By Frederick Bader
HARVEY COUNTY – When you call for an ambulance, you expect help to come quickly.
Harvey County residents are lucky in that they can receive emergency care on average much faster than the national average, and it's all thanks to the EMS volunteers in the many stations across the county.
Halstead boasts the fastest response time of any department in the county, responding inside the city limits at an average of three minutes, 19 seconds.
In Burrton, responses within the city have an average of about five minutes, while Sedgwick comes in at around eight minutes in town, according to county records. According to the National Emergency Medical Service Information System, the average response time nationwide is 9.2 minutes.
"People have this misconception that we require our EMS people to be there in five minutes. That's not exactly the case. It's an average," Lowe said.
For Halstead's EMS department, the goal is five minutes between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., though this is contingent upon a number of factors, such as location of EMS volunteers at the time of the call, traffic, and if there's a train separating the volunteer from the station.
At night, Lowe says the target response time is more like eight minutes. "People have to get their clothes on and get out the door. Nobody sleeps in their gear," Lowe said. "Sometimes we go a little slower than I'd like but we generally beat our goal."
To read more, see this week's print edition.