Rural Metro Under Fire For Response Times

April 16, 2014 Updated Apr 16, 2014 at 6:25 PM EDT

By Hannah Buehler

April 16, 2014 Updated Apr 16, 2014 at 6:25 PM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) Rural Metro Medical Services has come under fire by Buffalo Common Council Member Christopher P. Scanlon regarding emergency response times.

“They’re talking about a matter of minutes, and when we’re talking about minutes-minutes equal lives,” said Scanlon.

This news comes just two months after the city extended Rural Metro’s contract to be the exclusive ambulance provider for the City of Buffalo until June 30.

“Just this past weekend, we had an incident in South Buffalo where two people were not in very good shape following an accident,” said Council Member Scanlon. “It took them 20 minutes to arrive on scene.”

Rural Metro says according to their current contract, city firefighters are the primary first responders and often first on the scene. At this particular crash, the company says it arrived on scene in 13 minutes.
Rural Metro says it’s a completely acceptable time statistic according to their current contract. The current contract does not have a required emergency response time.

“There’s speculation as to an ambulance response time in a system the way this was designed is completely acceptable,” said John Karolzak, Chief Relations Officer, Rural Metro.

The city is currently reviewing proposals for an ambulance service provider. In the new contract, the city would like to see a response time of 8 minutes. Rural Metro feels they are being judged not under current contract conditions, but to what the city would like to see in the new contract.

“Coming under fire for meeting our current obligations is unfounded,” said Karolzak.”

Rural Metro’s contract with the City of Buffalo expires on June 30.