How paramedics battle Denver traffic

Paramedics experience the same headaches battling backups as you do during rush hour, only their dilemmas are more life or death than just getting home in time for dinner.

Paramedics experience the same headaches battling backups as you do during rush hour - only their dilemmas are more life or death than just getting home in time for dinner. 

The Denver Health Paramedic Division has a deadline to reach anywhere in the city in under nine minutes for 90 percent of their calls. It’s part of an agreement with the City and County of Denver and for some surrounding areas.

To make sure that’s possible, they're using new technology and changing where ambulances are staged before they respond to calls. 

"The easy answer is put more resources into our system,” said Deputy March Chief Scherschel of Denver Health Paramedics. “While that's effective and we will continue to do that as needed, we are also looking at creative ways to get around the city a little faster.”  

That includes new technology called Optima, which predicts where calls will happen and what traffic patterns will be. This helps strategically place ambulances around the city, including the perimeter.

“We're able to get to the call,” Operation Lieutenant Mike Morris said. “But if you need to transport and it's not a critical patient, you could be sitting in traffic.” 

And in some cases paramedics are on bicycles as well.

"We got a bicycle program where paramedics are on bicycles that's pretty much limited to the downtown area," he said. 

The bicycle program includes the 16th Street Mall area and for special events at Coors Field and the soon-to-be-renamed Sports Authority Field at Mile High. 

Paramedics deal with construction and changing roads as well.

The Denver Health Paramedic Division oversees ambulances for the City and County Denver and is on track for responding to more than 120,000 calls this year.

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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