The city of Dunwoody filed May 23 a “Declaration of EMS Emergency” with the Georgia Department of
Public Health/ Office of EMS and Trauma asking for the “expeditious actions of remedy and relief for failing emergency service response times and patient care for residents/ businesses and visitors of Dunwoody.”

The declaration comes after the City Council unanimously voted May 21 to issue such a declaration after the arrest of an EMT with AMR for allegedly punching a Dunwoody teen being transported via ambulance to a mental health facility. AMR is contracted through DeKalb County to provide ambulance services in Dunwoody.

The letter of declaration was submitted Wednesday to the Commissioner of the Dept. of Public Health and a few members of the Office of EMS and Trauma. The city is also exploring possibly forming its own EMS service or in conjunction with neighboring municipalities.

Dunwoody’s unhappiness with AMR’s service dates back to 2016 due to poor response times. In recent days, it has take an AMR ambulance 58 minutes to respond to a pedestrian struck on Tilly Mill Road and 36-minutes to respond to a local restaurant.

DeKalb County said in a prepared statement that its fire rescue units respond in the 7-minute range to each emergency call and are able to treat injured patients. But DeKalb is aware AMR is not living up to its contract and began fining the company in September. So far, AMR has racked up $1.5 million in fines but has yet to pay any of it.

DeKalb County has fined AMR $1.5 million since September. (DeKalb County)

This “Declaration of EMS Emergency” is hereby issued to the Georgia Department of Public Health/ Office of EMS and Trauma and serves as a request to this governing body to provide allowances/ guidance and solutions to confront the current health and human safety risks as a result of the following:

• Consistent failure of the city’s emergency medical service provider, American Medical
Response/ Inc. (AMR) via an Intergovernmental Agreement with DeKalb County/ to
adequately and appropriately provide emergency medical service to Dunwoody;

• The inability of AMR to meet contractual obligations of adherence to National Fire
Protection Association (NFPA) response time standards/ commonly referred to as
“NFPA 1710” emergency response time standard for “career” Fire/EMS services/ of
an 8 minute and 59 second response time on 90 percent of its emergency calls;

• Uniform shortfalls by AMR and customer service complaints about the company
directly related to failing EMS response times and patient care service for a period
exceeding more than two years;

• DeKalb County holds the EMS certificate and the contract with AMR and has
acknowledged AMR/EMS service response times have not met contractual
requirement levels/ and no corrective action has been taken by elected officials or
administrative staff of DeKalb County/ rendering the area north of 1-285 as an
underserved area of DeKalb County AMR/EMS service;

• And/ recent incidents over the past month including: an AMR EMTs mis-treatment
of a teen patient/ a 36-minute AMR/EMS response time to an emergency call/ and a
58-minute AMR/EMS response time to an emergency call/ each within the City of
Dunwoody/ as well as dozens of emergency calls handled by AMR/EMS over the past
two years with extended response times; all of these reveal a failure to safeguard
and protect the public health and general well-being of the Dunwoody community
and are well below nationally established EMS response time standards.

Read the entire declaration:


Dyana Bagby

Dyana Bagby is a staff writer for Reporter Newspapers and Atlanta Intown.