By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support local journalism.
First responders see drop in calls
Placeholder Image

With the 90-day extension regarding the fate of McMinnville’s first responder program up this month, there are signs of improvement that could mean continued life for the program.
According to Warren County 911 director Chuck Haston, the medical calls for the city’s first responders have been cut in half each month.
“So far so good,” said Haston. “I think we have made a 50-55 percent reduction in the number. The city’s first responders are dispatched to priority one calls only. Those are the calls in which the program can be of benefit, such as not breathing and traumatic injury.”
First responders were dispatched to 46 medical calls in September and 51 in August.
In May, June and July, calls were 130, 123 and 114, respectively.
The city’s first responders are only dispatched to medical calls within the city limits. 
Haston says he does not want anyone to get the idea reducing the number of calls is the goal. Instead, it is to remove non-emergency medical calls and focus the program on those who will benefit from the service.
“We don’t want anyone to think we are in a race to see how few calls we can send them on,” Haston said. “That’s not true. We are using the MTAS model and removing calls not considered life threatening in nature.”
Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS) considers priority one calls as those with immediate life-threatening conditions that will require transport to a hospital. Priority two calls require transport to the hospital, but are not considered life threatening. Priority three calls are considered a routine transport to, or from, the hospital, or a non-emergency transport from hospital to hospital.
“I’m pleased with what we’re doing and how things are going,” said Haston. “We have leeway in the program for dispatchers to go ahead and make that decision when calls come in.”
In July, officials gave Haston 90 days to see if he could reduce the number of non-emergency calls responded to each month in an effort to save the program.
The decision came after a passionate plea from Haston — a passion he still feels today.
“There is no question this program is vital,” Haston said of the city’s first responder program. “It didn’t need to go away. I’m pleased we could work together. If what we have done keeps the program in place, we’ve done a good thing.”
McMinnville Safety Committee members Rick Barnes, Everett Brock and Clair Cochran gave the 90-day extension in early July. No meeting has been set to discuss the progress made or the program’s fate.