Providing Community ROI with Geospatial Tools

The logistical demands of providing emergency services to large crowds


The month of June brings the Wichita Riverfest to Sedgwick County, Kan. For more than a week, concerts, art shows, athletic events, and more draw crowds of up to several hundred thousand to enjoy themselves and support the community along the Arkansas River.

Handling the logistical demands of providing emergency services to large crowds, concentrated within a several-block radius, is the responsibility of Scott Hadley, director of Sedgwick County EMS. His agency handles all services for the 1,008 square mile area.

“Riverfest requires extra coordination, along with the approximately 170 calls per day that are our normal operations,” Hadley explained, adding that the tools his agency invests in allow daily operations and special events to run more smoothly.

For daily operations, Sedgwick County EMS uses a proprietary computer-aided dispatch system along with the MARVLIS system to staff 15 posts throughout the county. The agency tracks and analyzes operational performance, call volume and type, cardiac arrest and survival rates, and financial performance metrics. GEOINT analysis is integrated into these metrics.

Sedgwick County also employs FirstWatch during Riverfest. FirstWatch provides real-time surveillance and analysis to warn agencies of trends and patterns in a selected area. It does this using “triggers,” a set of user-defined filter criteria tailored to the specific event. Various data sources can be integrated with FirstWatch, making it very useful for events such as the Super Bowl, large conferences, festivals, and more.

Using FirstWatch at Riverfest, Sedgwick County EMS sets a geo-fenced area within which the incident command is deployed. Bike, ATV, and other responder teams staff the event, and patients who need to be taken to the hospital are transferred to an assigned point at the periphery of the geo-fenced area.

Geospatial tools are critical to efficient EMS operations, even more so when everyday operations are complicated by a special event or disaster.

Hadley views acquiring and using these tools “not as a cost, but as an investment.” The return on investment for geospatial technology, he said, provides Sedgwick County’s residents with cost-effective, patient-centered emergency care.

Featured image: Sedgwick County Riverfest, 2016. (Photo credit: Sedgwick County)

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