Technology tries to predict emergency calls

Gold Cross Ambulance Call Predictor (WLUK/Mike Moon)

When seconds matter to save a life, imagine if paramedics could predict where the next emergency call was going to be. An area ambulance service is using new technology aimed at doing just that.

At Gold Cross Ambulance Service, dispatchers work around the clock sending paramedics where they're needed and this screen that looks a little like weather radar is helping them do that.

"Based on years past it will predict where the highest density of calls are gonna come in within our service area," explained paramedic/dispatcher Nick Romenesko.

The software is Gold Cross's call predictor board. It uses data from the past five years of calls to show where the next calls are likely.

"It's real-time based on the previous years' call date at that time of day," Romenesko told FOX 11.

The darker colors show the most likely spots for emergencies. Dispatchers move the ambulances around based on the colors.

"Sometimes when you move an ambulance to that darker area, within 5-10 minutes you'll get a call in that area. So it's kinda, a little spooky sometimes with how accurate it is," Romenesko told us.

The software also takes into account traffic patterns, which dispatchers say is especially helpful during bad weather like Tuesday's snow storm.

"The closer to a call, the better they can respond and the easier their travel's gonna be," said Romenesko.

Gold Cross also has two new four-wheel drive ambulances and those are expected to be a big help during bad weather.

"It's allowing us to get on scene a little bit quicker and just be safer. So we have one on the road right now and within the next few weeks we'll have the second one," explained operations director Dave Rae.

The vehicles are also larger, meaning more protection for the paramedics too.

"It's gonna give them a bigger shield and it's gonna be just safer for them in general," Rae added.

Gold Cross told us the overall goal is to make response times as short at possible.

"Depending on the situation, sometimes seconds really do matter," said Romenesko, meaning when a person's life is on the line, every second counts.

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