(CHENEY, Kan.) — When an ambulance is dispatched, that means someone needs help. But where you live, depends on how quickly you'll get that help. "19 minutes is a long time, would you be concerned if you sat in Wichita and got a 19 minute response? That's just too long and that's what scares us." said Cheney Fire Chief Brad Ewy.
The City of Cheney is concerned about response times especially since the county moved the ambulance station three miles further away. To address those concerns, Sedgwick County Director of EMS Scott Hadley talked to the city council Thursday. He says although the typical response time is 19 minutes, that's actually better than the times last year which typically were 22 minutes. He says they are still not where they want to be but at least the response time has improved. "We've made a significant difference even though we moved farther away," he said.
You may be thinking that makes no sense. But Hadley says it's for three reasons. First they moved another ambulance to west Wichita, they added a brand new ambulance to the system and Via Christi opened a west side hospital. He says those changes have allowed the western Sedgwick County ambulance to stay in Goddard more instead of responding to Wichita. "Even though the old building was on Andale road, nobody was in it, they were in Wichita. We have to keep someone in it to keep coverage out there," he said.
In 2010, 68% of the ambulances responding to Cheney came from Wichita. So far this year, 33% came from there. "They're trying I think," said Ewy. But he would still prefer the ambulance in Goddard never respond to calls in Wichita. "We'd like them to leave the ambulance in western Sedgwick county alone," he said. That way the people living there can get to the hospital faster.