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ATCEMS: High call volume leads to 28-minute response time on low-priority call

ATCEMS said Friday was an "extremely busy day" that led to ambulances being diverted to higher priority calls, leading to the delay.
Credit: John Gusky
An Austin-Travis County EMS ambulance is seen downtown.

AUSTIN, Texas — Staffing shortages are impacting Austin-Travis County EMS (ATCEMS), leading to longer response times in some cases. 

On Friday, ATCEMS confirmed that an influx of 911 calls led to a 28-minute response time for a call that came in from a construction site. 

The president of the Austin EMS Association first tweeted about the delayed response time shortly before 1 p.m. on July 22.

"We had a traumatic emergency and no ambulances available for almost 30 minutes," Selena Xie said in a tweet. "We have downed multiple units today due to staffing. Even though we’ve called in everyone on overtime."

ATCEMS later confirmed the response time, saying the call from the construction site was a lower priority call and that the influx of calls forced ambulances to be diverted to higher priority incidents. 

“We of course want to arrive at the scene of 911 calls as quickly as we can, but these are definitely challenging times for public safety. The call that came from the construction site was a lower priority call," ATCEMS said. "We experienced an influx of 911 calls in that timeframe, so we had a lot of ambulances out on calls and being diverted to higher priority calls. This led to the 28-minute response time."

ATCEMS went on to say that Friday was an "extremely busy day" for the department.

"Today was an extremely busy day for us and our medics are working extremely hard. We want to give our staff credit during this time," ATCEMS said. "These temperatures don’t help and we’re seeing call volumes go up.”

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