System helps dispatchers ask right questions
April 19, 2013
A new emergency computer system will feed questions to dispatchers as they take emergency calls to get the best information possible before emergency personnel arrive onscene.
"Our dispatchers act as our first-first responders, gathering the information we need to make decisions on initial response to an emergency and we have the best dispatchers and firefighters in Nevada," said East Fork Deputy Fire Chief David Fogerson. "It is because of the information they receive from the caller we can send an appropriate and measured response to the incident."
Douglas County 911 Emergency Services provides dispatcher services to the East Fork Fire & Paramedic Districts, Tahoe Douglas Fire District and the Eastern Alpine Volunteer Fire Department. The emergency organizations have recently implemented the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch protocol system which provides dispatchers with questions to ask someone calling 9-1-1 to determine the most appropriate response.
The computer-based program prompts the dispatcher to ask questions based upon the call. The answers to these questions tell the dispatcher what type of call to dispatch and what details firefighters will need to know.
"When you call 9-1-1 you can expect to be asked a series of questions so the dispatcher can determine which resources to respond to the incident. It is critical that the questions be answered as accurately as possible," 911 Manager Ron Sagen said.
East Fork and Tahoe Douglas have been working together to determine which equipment to send depending on the call type in an effort to be more efficient while reducing the risk that comes with responding lots of vehicles with lights and sirens.
Under both systems the dispatchers are provided with training in order to assist someone before the firefighter/paramedics arrive. These instructions include survival when trapped inside a burning building, CPR and aspirin administration for select chest pain patients among others.
"The entire system, both for medical and fire responses, is all about providing the most appropriate response, which not only provides for better outcomes, but makes sense from an efficiency stand point," said East Fork District Chief Tod Carlini, who also serves as Douglas County Emergency Manager. "We do have the best dispatchers and firefighters; we have added another tool which will only make the entire system stronger."