Industrial Engineering

Timely and Effective Emergency Response is No Accident

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ISE Magazine – Volume 48: Number 01

Emergency medical service (EMS) organizations provide vital services, but an often overlooked challenge for these incident responders is the struggle to stay afloat financially. Researchers aim to minimize the total operational cost of an EMS organization while maintaining acceptable response times. The new network considers EMS supply centers, hospitals, potential responder locations and predicted incident locations.

EMS providers typically use a limited number of ambulances to respond to incoming calls. They dispatch a set of ambulances to the incident scene depending on incident severity. A major concern for EMS providers relates to the failure of responding to incidents within a defined service time requirement, which leads to excessive penalty costs for the providers and leaves the public vulnerable. Using an integer programming approach, the researchers created a resource planning and network design model with a focus on minimizing total operational cost, all while meeting the service requirements. This research quantifies the impact of network size, ambulance fleet size, differing incident occurrence patterns and time-dependent incident frequency on service quality and total cost.