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Letter: Understanding How EMS Operates

While at a recent Woodbridge Town meeting, it came to my attention that many in the Woodbridge community do not understand how the Emergency Medical Services operates, especially the excellent medical response setup that we have in Woodbridge, a suburban/rural setting.

The 911 landline call in the Woodbridge community is automatically sent to the Woodbridge Police dispatch operator.  The operator uses questions from The National Academy Field Responder Guide to query the caller and understand the problem so that emergency instructions may be given to the caller before help arrives.

Based on the information derived from the questioning, the operator contacts the appropriate responder.  The Town’s first medical responder team includes a fully trained EMS person supplied by AMR (American Medical Response) who is permanently stationed next to the Police headquarters; our police who are also trained in EMS, and the fire department in the case of accidents and hazardous conditions.

The AMR person has a fully equipped first responder vehicle including defibrillators, IV solutions, emergency medications, splints and much more, parked by the police station (AMR vehicle number 44), and by contract arrives at the emergency within 9 minutes.  Most of the time, the vehicle or the police are there within minutes.  These responders stabilize and prepare the patient for transport to the hospital.

At the same time, an ambulance is dispatched by AMR and should be at the scene within 13 minutes for major problems and 16 minutes for less life-threatening problems.  The Town’s contract with AMR pays for the AMR first responder services, but the individual is responsible for the ambulance charges.

Very few towns of our small size and geography have such a service, and though we are constantly trying to find ways to improve it, we take great pride in this service provided by the Town.


Alan C. Davidson, M.D., F.A.C.S.

Member, The Woodbridge EMS Commission

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