Wake EMS struggles caused by record number of calls, ambulance shortage -- not staffing issues

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Wake County EMS' assistant chief addressed a critical strain on resources Thursday after a report that the county was running out of ambulances amid a historic surge in calls to 911.

Brian Brooks said that for a couple of minutes every day, Wake EMS has been reaching "level zero," meaning there are no ambulances available.

However, he said that they are still able to respond to calls, typically with help from surrounding counties.

Wake EMS also puts transfers on hold and even non-emergency calls get put in a queue to free up ambulances that need to reach the most serious patients.

Brooks said it is a nationwide problem but not a staffing issue.

Though summer is usually the busiest time for Wake EMS, Brooks said it has seen a historic surge in call volume.

"So, we will get there -- the lower acuity calls -- be patient, you're going to have to wait," Brooks said. "The higher acuity calls are going to take precedence over the low acuity complaints.

Beginning in May, Wake EMS broke 10,000 calls for the first time in its history.

It has continued breaking that record each month since.
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