Dear High Country Press Editor
I am writing to follow-up on an article posted in the Watauga Democrat “Blowing Rock group advocates for ambulance station” published on August 20, 2020.
The community of Blowing Rock has been advocating to improve ambulance transport response times for many years and requested the new 24/7 crew be located in the facility provided by the Blowing Rock Fire District. The County’s response has been to add a 9/5 crew during the weekdays.
Representatives of the community and I met with Chairman John Welch on August 21, 2020 to request that the County hold a public hearing to re-evaluate the County Commission’s EMS policies that drive outcomes and safety and seek input from taxpayers throughout the entire County.
All communities outside of Boone are short-changed due to the public health policy currently in place that governs the contracted EMS services for the County. The single performance benchmark is a 10 average response time throughout the county. This benchmark drives behavior of the contractor such that Boone is 6 minutes and everyone outside of Boone is 10 to 25 minutes. Anecdotal experience in Blowing Rock tells us that transport arrival time is 20 to 25 minutes.
We recommended that the County adopt a national standard of 90/9 that sets dual performance benchmarks to achieve 90% coverage in 9 minutes. Adopting dual benchmarks that includes a geographic factor is game changer that results in a fairer and safer outcome for all taxpayers throughout the County.
The taxpayers outside of Boone, need to realize that our service is second rate and must be improved to lower our risk due to late arrival times for “life threatening” emergency calls.
The decision by the County Commission is priority decision to protect the health and safety of our taxpayers that should not limited by budget excuses.
Blowing Rock Civic Association