Fischer Consolidates City's Emergency Services, Creating More Seamless Coordinated Response

February 28, 2015

Mayor Greg Fischer today consolidated the city’s three emergency services departments into a single agency to create a more efficient, seamless and coordinated response for citizens -- from the time a 911 call comes into MetroSafe until a patient is delivered to an emergency room.

Debbie Fox, current director of the Emergency Management Agency, will assume the new title Director of Emergency Services. In that role, three departments will report to her— Emergency Medical Service (the city’s medical/ambulance response); Emergency Management Agency (the community emergency response team that comprises 95 agencies); and MetroSafe, the 911 and 311 call centers.

The changes are being achieved within existing budgets so there are no additional expenses.

“These three agencies already work closely together, but unified under the strong leadership of Debbie Fox, our citizens will experience an even better collaborative response when it comes to emergencies,” Fischer said.

Fox began her career in 1982 with the Jefferson County Police Department as a radio dispatcher to handle 911 emergency calls and dispatch police officers. Initially promoted in October 1987 to a communications supervisor, she eventually became the Technical Services Director for both JCPD and later the newly merged LMPD.

Since joining EMA/MetroSafe as their first employee in 2005, she worked with a team to create a consolidated dispatch and communications center that now provides services to 95 agencies and 6,500 responders, handling 1.5 million calls each year. In 2013, she was named as our EMA Director. She has a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice Administration from Eastern Kentucky University and attended graduate school, completing 15 hours in Criminal Justice Administration from EKU.

Mayor Fischer today also named Dr. Raymond Orthober as the new medical director for EMS. He will focus on the medical side of EMS while Fox will be responsible for providing leadership and direction for the day-to-day operations.

Orthober is Assistant Clinical Professor of the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Louisville School of Medicine. He is also a part-time assistant professor at the University of Kentucky School of Medicine. He earned a bachelor’s degree from UL, a medical degree from Ross University in Portsmouth, Dominica, and has been a fellow with the American College of Emergency Physicians since 2009.

His appointment to Metro Government begins today, replacing Dr. Neal Richmond, who took a new medical position in Ft. Worth, Texas.

“Mayor Fischer has designed an efficient system for emergency services throughout greater Louisville.  I am very excited that the mayor has tapped into the expertise we have at the UofL School of Medicine,” said Dr. Toni Ganzel, of the University of Louisville. “Dr. Orthober is a highly respected clinician, educator and leader. His experience in our Level 1 Trauma Center will be invaluable in helping to implement this coordinated initiative.”

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