Johnson County Service Responds to Record Number of Calls

By Hayley Bruce, Reporter


By Aaron Hepker

IOWA CITY, Iowa - A director with the Johnson County Ambulance Service said Monday that an influx of spectators in Iowa City for the University of Iowa and Iowa State Football game last weekend likely contributed to the record number of calls they responded to.

Steve Spenler, Director of the Johnson County Ambulance Service, said his team responded to a total of 122 calls for service on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, adding 33 of the calls were "definitely" alcohol related and at least 10 of them were for assaults. Sixty-five of those calls were on Saturday alone.

"Normally on a football weekend we certainly wouldn't run 65 calls, probably between 30 and 35," Spenler said. "So this is definitely a much busier weekend than we're used to seeing and we had anticipated that this was going to be a busy weekend so we staffed more than we normally do and this stressed even that level of staffing."
Spenler said the Johnson County Ambulance Service was also on scene at Kinnick Stadium during the football game, and responded to an additional 13 calls while they were there. He added most of those calls were also related to fighting, and an over-consumption of alcohol.

He said the record number of calls likely had to do with the in-state rivalry that brings an influx of football fans into the area.

"During the Iowa, Iowa State game we always anticipate that we're going to get more calls," Spenler said. "And Iowa, Iowa State was also the first home football game and it doesn't really matter who Iowa plays but the first home football game is always one of our busier weekends and then Iowa State on top of that made for a perfect storm."

Spenler said the department has also planned to increase staff on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night in anticipation of next weekend's home football game against the University of Northern Iowa, adding he was proud his staff was able to respond to every call last weekend.

"I think that people in Johnson County are fortunate that I have the staff that I do, that work as hard as they do, to make sure that every call for an ambulance gets service," Spenler said. "They did an excellent job."

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