VINTON–Wayne Guffey, Assistant Chief of the Vinton Volunteer First Aid Crew, briefed Vinton Town Council on the highlights of the crew’s 2013-2014 fiscal year, at their meeting on July 15.
“Truck ‘mark up’ for volunteer hours was 5,506 out of a possible 5,648 for an average of 97%,” said Guffey.
In layman’s talk that means that out of all the hours that the volunteers work year round from 6 p.m. until 6 a.m. on weeknights and twenty-four hours a day on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, the station was manned and prepared for duty ninety-seven percent of the time.
The First Aid Crew responded to 1,107 calls out of 1,392 for an average of 80%. Including training and standbys, their total man hours were 20,507 hours for the year which ended on June 30, 2014.
A more complicated statistic for the Vinton crew, which Guffey explained to council, was the “fractile response time.”
Fractile response time refers to the percentage of calls that the crew is able to respond to in their goal of twelve minutes—a goal set by Roanoke County. This statistic measures how fast a system responds in “most cases.” The Vinton crew’s fractile response time was 10 minutes, 16 seconds.
According to the National Fire Prevention Association, “if a patient is in cardiac arrest, the most important objective is to respond quickly enough to save the person’s life. If a building is burning, the key objective is to have firefighters on the scene in time to control the fire within a limited area. A fractile reporting system measures performance in relation to the benchmark time that is considered ‘fast enough.’”
This is in comparison to an “average response time,” which indicates what “usually occurs,” which is an average of 6 minutes, 24 seconds for the Vinton crew. This is taking into account the fact that Guffey says that there are some locations in their service area, such as Falling Creek or Montgomery Village in East Roanoke County, where “even if we were sitting in our trucks ready to roll, we might not get there in twelve minutes.”
“The 12 minute response time basically sets the goal that the crew will be on scene from time of dispatch in 12 minutes or less, but the system realizes that we can’t be there 100 % of the time due to travel distance, traffic issues, and so on,” said Guffey.
Response times include four components: call processing/dispatch, turnout, travel, and “vertical.”
The response time starts when the dispatcher answers the 911 call. “Turnout” is the time which elapses from dispatch to departure from the station taken up by donning protective gear and boarding the emergency response vehicle. Travel is the period from leaving the station until the crew arrives on the scene. “Vertical” is the time from arriving at the scene to arriving at the side of the patient or the site of the fire.
Guffey says the Vinton First Aid Crew does not generally put on turnout gear.
“We basically hear the call, go to the truck, and head to the emergency,” said Guffey.
Besides their outstanding statistics for response times in serving the community, the crew has had other highlights in the past year. With assistance from a state grant, they were able to purchase a third Stryker power stretcher. This type of stretcher operates on hydraulics and allows the crew to lift a patient more quickly and with less wear and tear on volunteers, “maximizing patient and provider safety.”
The crew also purchased with their own funds a new Rehab unit for the department—a Ford F-250 Super Duty pick-up truck, which will provide support services to Fire and EMS personnel involved in major incidents such as structure fires, Hazardous Materials incidents, brush fires, and long term emergency situations. It will also be used at special events. The vehicle has a towing package which enables it to tow the Roanoke County Mass Casualty trailer which is housed in Vinton.
The Vinton Volunteer First Aid Crew is currently made up of thirty-nine active members and is located in the Fire and EMS building on Jackson Avenue in downtown Vinton.