New approach aims to improve efficiency and response time for Fargo air ambulance

(Fargo, ND) -- A new approach is being used to get Fargo's air ambulance to emergency scenes more quickly. 

"At the time of the 9-1-1 call, the dispatchers at the Red River Regional Dispatch Center will determine whether it's an appropriate emergency for a helicopter and dispatch the helicopter at that point so that can save us up to 15 minutes," said Tim Meyer, Senior Director for FM Ambulance. 

Meyer oversees the helicopter that is based at Sanford Health in Fargo.  He says dispatchers have adopted the protocol "Air Med Auto Launch". It allows them to quickly determine whether a helicopter response is necessary at a crash scene or at the site of other emergencies.  Among the criteria evaluated are the distance between a victim and the nearest trauma center and whether the scene is easily accessible by road.