the classroom all day regardless of whether or not they were up all night long? I bet if we spent just one day doing what a Postie does, we would be very, very, very careful about our facts and how we send them out into the universe. That's professionalism.
Owsley February 27, 2013 at 02:56 AM
Why would the person need a paramedic if he died?
David Gurliacci (Editor) February 27, 2013 at 04:39 AM
After reading this thread, I think I need some medical care. Perhaps psychiatric.
Kimbell February 27, 2013 at 05:42 AM
David, I think your writing is fine. Very good in fact. Ignore the troublemakers.
David Gurliacci (Editor) February 27, 2013 at 06:31 AM
Thanks, Kimbell, but I'm consulting a physician.
sebastian dangerfield February 27, 2013 at 07:00 AM
Bud Doble , the founder of Post 53 was a good man. He set up a program that has served Darien in so many ways. We all know why this review panel was set up. The same guy who has cost Darien tons of money in all his conspiracy theories and attacks on various people and organizations. No town or city exists that has perfect service --perfect figures on solving crime, saving lives and putting out fires before they burn down houses. I think its been the long standing position that the types of people who have volunteered at Post 53 have done so, with patient care their first concern. Casey somehow believes that volunteers --who make no money must have some crazy cover-up to protect their 'jobs".... The town saves tons of money each year and this panel once again concluded that the response times have not negatively impacted any known patient. When trained people whose objective is to help others takes a back seat to the accusations and innendo of a miscreant whose sole mission in life is to negatively impact particular organizations--its simply sad.
Owsley February 27, 2013 at 07:57 PM
Did he died?

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