Escambia County Emergency Medical Services has launched an online dashboard that gives the public a view of the operations of the county's ambulance service.
The new dashboard launched this week with daily numbers from EMS and the county's Emergency Communications divisions detailing how many calls EMS has been dispatched to, the number of transports to local hospitals, the number of on-scene cardiac arrests and the number of on-scene overdoses, among other data points.
Escambia County EMS Chief David Torsell proposed the idea of the dashboard to give the public a better insight into what happens at EMS.
“I’m encouraged that an idea came to fruition through a collaborative effort between EMS and other county departments," Torsell said in a county press release announcing the dashboard. "The information on the EMS dashboard should help inform our community on how busy we are and what EMS is doing in our community.”
Public Safety Director Eric Gilmore said he personally isn't aware of another EMS service that provides the public this kind of information.
"Chief Torsell, when he came here, this was his idea and he wanted to be as transparent as possible, and I agree," Gilmore said. "Let's show the citizens what we're running out there."
Torsell was named EMS chief last summer. He was the first permanent chief hired for the division in two years.
The numbers also provide insight into health issues affecting the county as the number of cardiac arrests and overdose calls were included on the dashboard.
The dashboard shows that last week EMS responded to 29 cardiac/respiratory arrest calls, 33 drug overdose calls and 47 car wrecks. The dashboard also gives the number STEMI heart attacks, which stands for ST-elevation myocardial infarction, which is known as the deadliest type of heart attack.
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Last week, EMS responded to two STEMI heart attacks.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the total number of calls EMS had run that day was 120 and the total number ran this year was 3,419.
EMS had 74 transports to area hospitals on Wednesday, 123 on Tuesday and 855 last week.
Gilmore said the high rates of COVID have led to higher than usual calls.
"We have responded to a lot of those calls here in the last couple of weeks," Gilmore said.
Escambia County EMS has battled staff shortages, forcing them to hold calls until a crew was freed up. Gilmore said that's still a problem, but the county is working on training new recruits to solve those staff shortages this year. He said the data included in the dashboard was a good starting point.
"I can put all kinds of data over that thing, but I think this is a good starting point for showing how busy the system is and what calls we run," Gilmore said.
The dashboard can be found on the county's website at MyEscambia.com on the EMS page.
Jim Little can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and 850-208-9827.
This article originally appeared on Pensacola News Journal: Escambia County launches EMS dashboard for tracking, transparency