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Statement on “Code Red”

DSC00036We want to express our sincere gratitude to the Carlisle community for their assistance and understanding as we went on “Code Red” status this past weekend. This status was something new to our agency, designed to ensure that ambulances could be available during sudden increases in volume and demand, traffic problems and road closures, weather incidents, and any other extraordinary circumstances that could trigger problems getting units available. “Code Red” is a deviation from our normal operating procedures which we hope to rarely employ, but its value serves a vital importance as demand for services continues to increase year-on-year.

No problems were encountered during the entire operational period, but we want to highlight one specific time period. On the first night of this “Code Red,” our crews performed exceptionally. A spike in volume occurred around the hours of 7pm to 11pm. Because of our status change, our crews were able to respond to ten emergency calls in this four hour period, nearly double our usual volume. This is exactly what the program was designed to address, and the quick turn-around times to these calls enabled our providers to continue to respond to the swarm of dispatches. Looking at the entire weekend, only three patients out of the nearly sixty calls during the “Code Red” status went to a hospital that was not their expressed first choice.

We especially want to acknowledge our skilled nursing, assisted living, and rehab facilities for their understanding and cooperation. Our crews reported excellent interactions with these facilities and were appreciative of their helpfulness. We also want to thank Carlisle Regional Medical Center, our local fire departments, municipalities, other emergency services, and our local media agencies for helping spread the word and understanding of our program. We will be making a few tweaks to our program to increase its flexibility and help to further define its parameters. We consider the first “Code Red” status change a success, achieving the goal of ensuring timely care for patients during extraordinary circumstances. We will make every effort to announce future “Code Reds” via social media and hope to build an email list of contacts at extended care and other health facilities to advise them of status changes, however these changes may be made on short notice at any time of day, posing communication challenges.

Once more, thank you to all the Carlisle Community for their help and understanding this weekend. We are truly privileged to live in an area that values and supports their first responders.