Emergency Services

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Calls to Police, Ambulance and Fire

The following table reflects the number of unique events responded to by Emergency Medical Services (EMS), in Niagara and three comparison municipalities. The median is the middle value of figures provided by the 12 municipalities across Canada are a part of the Municipal Benchmarking Network Canada.  

Number of Unique EMS Responses per 1,000 population
Municipality Unique Responses, 2013 Unique Responses, 2014 Unique Responses, 2015
Niagara 123 128 138
Durham 87 87 98
Halton 74 78 78
Hamilton 102 105 110
Median 110 116 116

Unique EMS Responses

Source: Municipal Benchmarking Network Canada. 2015 Performance Measurement Report. Retrieved from: http://www.niagaraknowledgeexchange.com/resources-publications/2015-performance-measurement-report/

The following table summarizes responses by the St. Catharines Fire and Emergency Services Department in 2014-2016.

Code: 2014 2015 2016
Structure Fire 245 265 268
Remote Alarms 742 781 866
Preliminary Response 30 24 56
Vehicle Fire 45 61 40
Grass/Tree/Brush 131 136 111
Burning Complaints 257 237 319
MVC’s (motor vehicle collisions) 537 569 608
General Rescue 12 11 11
Medical Calls 4,246 4,588 4,575
Carbon Monoxide 277 246 285
Hazmat Calls 50 41 46
Emergency Assist 310 296 316
Non-Emergency/Assist 142 150 205
Boat Calls 9 5 4
Unknown 911 399 376 378
Total 7,432 7,786 8,088


Source: City of St. Catharines [data file].

Police Officers per 100,000 Population in Niagara

According to Statistics Canada, police strength is measured by the number of staffed officers. The rate of police strength is a ratio of police to the total population, typically reported by the number of police per 100,000 population. Statistics Canada takes a snapshot of police strength every year on May 15th. For more details see http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/85-002-x/2016001/article/14323-eng.htm

The following chart shows the number of police officers per 100,000 population in the Niagara Regional Police Service, from 2000 – 2016.

Police officers per 100,000 population, Niagara Regional Police Service
Statistics 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Total number of police officers 693 675 732 728 704 706 708 709 706
Police officers per 100,000 population 157 153.2 166.1 164.8 158.5 158.5 158.9 158.5 157.2


Source: Statistics Canada. CANSIM Table 254-0002 [Data file].
Retrieved from http://www5.statcan.gc.ca/cansim/pick-choisir?lang=eng&p2=33&id=2540002

In 2016 the new Niagara Regional Police Service headquarters opened in Niagara Falls, consolidating five existing police facilities and district operations for Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Source:  Niagara Regional Police Service
Retrieved from: http://www.niagarapolice.ca/en/newsevents/nrps-on-the-move-.asp

EMS Response Times

The following tables summarize Niagara EMS response times. Response times are defined by the Canadian Triage Acuity Score (CTAS), a commonly-used system that prioritizes patient care based on severity, signs, and symptoms.

SCA (Sudden Cardiac Arrest) refers to the time from dispatch receiving the call to the arrival of any trained/qualified person to provide defibrillation. CTAS 1 through 5 refers to the time when dispatch receives the call to the arrival of a Niagara EMS paramedic.

Niagara EMS Response Time Standard Results – 2013, 2014, 2015
Plan in Minutes Plan in Percentage Performance in Percentage, 2013 Performance in Percentage, 2014 Performance in Percentage, 2015
SCA 6 55% 59.1% 58.8% 59.0%
CTAS 1 8 80% 77.7% 72.0% 76.1%
CTAS 2 11 90% 86.0% 85.1% 83.9%
CTAS 3 15 90% 93.0% 91.3% 89.9%
CTAS 4 20 90% 97.0% 96.6% 94.2%
CTAS 5 30 90% 99.8% 99.7% 99.4%


Source: Response Time Standards for Niagara Emergency Medical Services. Niagara Region Public Health.
Retrieved from: https://www.niagararegion.ca/government/departments/health/ems-response-times.aspx

Unique EMS Responses Population

Niagara EMS (Emergency Medical Service) runs the Wainfleet Community Response Unit and Paramedic Program which responds to all emergency medical 911 calls as a first response unit while an ambulance is on its way; and provides Community Paramedic Program health resources in the form of home visits and general wellness assessments for residents in the Township of Wainfleet.

Niagara EMS is transitioning toward a Mobile Integrated Healthcare (MIH) model of providing healthcare in the out-of-hospital environment using patient-centered, evidence-based, coordinated, mobile resources.  This includes improved coordination with other health care sectors, and a clinical response model that measures impact based on outcomes, rather than the conventional response time model that measures only process.

Niagara EMS – Frequent Patient Calls as Percentage of All Calls 2013 – 2017*
Year Frequent Patients Calls All Calls % Frequent Patients
2013 2693 37599 7.16%
2014 4283 47202 9.07%
2015 5627 51751 10.87%
2016 5720 54486 10.50%

*Jan.- Sept.

3515 41878 8.39%

In 2016, high frequency users of Niagara EMS made up 10.5% of all ambulance calls. From January to September of 2017, high users made up 8.39% of all EMS calls, and this number is expected to remain the same through December. The reduction in 2017 compared to previous years is a reflection of active early identification of high users, done in partnership with Niagara Health, as well as referrals to Health Links in Niagara and other appropriate community services.

A model is being developed to support individuals in Niagara who had frequently been calling 911 to be less reliant on the ambulance system for their primary health care resources. EMS has developed a Regional Community Paramedic Program.  Over the past year this program enabled reallocation of approximately 320 hours of ambulance availability back into the pre-hospital system, due to a reduction in 911 calls by high frequency users.  

Data for 4 patients enrolled in the program for 1 full year shows a decrease in hospital admission days of 65.5%, which translates to a hospital savings of $21,233. In addition, the data shows a decrease in Emergency Department visits of 80%, which translates to a savings of $13,676 in reduced Emergency Department costs. Together this totals savings to the hospital system of $34,900 over 1 year. Without the intervention those dollars would have been spent had these patients continued to access Emergency Department and Hospital resources.  Based on this data, sustained funding is being sought for the Regional Community Paramedic Program to be able to take on more patients.

Source:  Niagara Region Emergency Medical Service
Retrieved From:  https://www.niagararegion.ca/council/Council%20Documents/2017/phssc-agenda-sep-26-2017.pdf

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