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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

EWEMS 10-Year Plan received at County Council

by Adam Gault

Essex County Council received and filed the Essex Windsor EMS Ten Year Master Plan at the meeting held on November 6. This is a document that provided findings and recommendations for the management and delivery of service for Essex Windsor EMS over the course of the next decade.

  Bruce Krauter, Chief of Essex Windsor EMS (EWEMS), presented the plan, which was designed to project the needs of the community and region based on population, demographics, historical use of EMS services, staffing, infrastructure, call volume, and vehicle utilization.

  “This is a guiding document, it’s not set in stone,” Krauter explained of the adoption of the plan. “It’s designed to be an approach that Essex Windsor EMS can follow.”

  In the fall of 2018, EWEMS hired the services of third-party organization, Operational Research in Health Limited (ORH), to begin the process of compiling and drafting a ten-year master plan.

Although based in the United Kingdom, ORS has advised EMS providers around the world, as well as providing reports to multiple Ontario land ambulance services, including York Region, Simcoe County, and Middlesex-London.

  As the population of Essex County continues to increase and age, an increase in the needs of EMS availability will be required throughout the region.

  “The demand [for EMS services] increased 14.4 percent between the years 2013 and 2017, or 3.49 percent per year,” Krauter explained, adding that at any given time, 49 percent of the region’s ambulances are in service in some capacity.

  The ORH report recommended the “re-rostering” or movement of staff from their current schedules to “new schedules” with start and end times that meet historical and consistent demand.

  Analysis of response volumes indicates that increased daytime resources would reduce response times and increase available ambulances, and allow for greater efficiency across the Essex Windsor system.

  In comparison, night time resources have excess capacity and are currently underutilized. Re-rostering is expected to change approximately four to five total EMS shift rotations.

  Discussion between management and staff will begin in late fall with the intent to explain the rationale, the purpose and expected improvements. The process will begin early 2020 with an expected re-rostering to be completed in the spring.

To help alleviate the projected increase in demand, it is also recommended that two additional Professional Standards Captains are hired in the next few years, as well as three more District Chiefs between 2023 and 2027.

  In summary, it was determined a 21 percent increase in weekly EMS vehicle deployment hours will be required by 2028 to mitigate the impact of a projected nearly 40 percent increase in demand to maintain acceptable response times and standards.

  As for what this could mean for the Town of Essex itself, there is the potential for a new centralized station hub at the Essex County Civic Centre.

  This centre would house logistics, fleet, training, professional standards and be the center for the county’s Emergency Management.

  Should it be constructed, it would provide improved access to county municipalities without impacting support to the City of Windsor.

  It is suggested that a costs and benefits appraisal be undertaken for the proposed hub.

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