Why are ambulances idling in Danville?

Published 11:39 am Thursday, August 10, 2023



Boyle County Judge-Executive Trille Bottom and EMS Director Mike Rogers have heard concerns from citizens about ambulances sitting around the city idling. Rogers explained that ambulances are being tactically placed to improve response times to calls by having an ambulance close by.

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“We started experimenting with what I called the policing model,” Rogers said. “When an officer goes on duty they have their district they patrol. We put our ambulances on stand by ready to respond. When we get a call we are in drive, on the way in seconds. If they are in the station you have what is called chute time. That’s the time it takes for a paramedic to drop what they are doing and get out the doors. We try to keep that as short as possible but this method eliminates it all together.”

Spreading ambulances around the city can shave precious seconds off of call times.

“Our goal is to get a paramedic to the patient as fast as possible,” Rogers said. “In a cardiac arrest you have seconds to get there before there is risk of brain injury. As we see hot spots for calls we can move things around.”

Even though this method does increase fuel consumption and wear and tear on the ambulances, it still saves the county money in the long run.

“This cheaper than building a station,” Rogers said. “You have to deal with buying land, utilities, maintenance, all those things add up. Our trucks are smart, they start and stop when idling. That helps save fuel. Our trucks use roughly .8 gallons an hour idling.”

The county is exploring stationing trucks throughout the county.

“We want to see how the call volume is coming in and how quickly we respond,” Bottom said. “The farther you are out in the county, and an ambulance coming from Danville, it is not always going to work out time wise. If you can be in those places during an emergency seconds count. The pros of the patrol model outweigh the cons.”

The patrol method makes responses safer for pedestrians and regular traffic.

“We want to be able to get anywhere in the county fast,” Rogers said. “When you are in the truck, as soon you get the call you are gone. You don’t have to speed to runs. We are still going to use due regard for public and get there as fast we can, but you save that chute time and are ahead of yourself.”