Despite frustration in county call outs, TRAA is progressing in right direction

Published: May. 20, 2022 at 6:17 PM EDT
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) - One call out EMS officials have been hearing a lot more lately, TRAA Level Zero.

It means the ambulance authority can’t respond to an EMS request in time. This has been a problem TRAA board members and county officials say they’re trying to solve.

“This is not a problem we got to over night, this was a culmination of a lot of things and then the pandemic hit and then just sent everything into overdrive and this is not going to be something we’re going to climb out of in a few months,” Executive Director Joel Benz said.

Thursday alone, Benz says there was a 133 percent increase in 911 calls. It’s typical that when the weather warms up for more people to need 911 services he told ABC21.

He says they’re averaging about 115 TRAA level zero call outs each month but in a three day span last week, they had 70 call outs.

Benz says he’s trying his hardest to get ambulance services to the people who need them.

“We’ll see more bumps in the road in the future but I think overall the trajectory is we’ve shifted to where we’re hiring people, we’re getting people on the street and eventually we’re going to work our way out of this,” Benz said.

Benz says last July, they had 46 full-time employees. This January they had 56, they’re now at 63.

Every time TRAA misses a call another department has to respond instead and that’s led to some frustration.

Here’s what the Huntertown Fire Chief had to say:

“Collectively, the Allen County Fire Chiefs Association feels strongly that city council and the mayor’s office needs to get involved to help out TRAA to fix the issue that is facing their city. The thing that concerns us all is, what do we do when all services are stretched to the max and we still need more resources?”

ABC21 also got a statement from the Assistant Chief at Southwest Fire District:

He told us Thursday morning, the district was called into the city five times within one and a half hours. They’ve been requested just under 75 times within the past 20 days and last year they assisted the city 483 times, so far this year, they have done 352.

Benz told ABC21 positive change is coming.

“We’re trying to create a culture here that is some place that people are excited about coming to work. They don’t feel like they’re coming in and getting beat up all day.”

“Give us more time here and we will get to the point where we are compliant, we’re not having to call the county in and we’re able to stand on our own two feet,” Benz said.

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